Raised beds completed at Campus Student Organic Farm


Photo courtesy of Oakland University

Oakland University’s Campus Student Organic Farm (CSOF) celebrated the completion of their raised beds project on Oct. 12 inside the farm’s hoop house.

Oakland University’s Campus Student Organic Farm (CSOF) celebrated the completion of their raised beds project on Oct. 12 inside the farm’s hoop house. Several student volunteers and organizations collaborated to build the raised beds after heavy machinery compacted the soil inside the hoop house beyond usability.

“Because of the soil compaction, we couldn’t plant anything in the newly renovated section of the hoop house,” CSOF Director Fay Hansen said. “It was absolutely devastating.”

After the hoop house expansion, Hansen and the rest of the CSOF workers were stuck in a dilemma. They had ample space to plant additional crops in their hoop house, yet the soil conditions could not support plant life.

Hansen got crafty with the space, using the area to dry Amaranthus, place hanging baskets and store tools. However, she believed that raised beds could be useful in the space.

Over the summer, Hansen had OU Student Congress (OUSC) Student Body President Andrew Romano as a student in her Permaculture (Bio 3362) summer class. After learning about the hoop house issue, Romano was eager to help.

“There were a lot of student organizations that had unused summer funding,” Romano said. “We reached out to these clubs to see if they would be willing to donate to the project.”

OUSC, in collaboration with Growing Grizzlies, Young Democratic Socialists of Oakland University, Leaders for Environmental Wellness and Protection and HOMES, raised $17,000 in donations to make the project possible. Out of the donated money, OUSC contributed a sizeable amount of $8,000.

Throughout the summer, students from Pontiac visited the farm to build the beds. CSOF workers and volunteers also provided assistance, making the project a collaborative, community effort.

On Oct. 12, OUSC and Growing Grizzlies members visited the farm to celebrate the completion of the raised beds project. The OUSC representatives appreciated the opportunity to see the fruits of their labor, especially since many of them had never had the chance to visit the farm before.

“This was my first time visiting the Campus Student Organic Farm,” OUSC legislator Ethan Lehman-Pace said. “It was so incredible to see the thriving environment that was created by students.”

After being given a tour of the farm, OUSC and Growing Grizzlies members worked together to fill the last unfinished raised bed with nutrient-rich soil. Once enough soil was shoveled into the bed, the OUSC representatives set the final wall into place.

After a long and challenging summer of work, the raised beds were finally completed and ready to be used. Hansen celebrated the completion of the project by allowing OUSC and Growing Grizzlies members to plant sprouts in one of the beds.