CORVALLIS, Oregon, July
25, 2005: Plenty of college kids still subsist on a steady
diet of ramen noodles, cold cereal and beer.
Not Nate France. The crop and soil sciences major at Oregon State
University wouldn't dream of following the well-beaten path to the
local fast-food restaurants for cheap, mammoth burgers.
Instead, every Thursday afternoon until the sun sets, France helps
till and tend a pocket-size, student-run organic farm on a couple
of soil-rich acres just outside the western Oregon college town
"I sowed some corn while it was raining, and then I tamped
down the soil too much; it caked up, hard as a brick, and the corn
plants couldn't come up," said France, 27, who dreams out loud
about farming his own land someday. "This next time, I know
to mix manure in. This is like a trial by fire, a way to make mistakes
before it matters too much."