May 12, 2005: At the recent W.K. Kellogg Food and
Society Networking Conference, we were reminded of a quote
that has been attributed to Buckminister Fuller. “You
never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change
things, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Since the first editions of New Farm, the people at The Rodale
Institute and New Farm have helped create awareness of the
importance of college-based farming programs and opportunities
as one part of the farming future. The reports from interns
have continued to provide important motivation that we are
on a good path. New Farm staff listened to students and faculty
at more than 50 schools across North America and recognized
an opportunity to help facilitate dialog and communication
between these various programs. The
Farming for Credit Forum unveiled here is an
important next step to cultivating the farmers of the future.
Being a part of starting the MSU Student Organic Farm over
the past five years has helped me to learn about existing
student-run farms, some operating for 20+ years, and more
recently about the new student farms just getting started.
We’ve benefited from ideas and information shared by
a dozen farms that we contacted. With the Farming for Credit
Forum, that process should be much easier. Our first farm
manager is in the process of writing her thesis about some
of the parts of starting our farm and we look forward to sharing
it with all of you. There are many other stories that need
to be voiced to motivate the growing student-farm movement.
Here is a place for those stories to be heard.
Students from student farms are starting to meet on a regional
basis – at the Upper Midwest Farming Conference in February
of this year – and hopefully at an organic conference
in the Northeast and the West in the coming year. If the time
is right, there will be a national conference in the years
to come. And it can all unfold here.
Do you have a picture or a vision in your head about what
you want to do next? Do you have a place to let it happen?
Do you have friends to help you? The New Farm is ready to
help you find a vision, a place and friends. You are in the
right place at the right time – so find something to
do that excites you – and have some fun. Learning is
doing. Farming is all about doing and being.
Thanks NEW FARM!
John Biernbaum, PhD
MSU Plant and Soil Sciences
Faculty advisor to MSU Student Organic Farm