Growing Knowledge: Michigan State University Student Organic Farm

The MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) began as a student project and has grown into a 15-acre, year-round teaching and production farm. The farm is certified organic and utilizes a combination of passive solar greenhouses (hoophouses) and outdoor field production to grow a variety of fresh produce year-round. Production is carried out by the SOF and OFTP (Organic Farmer Training Program) Staff and dedicated students, the SOF farm crew, and wonderful volunteers.  The farm also collaborates with MSU faculty to create learning opportunities for other students at MSU through courses in organic farming, interdisciplinary experiential educational activities, and research opportunities.

Produce grown at the MSU SOF can be found in some MSU dining halls, at an on-campus farm stand (corner of Auditorium and College Rd) and through a 48-week CSA (Community Supported Agriculture- subscription program). This CSA is the oldest year-round CSA in Michigan and provides benefits beyond fresh, delicious produce. Members are able to visit the farm to develop a stronger connection to where their food comes and the people who cared for it. They also are able to access the CSA U-pick garden where greens, cherry tomatoes, herbs and more await to complement their CSA shares.

Jeremy Teaching

In addition to growing a wide-range of fresh, organic produce, the MSU Student Organic Farm also operates an 8-month Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP). This program focuses on year-round organic farming practices for the production of vegetables, flowers, fruits, and herbs. The program is designed to give participants a strong background and working knowledge of farm production, management, marketing, and business operations necessary to operate a diversified small farm. It is a robust learning platform for those who are committed to owning their own farm business, managing farm operations, or working with others on their path to food production and sustainable agriculture.

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Kelly Wilson is the Local Food Coordinator for SE Michigan and a registered dietitian. She also runs Simple Gifts Farm in Oxford. Contact her at [email protected]