agroecology-gardenCEFS collaborates with the NC State Agroecology Minor Program and its growing Agroecology Education Farm (AEF), which provides hands-on education about agroecology and sustainable agriculture to NC State students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community.

The Agroecology Education Farm has been in development since 2007, when NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences dedicated land at the Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory in Raleigh. The plot of 6 acres had previously been used for corn and alfalfa silage production.

Patiently yet persistently driving the farm’s development is Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno, an Associate Professor in the Crop Science department at NC State, the Agroecology Program Coordinator, and CEFS’ Assistant Director of Educational Programs. “I envisioned the farm as a place that would bring together NC State students, faculty, staff and community members to learn about sustainable agriculture,” says Dr. Schroeder-Moreno.

In 2014, the farm hired its first full-time farm manager, Alison Reeves. Reeves grew up in Raleigh and graduated from UNC-Asheville with a BS in Environmental Science and from Virginia Tech with an MS in Entomology, with a focus on honey bee health. While at Virginia Tech, Reeves worked as the Dining Services Garden Manager.

That experience will serve Reeves well, as one of the AEF’s goals is to produce fresh, healthy food that can be served on campus at NC State dining halls. “The idea is to extend sustainable agriculture education back to campus through the dining halls. NC State University Dining has been a great partner to work with,” explains Dr. Schroeder-Moreno. In 2013, the farm sold nearly 1000 pounds of produce to NC State University Dining including tomatoes, peppers, melons, okra and herbs.

This year, Reeves hopes to increase both farm’s harvest as well as the amount sold back to campus. “I love working on a farm that is focused on both education and production. Connecting the students to where their food is coming from and creating community connections adds an extra dimension to farming,” she says.

Ready to get your hands dirty? The AEF hosts volunteers on Wednesdays from 3-7 pm and Thursdays from 2-5 pm. Larger volunteer groups can also contact the farm managerto arrange a convenient day and time. For more information, please visit the farm’s Facebook page.

From the September 2014 E-Newsletter