University Student Committee 5/13/2011 call notes

Participating in the call were

  • Carol Elder, IOGA Administrative Coordinator
  • Deidra Davis, graduate student in the SIU Department of Geography & Environmental Resources
  • Zack Grant, manager of the UI student farm
  • Abu Kahn, graduate student in the SIU Department of Geography & Environmental Resources
  • Ellen Phillips, UI Extension
  • Michelle Wander, professor in the UI Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Department

The group discussed combining the meeting with the UI student farm open house.

Last year’s UI student farm open house was held on a Friday afternoon. Chris Henning and other UI staff cooked food with ingredients from the student farm. They set up a tent with tables and chairs, and attendees could eat and tour at their leisure. There were demonstrations of equipment, taste tests of farm food vs store-bought food, and other participatory activities. About 100 students attended. They had shuttle vans running back and forth to campus.

Zack suggested that we could hold the morning panel discussions in the building where the student farm’s administrative office is, and then walk or drive to the student farm for lunch and touring.

Topics of interest:

  • Students learning how new farmers get started and receiving practical advice from organic farmers
  • Students sharing experiences from student farms (Zack mentioned that he had received an email from someone wanting to start a student garden on the UI campus in Springfield.)
  • Students, staff, and farmers learning about how to facilitate institutional buying from organic farms (especially, UI students and personnel learning from the partnership between the Local Organic Initiative of Carbondale (LOGIC) and SIU University Housing Residence Hall Dining)

Abu and Deidra noted that the drive from Carbondale to Urbana takes 3.5 hours, so they suggested that the field day start at 11:00 AM.

Zack noted that some SARE funds might be available to assist with this field day if participation was not limited to organic growers.

Here is a proposed schedule:

  • 11:00 – 11:45 Farmer panel discussion – how new farmers get going – organized by The Land Connection
  • 11:45 – 12:30 SIU presentation – LOGIC, institutional buying at SIU – Laura Williams
  • 12:30 – 1:15 Student panel with Kevin, Abu and Diedra
  • 1:30 – Lunch in tent at student farm (collaboration of Chris Henning and Bill Connor)
  • Afternoon – tour and network at the UI student farm open house

Next steps:

  1. Zack: Get approval from Chris Henning, Bruce and Don to connect open house with this field day.
  2. Abu/Deidra let us know if a weekday meeting is possible. We should avoid Friday and Saturday for farmers.
  3. Invite Chef Connor and set date.

Note: If it is impossible to hold the event on a weekday, we may need to consider holding a student networking / student farm field day in the fall and schedule a separate winter date for the panels on beginning farmers and institutional buying.

Finally, Michelle noted that the National Sustainable Agriculture Education Association conference will be held in Lexington, Kentucky on August 4-5, 2011.