‘Fridays at the Farms’ return to campus, off campus

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Sophie Hume

Students celebrating their harvest during ‘Fridays at the Farms.’

Bridget Janis, Managing Editor

With the school year starting back up, the Student Organic Farm is beginning to hold their weekly “Fridays at the Farm” farmstand again. This provides an opportunity for all community members to purchase fresh produce and support Oakland University students.

“I believe that going outdoors is just super important in general, being able to see the farm, understanding how your food grows, understanding food systems,” Madison Lee, Assistant Farm Manager and President of Growing Grizzlies said. “And being able to see a place in your own backyard that’s actually doing that and providing food to many people is super important.”

The farmstand will be open every Friday throughout September and the first couple weeks of October, depending on the weather, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on 3070 Butler Rd.

With the lack of volunteers this year, the farm decided to hold their farmstand directly on the farm, instead of on campus.

“It’s actually easier to have the farmstand here than it is to take it to campus,” Dr. Fay Hansen, Associate Professor of Biology Sciences said. “It’s a huge effort to get it to campus but we love the visibility — what we like about having it here is people come out and see the farm.”

Community members are able to purchase a wide variety of common and unique vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and kohlrabi. You can also purchase flowers such as dahlias and zinnias.

“We try to sell the classics,” Lee said. “But also, try to get people to try new things, because that’s super important.”

The Student Organic Farm is partnered with Growing Grizzlies, a club on campus that helps with the volunteering aspect of the farm. Students interested in volunteering at the farm should reach out to Growing Grizzles on GrizzOrgs, or through their Instagram — @GrowingGrizzlie.

This past year, the farmstand has also been partnering with the Grizzly Pantry to make it more accessible to students. There is now a vouture program, “Grizz Greens,” in which you can take the voutures to the farmstands or at specific times the farm allows. Then, students that use the Grizzly Pantry can get access to whatever is available.

“The club grew to kind of teach people how to grow whatever they want or need at their house,” Jason Jungle, Farm Manager and Treasurer of Growing Grizzlies said.

The Student Organic Farm was founded in 2010 and has grown ever since. OU received a grant to start the farm in 2010 — before that it was a small student garden. The grant was specifically to help change the way OU teaches STEM: through the way of food.

“Our goal when we founded the farm was to provide fresh produce for our students,” Hansen said.

The farm is student run, and accepts volunteers year-round. There are multiple classes that surround helping out and learning about the farm. A lot of the active learning takes place directly on the farm. 

For the upcoming year, the farm hopes to improve their engagement with the community and bring back some old events. They want to start the Thanksgiving bake back up, hold potlucks and create some hang out sessions. 

“I’d like to get more people interested, people that want to make the farm prosper,” Jungle said.