Tag Archive for long lane farm

Long Lane Farm Welcomes Chickens, New Farmers

Catherine Walsh '16 handles a young rhode island red hen July 14 at Long Lane Farm. Chickens are a new addition to the two-acre, student-run farm this summer. The hens will start laying in fall and supply Bon Appétit and Wesleyan's Dining Services with fresh eggs. 

Catherine Walsh ’16 handles a young hen July 14 at Long Lane Farm. Chickens are a new addition to the two-acre, student-run farm this summer. The hens will start laying in fall and supply Bon Appétit and Wesleyan’s Dining Services with fresh eggs.

Long Lane Farm is Wesleyan’s student run organic farm devoted to allowing students a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture. This summer, seven students are tending the two-acre farm full-time. New to this year’s farm are Rhode Island red hens, who reside in the farm’s chicken coop. The coop was designed and built by Wesleyan’s Architecture II class in 2013.

Throughout the summer, other students and community members help out around the farm with planting, watering and weeding.

Food harvested from the farm is sold at the North End Farmers’ Market throughout the summer, and at the Wesleyan Farmers’ Market during the academic year. The student farmers donate excess food to Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown, and have an arrangement through which Bon Appétit: dining services funds positions for students to work on the farm in exchange for weekly deliveries of farm vegetables. In addition, the students invite local families to the farm and teach children about the various aspects of farming and producing food. Children are sent home with a bag of produce that they personally harvested.

The farm is funded by the College of the Environment, Bon Appétit and Wesleyan’s Green Fund. View more photos of the farm below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

10 Students Tend 2 Acres at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm

Students learn about sustainable agriculture at Long Lane Farm.

Students learn about sustainable agriculture at Long Lane Farm.

While their classmates spend the summer growing business contacts at off-campus internships, 10 Wesleyan students hope to cultivate something equally lucrative – sustainable agriculture.

The “dirt in the nails” days are long but satisfying at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Organic Farm, a student-run organic farm that gives students a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals – environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Johnson is one of 10 student farmers working at Long Lane this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

Coady Johnson ’15 harvests radishes at Long Lane Farm this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

This summer, the students are cultivating two acres of land, the biggest plot they’ve ever farmed. They’re growing cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, asparagus, basil, broccoli, lettuce, blueberries and much more. They’re also building a second hoop house, similar to a greenhouse, which will allow the students to grow leafy greens, peppers and other crops during the fall and winter months.

Not all students have a farming background. Summer farmer Coady Johnson ’15 grew up an hour north of Chicago in Wadsworth, Ill. where “most of the surrounding area is cornfields, but even so I didn’t get involved in farming until coming to Wesleyan,” he said.

At Wesleyan, Johnson fell in with a group of people who inspired him to think about the state of food production and consumption in this country.

“Industrial farming and a disconnect between what we eat and how it is produced is hurting our well-being, and I think that the best way to remedy that is to educate myself and others on growing our own food in a more responsible and sustainable way.”

A day down on the farm begins at 7 a.m. with a morning meeting . There, the students discuss plans for work, “like whether or not we should companion plant radishes with the squash. We try to be horizontally organized and make decisions only with 100 percent consensus, so that everyone can have a say in what we’re doing, and can suggest new ideas if they want,” Johnson said.

The students work until 11 a.m. and take a midday heat break. During time, the farmers run errands and do other work for the farm that can be done in the field, like emails and budget spreadsheets. At 3 p.m., the students return to the fields and work until 7 p.m. The farmers also choose to participate in various building projects such as planning and building the mass irrigation system.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm. Pictured, Smith is crawling through the coop’s exterior entryway.

Food harvested from the farm is sold at the North End Farmers’ Market throughout the summer, and at the Wesleyan Farmers’ Market during the academic year. The student farmers donate excess food to Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown, and have an arrangement through which Bon Appetít dining services funds positions for students to work on the farm in exchange for weekly deliveries of farm vegetables. In addition, the students invite local families to the farm and teach children about the various aspects of farming and producing food. Children are sent home with a bag of produce that they personally harvested.

Next fall, a flock of feathery friends will join the students at the farm. A newly-designed and installed chicken coop will enable the farmers to harvest local eggs for use at Usdan University Center. Learn more about the coop in this Wesleyan Connection article.

The summer farmers are Laura Cohen ’14, Kate Enright ’15, Coady Johnson ’15, Ben Guilmette ’15, Josh Krugman ’14, Maggie Masselli ’16, Anna Redgrave ’16, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Hailey Sowden ’15 and Cat Walsh ’16. And they’re always looking for extra working hands.

“Whoever wants to help is a farmer, and we’re always looking for new people, from Wesleyan or from Middletown at large,” Johnson said.

Learn more about the farm’s

Photos of the farm are below:

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Architecture Class Designs Chicken Coop at Long Lane Farm

Ten Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm.

Ten Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm. A fence will complete the left side and protect the chickens from predators.

A flock of feathery friends will soon join the student staff at Long Lane Farm.

Each year since 2006, Wesleyan’s Architecture II course, taught by Associate Professor of Art Elijah Huge, has accepted a commission to work on a project, traditionally for a nonprofit organization. Past projects have included the Wesleyan Sukkah, a wildlife-viewing platform for the Audubon Society, and a pavilion for the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association at its headquarters. This year, the idea for the project came from Long Lane Farm and Bon Appétit: to design and build a chicken coop that would enable Bon Appétit to serve locally harvested eggs at Usdan University Center.

“This is the first project commissioned for non-human clients,” said Teaching Assistant Julia Drachman ’14. “Reactions from the class members varied from skeptical to excited to nervous.”

First, the class spoke to chicken experts about the health and psychology of feathered fowl.

Jessup Smith ’14 and nine other Wesleyan students enrolled in the Architecture II course designed and built a new chicken coop for Long Lane Farm.

Jessup Smith ’14 crawls through the coop’s entryway.

“We learned some peculiar facts about chickens,” said class member Jessup Smith ’14. “For one, chickens will only accept a new chicken into their group if you sneak it into their coop while they are asleep. If you try to introduce chickens while they are awake, the new chickens may be rejected.”

After researching the quirky psychology of chickens, the students began designing the coop. The class began by discussing basic coop requirements with members of the Long Lane Farm. Topics included green power, free-range area, structure mobility and overall functionality.

The class split up into three groups to fully explore its options. Each group brainstormed about a design for a different frequency of mobility, either stationary, seasonal, or creeping with a weekly movement.

Johnson ’15 Tends Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm, Tutors Physics Students

Johnson is one of 10 student farmers working at Long Lane this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

Coady Johnson ’15 harvests radishes at Long Lane Farm this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

Q: Coady, what are you majoring in and why did you choose Wesleyan?

A: I’m double majoring in astronomy and physics. I had actually never been to Wesleyan before applying, but I had heard very good things from friends, and its reputation for being unconventional was very appealing to me. The clincher though was the very generous financial aid that the university offered me, without which I definitely would not be here.

Coady Johnson '15, who is double majoring in astronomy and physics, tends a booth at the North End Farmers' Market, where he sells produce from Wesleyan's Long Lane Organic Farm. Johnson is one of 10 student farmers working at Long Lane this summer. After graduating, Johnson hopes to study astrophysics and ultimately become an astronaut.

Coady Johnson ’15, who is double majoring in astronomy and physics, tends a booth at the North End Farmers’ Market, where he sells produce from Wesleyan’s Long Lane Organic Farm.

Q: Tell us about your efforts with the Long Lane Organic Farm. Why did you decide to become a student-farmer?

A: After coming to Wesleyan, I fell in with a group of people who really got me thinking about the state of food production and consumption in this country. Industrial farming and a disconnect between what we eat and how it is produced is hurting our well-being, and I think that the best way to remedy that is to educate myself and others on growing our own food in a more responsible and sustainable way.

Q: What is your role with the farm this summer? Please describe a day “down on the farm.”

A:  We don’t really have set roles, although I often choose to participate in or initiate various building projects, like planning and building our irrigation system. Our day begins at 7 a.m. with a morning meeting at the farm. There, all the people who are working that day discuss plans for work, like whether or not we should companion plant radishes with the squash. We try to be horizontally organized and make decisions only with 100 percent consensus, so that everyone can have a say in what we’re doing, and can suggest new ideas if they want. We work until 11, and then have a midday break, during which we eat lunch, run errands and do other work for the farm that can be done in the field, like emails and budget spreadsheets. At 3 p.m., we return to the farm and review what was accomplished in the morning, and then finish up whatever wasn’t quite done by lunch. At 7 we close up the shed and gates, and then return home for dinner. Nine of us live in the same house, and so whoever takes the afternoon off cooks dinner for the house.

Q: Who else is working on the farm this summer? Are you looking for new recruits?

A: Laura Cohen ’14, Kate Enright ’15, Ben Guilmette ’15, Josh Krugman ’14, Maggie Masselli ’16, Anna Redgrave ’16, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Hailey Sowden ’15 and Cat Walsh ’16 are all living in Middletown to work on the farm this summer. Whoever wants to help is a farmer, and we’re always looking for new people, from Wesleyan or from Middletown at large.

Q: Where are you from? Did you have any farming background or is this all new to you?

A: I’m from Wadsworth, Ill., which is about an hour north of Chicago and 15 minutes west of Lake Michigan. Most of the surrounding area is cornfields, but even so I didn’t get involved in farming until coming to Wesleyan.

Q: What does the farm do with the produce that you grow?

A: We give a lot of it to Bon Appetít, the campus dining service, so that they can serve it in the dining hall. Another large portion we take to the North End Farmers’ Market in Middletown. Anything we bring to the market and don’t sell is then donated to the Amazing Grace food pantry. We also have a new program this year with families in the area called the Middletown Food Project. We have the families over to the farm and teach the children about various aspects of farming and producing food, and also send everyone home with a bag of produce they harvest themselves. And we eat some of it ourselves, of course.

Q: What other extracurricular activities are you involved with at Wesleyan?

A: I tutor other students in General Physics II, and also have a job at the Star and Crescent, helping the head chef prep and serve the meals. This past spring I was in the Spring Dance performance, and I plan on auditioning for other dances in the future.

Q: As a rising junior, do you know what your post-Wesleyan plans might be?

A: After Wesleyan I hope to get my Ph.D. in astrophysics, though I haven’t given much thought about a particular institution to attend. After that I plan on applying to NASA in order to be an astronaut. I know it sounds farfetched, especially given the current state of NASA, but I believe strongly in the scientific and societal benefits of manned space exploration, and also have a great personal passion for science, space and discovery.

 

Long Lane Farm Ends Growing Season with Annual Pumpkin Fest, Fall Harvest

Arianna Fishman '13 and Hannah Cressy '13 sold pumpkins, apples and squash at the ninth annual Long Lane Farm Pumpkin Fest Oct. 6.

Arianna Fishman ’13 and Hannah Cressy ’13 sold pumpkins, apples and squash at the ninth annual Long Lane Farm Pumpkin Fest Oct. 6.

It’s that time of year: crunchy fall leaves and the long awaited end to the summer harvesting season. Long Lane Farm’s ninth annual Pumpkin Fest, held on Oct. 6, celebrated this culmination with free vegetarian food, face painting, live music from student bands, farm tours, yoga, and more.

Middletown residents and Wesleyan students and faculty alike came together in what farm enthusiast Josh Krugman ’14 called “a celebration of the farm as a student-run project that makes amazing things happen, and also the farm as a community and the possibility the farm has of creating community even outside of the school with the people of Middletown.”

Several student bands performed at Pumpkin Fest.

Several student bands performed at Pumpkin Fest.

Jiving to the music of Northpaw, Brushfire, Featherwood, and other student bands, participants relaxed in the sunshine and visited the various booths that embodied similar causes to that of Long Lane Farm. Students’ bicycles were hooked up to generate a small portion of the energy needed for the musical performances; even Arrow, the Ronnybrook cow, showed up for the occasion to promote the all-natural local milk that Wesleyan drinks in its dining halls. Vendors sold baked goods, smoothies, and of course, pumpkins, along with free veggie burgers and apple cider.

The farm began in 2002 as a student initiative to promote sustainable farming and to provide an educational space to do so. That first season Long Lane supplied 50 Middletown residents with summer produce, and positive results have been growing upwards from there. This past season, six students stayed over the summer vacation, harvesting and cultivating the farm’s crops, which included tomatoes, eggplants, squash, peppers, potatoes, melons, and more.

Staff, Faculty to Plant Community Garden

Faculty and staff can rent a garden plot at Long Lane Farm. Each gardener is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their garden plot. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Wesleyan faculty and staff are growing a community.

This summer, up to 50 employees have the opportunity to maintain their own plot in a Wesleyan Community Garden at Long Lane Farm.

“We hope that the community garden will promote local growing and give people the space to grow their own produce,” says Bill Nelligan, director of environmental health, safety and sustainability.  “We will be planting alongside the student garden which will facilitate a growing atmosphere.”

Each plot measures 10 by 15 feet. Plot fees are $50 and include fence upkeep, annual soil amendments and community tools.

Each gardener is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their garden plot. Watering, weeding, harvesting and any other garden related maintenance are all the responsibility of the gardener. Gardeners may arrange for other gardeners to water their plots.

A limited number of tools, hoses and watering equipment will be available in the community garden storage shed for use during non-scheduled work times. Each gardener will be given one key to the garden and the storage bin for access to tools and watering equipment.

Children are welcome in the garden but must be accompanied by an adult and must be supervised at all times.

In addition to maintaining their own gardens, employees are expected to help during the season with general chores. These may include site maintenance, phone calls, mailings, plot assignments, path maintenance, construction projects, watering, annual planting, fall cleanup, composting and social events.

Only organic fertilizing techniques are allowed.

For more information e-mail Bill Nelligan at wnelligan@wesleyan.edu.