KU Student Farm: Growing Sustainability

Visit us at our new website!
February 3, 2013, 6:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hi! We’re so glad you’re interested in the farm. Please visit us at our new site kufarming.wordpress.com.


Kickoff event this Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the garden
March 7, 2012, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our first visit to the garden is this Friday at 5:30 p.m. See below for directions.

During this time, we will give you a tour of the space, explain work days and when they begin, show you the resources at the garden (tools, water, compost system), and answer any questions you may have. The most important part of this event is that we will be divvying out the plots. You will be able to see your plot(s) and get your hands dirty (if you want to!). You might want to bring a notebook to take notes. We will also bring the notebooks we had for sale at the greenhouse last weekend.
When you arrive, we will give you a plot number. That is the number of your plot for the season–remember it. I don’t think we’ll be out there more than an hour or an hour and a half.

Directions to the garden
Bike route

Remember: Community garden meetings are every Sunday at 1 p.m. at the greenhouse. The greenhouse work days are 2-3:30 p.m. at the greenhouse. If you had any trouble finding the greenhouse, give me a call. Garden work days will start in late March, and they will be on Thursdays and Sundays. We’ll give you more information about those as they approach.

Also, thank you so much for coming to our first greenhouse work day! It was a huge success. This is definitely the best year ever for the student farm.

Thank you all so much! See you on Friday night at the garden.

KU Student Farm resources–plots available now!
February 15, 2012, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hi, everyone!

Our new logo, designed by Shannon McGill

We are so excited for this season! Plots are filling up fast, so please turn in your application soon. Below are some of your resources for this year.

Kim Scherman, facilitator, kim.scherman@gmail.com

Katrina McClure, treasurer, anirtak79@yahoo.com

Tresa Carter, secretary, tcarter16@me.com

Sarah Kraus, community plot manager, sekraus22@gmail.com

Don’t forget! We need a fifth officer: maintenance coordinator. This is a very important job for the farm. Please let us know if you are interested or want more information.

Please see our Facebook calendar and page for more information on upcoming dates and speakers. This year, we will have two speakers per month! We will also have greenhouse work days, a kick off event, two potlucks and volunteer opportunities!

Important dates coming up: 

First greenhouse work day: March 4, 2-3:30 p.m., West Campus

Kick off event: March 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Kansas Biological Survey

We will let you know when the first community garden work day is (Did we mention we have added a new community plot?!). Let us know if you have any questions! Email kufarming@gmail.com.


The KU Student Farm officers

July 12, 2011, 2:41 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Bob speaks to the student farm participants. Photo courtesy of Kirsten Bosnak.

We had our first speaker at the regularly scheduled work day last Tuesday night. Bob Gent came to speak to the student farm participants about his experience with gardening. He was really informative, and gave us his perspective as a beginner gardener. Bob had a lot to say about starting up a garden. He said you should start out with tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion and whatever you want. Bob told us it is important to experiment and experience the garden, and to not get stuck in gardening magazines and books, although they may be helpful. He said the best way to learn is through talking to other gardeners who may have more experience than you and to get in there and garden!

Bob Gent Photo taken by Kim Scherman

Bob encouraged us to use horse manure as fertilizer to put more nutrients back into the ground. You should make sure the horse manure is not fresh because it can burn the plants and contribute to weed growth. He also supported the idea of using urine as a fertilizer. You may be skeptical, but take a look at this Washington Post article about using urine as fertilizer. Bob said to place a plastic or glass liter bottle around young starts of vegetables that like humidity (such as peppers) when it is still spring weather.  He also said to wrap tin foil around the base of eggplants to deter pest infestation. This will keep them humid and warm.

Bob told us about a great resource that shows when to plant vegetables during the spring, summer and fall seasons. It is called the Vegetable Garden Planting Guide written by experts at Kansas State University.

We learned the best insecticide to use is simply your hands. Failing is okay–everything is a learning experience that will make you a better gardener. Ask lots of questions and tour other people’s gardens.

Our next speaker will be Susan Buchanan, an organic gardener in Lawrence.She will speak Tuesday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m at the student farm. Please arrive early so we can start on time.

Also — Our first-ever KU Student Farm potluck will be this Friday night at 7. Please bring a dish to share if you want and your own plates and utensils. We will provide cups and a beverage for everyone. Please RSVP to the Facebook event page so we know how many people to expect. We will stay to watch the full moon rise. Let Kim know if you have any questions or concerns. Everyone is welcome, so bring your friends!

From one plot last fall to 23 this spring: A KU Student Farm update

Congratulations, student farm participants! You have helped the KU Student Farm grow from one small plot last year with tomatoes, leeks, rue and eggplant to 23 awesome plots filled with greens, tomatoes, radishes, asparagus, corn, peppers, squash, basil, zinnias and marigolds. There are more than 50 people working on this garden, whether they are a participant, speaker or volunteer.

This is what we have done so far this season on and off the farm:

Lydia Gibson's team working on their starts at the greenhouse. Photo taken by Kim Scherman.

  • We began greenhouse work in mid March, and started our tomatoes, pepper and herbs (please see thefacebook page for pictures);
  • The coordinators (with the help of Bruce Johanning, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the 3,400-acre KU Field Station) prepped the soil and marked out the plots in early April;
  • Participants planted their starts at the farm in mid April;
  • Jason Hering planted his experimental garden of 10 plots about a month ago. These plots are both an experiment in testing various growing methods, such as companion plantings and small-scale permaculture techniques, as well as provide a starting point for the potential KU Student Farm of the future to grow food on a larger scale for the purpose of selling, trading or donating to local businesses, groups and causes;

    Lawrence Food Garden Tour summer 2011. Photo courtesy of Nick Benson.

  • Two weeks ago, we went on the Lawrence Food Garden Tour and visited seven home gardens;
  • And last weekend, we were featured on the Semi-Annual Tour of the NativeMedicinal Plant Research Garden.

This is what’s happening next at the farm:

  • Tomorrow, Chris Brown, Chair of the Environmental Studies Department, and Stacey White, professor of urban planning, along with other faculty members will tour the farm at 5:30 p.m.;
  • On Sunday, July 3, the garden work days will change to be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. so that the participants aren’t so hot while they work;
  • On July 5, local gardener and artist Bob Gent will speak to participants and all those interested about his experience with gardening. He will begin speaking at 6:30 p.m. Then, he will walk around to individual plots and answer any questions participants might have;
  • And, on July 15, all are welcome to attend the first KU Student Farm potluck from 7-10 p.m. at the garden. Pleasebring a dish with you that showcases your produce. We were thinking that all of us will have a ton of tomatoes, so we could have a pasta sauce/salsa potluck, though it certainly doesn’t have to be limited to this. Don’t worry if you don’t have any food to share–just come and hang out with all of the other participants and eat some local food.We will have tables set up on the main path at the garden. Come enjoy the full moon that is that night. We should be able to see it around 9 p.m.

Here are some things people are saying about the KU Student Farm:

“I am very grateful for the KU Student Farm.  I am lucky to be able to garden on such rich, fertile soil! The coordinators of the farm have been so generous and helpful to provide us with this opportunity,” participant Jenny Farnsworth said.

“The student farm has shown me that growing my own food is practical and relatively easy. By providing a designated space for my garden, the student farm gives KU students and faculty a much needed and important opportunity that many more should take advantage of,” someone else said (This person wishes to remain anonymous.).

“My zinnia bed, #17, should be lush and full in a few weeks. The zinnias are being grown to share with all Student Farm participants, “Kirsten Bosnak, liaison for the KU Student Farm and communications director for the KU Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden said.

“The student farm is a great opportunity for gardeners in training.  It seems that every time I go out to tend my plants, I learn something, either from merely observing another student’s plot of by running into someone with a little bit of advice.  It has encouraged students like myself to creatively construct plots and experiment with different planting techniques. The farm provides access to full sun and excellent soil to those students that may not have these resources. I love it! ” participant Monica Melhem said.

You all have worked so hard on your plots, and the coordinators would like to thank you for all you have done. There are still two plots available for people to plant, so please let your friends know.

KU Student Farm summer 2011. Photo courtesy of Greg Beverlin.

A Student Farm at KU: Beginnings
February 14, 2011, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Beginnings of the farm

Greenhouse work Spring 2010

The first ramblings of a KU Student Farm were hatched back in the fall of 2009 after a road trip through the northwest. I was  inspired by the beautiful campus of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The Evergreen Organic Farm was on a five-acre plot and included community gardens, a biodiesel facility, compost facility, workroom, tool shed, several greenhouses, and the 38,000-square-foot Organic Farm area. Student farm interns work on the farm through the Practice of Sustainable Agriculture Program.  The produce is sold at an on-campus farm stand, directly on the farm, and through a Community Supported Agriculture Program, while the surplus is donated to the local food bank. I was impressed to say the least.

After getting back from the trip, I started to discuss various ideas such as the possibilities for a Student Farm or a KU Orchard with Kelly Kindscher of the Kansas Biological Survey, who I’d been working with on other environmental projects. The following semester, Kelly chose to include the Student Farm idea as one of the potential research projects for the Environmental Studies Capstone course he was teaching at KU. I became part of a small group of students who then created a small research project based on the idea, and several of us began taking the first steps to turn the project into a reality. Ben Alexander, Danielle Golon and I were leading up the efforts to make it happen outside of the classroom. We were able to cover a lot of the initial groundwork and began having meetings with students on campus with some great feedback.

Jason Hering, student coordinator

Toward the end of the semester, we began talking to KU students Kim Scherman, Nolan Kappelman and Greg Beverlin, all leaders in the KU student group Environs, about getting involved and becoming new student coordinators. This was perfect timing, as I was leaving for India for the summer, Danielle was graduating, and Ben was graduating, getting married and moving to KC. Kim, Nolan and Greg and a group of volunteers began gardening and learning on-site throughout the summer and the fall 2010 semester. Once I got back to the states, we all started working together again as the University of Kansas Student Farm coordinators, and I’ve been loving it ever since.

-Jason Hering

KU Student Farm plots available for spring semester 2011
February 11, 2011, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Plots available spring 2011

The KU Student Farm is now offering plots and learning  opportunities for students, faculty and staff interested in growing their own food. Plots are located next to the Lawrence Municipal Airport and Prairie Moon Waldorf School, on the grounds of the KU Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden. Currently, fewer than thirty plots are available and first come, first serve.

The first meeting for the student farm will be Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Kansas Union, and we will begin greenhouse work mid-March. Not an expert gardener? No problem. The student farm is an educational tool for individuals who want to learn how to grow food and learn sustainable gardening practices. We will have featured guest speakers who will educate the group on gardening practices and techniques, as well as regular work days during the season to work in the greenhouse and at the farm.

To apply for a plot, click on the link below, print and fill out the application and bring it to the meeting. Please visit the facebook page for more information.

Student Farm Application

Feel free to email at ku-student-farm-coordinators@googlegroups.com or call (785) 218-9488 with questions!

Maps to the student farm:

Vehicular route to the KU Student Farm

Bike route to KU Student Farm


Thank you,
Your student coordinators