UC Davis is more than just a small college town surrounded by dirt and cows. This school is a top-notch agricultural university, demonstrating its leadership by offering various opportunities that allow its students to develop and learn new skills.
Among all the amazing opportunities UC Davis has to offer, the UCD Student Farm offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity that allows any student to get involved with the farm to explore and learn how exactly a farm operates.
According to its website, the UCD Student Farm first sprouted its roots in 1977 by a small group of ambitious students whose own dedication to learning new practices in sustainable farming and gardening helped create what it is today.
Operated now as a student-staff program, the farm concentrates on educating students through hands-on learning experiences on the importance and the how to’s of both food production and experimental research projects.
The Student Farm provides a very flexible opportunity that allows students room for growth in different areas of interest.
The Student Farm is comprised of two main parts: the Ecological Garden and Market Garden. The Student Farm produces various organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers all depending on the season, “but you have to be smart about it,” Resident Garden Coordinator Nancy Zheng said. The farm commits to practicing crop rotation to avoid the spread of pests and diseases.
Now that the summer season is almost here, you can find these veggies at the farm:
Red Russian Kale
All of these successfully grown crops are done by students!
A lot of the produce that comes from the farm is sold to Cuarto Dining Commons and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). People who order through CSA receive a basket of various goodies that can be filled with seasonal produce that are locally grown and freshly picked that day.
UCD farm offers a culture that is accessible to anyone with any amount of experience. Zheng, a third year clinical nutrition major, came into the farm with no experience.
“I didn’t know what a weed really was,” but that did not stop her from being an avid volunteer at the farm for a year now. “You’re not really learning by book… [we] really emphasize the importance of experiential learning.”
But it wasn’t just having her hands in the dirt that kept Zheng hooked to the farm, it was the experience of being able to drive a tractor after a three hour long lesson and eating the cherry tomatoes while harvesting them. The experience of working together and enjoying the company of various people, while all together suffering under the heat of the sun, created a close-knit community that allowed the farm to be as successful as it is today.
Cazares, an upcoming graduate of UC Davis who studied sustainable agriculture and food systems, also came to the farm with almost no experience, joining when he first transferred to UC Davis in his third year.
“What really drew me to the farm was its organic aspect. The best part is that everyone comes from all walks of life and majors who just want to learn different aspects of farming,” Cazares said.
The Student Farm encourages anyone with any levels of experience to come check out the farm to learn more about food production, to conduct research, to make new friends, or to just share your love of dirt.