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Projects Updates for Sustainable Student Farm

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  1. Fall 2021 Semester Summary

    The SSLC underwent many changes under the new leadership of co-presidents Owen Jennings, Maiah Caise, Jack Reicherts, and Maria Maring. The board experimented with the mission and niche of the SSLC, ultimately establishing that the organization shall act as a medium of communication between student groups and the administration. The organization will also be the primary host of the annual Student Sustainability Summit in October, touting – among other interdisciplinary events – Green Quad Day, Sustainable Student Research Symposium, and Tuesday Talks at Bevier Cafe. 

     

    This Summit was the Council’s most noteworthy accomplishment this semester. The SSLC collaborated with: Red Bison, Outdoor Adventure Club, the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering, the Sustainable Student Farm, the Pilot Processing Plant, Grand Prairie Friends, the F&S Solar House, Stop Line 3 CU, Students for Environmental Concerns, Prairie Rivers Network, and the Student Sustainability Committee. This myriad of events had varying levels of attendance. The SSLC leadership learned two primary lessons from the inaugural Student Sustainability Summit: first, quality over quantity in terms of events; and second, planning well ahead of time is absolutely essential in order to adequately advertise each event. If you attended or co-hosted any Summit event, and you would like to let the SSLC board know your feedback, please fill out this form. The current SSLC leadership looks forward to how future leadership will expand upon the Summit. 

     

    Another noteworthy accomplishment of the SSLC this semester was action following the publication of the Campus Admin Manual’s Expressive Activity Policy draft. Students were largely emotional about the policy’s stringent punishment for demonstrations on campus, so the SSLC – in conjunction with SECs and the SSC – wrote a letter to Chancellor Jones demanding that the policy more closely align with the student body’s needs. As of January 2022, the SSLC has received no reply from the Office of the Chancellor.  

     

    Co-presidents Maria Maring and Owen Jennings spoke at the Campus Sustainability Celebration and Sustainability Council meeting, respectively, on the topic of divestment. Though SSLC leadership was merely prompted to give basic updates at these meetings, they utilized the face-to-face opportunity with campus administrators to voice student concerns about completing iCAP Objective 9.1: Fully divest from fossil fuel companies by FY25. 

     

    In a first, the SSLC and general members participated in the Homecoming Parade. Roughly a dozen students marched with divestment-related signs. The SSLC hopes to expand Homecoming attendance next year. 

     

    The SSLC revived its dormant Facebook account (@sslcuiuc) and newly established an Instagram account (@uiuc_sslc). On the latter, the SSLC made 40 posts and gained 227 followers. The Facebook account has 93 followers; engagement on this platform is much less. The SSLC also made a linktree and a Google calendar to which other RSOs can sync. That way, all events from all different orgs are all conveniently on one calendar. This joint calendar is still undergoing troubleshooting, and it is not yet available for public viewing. 

     

    Amidst these new endeavors, the SSLC held full membership meetings roughly once a month, as did the previous leadership. One recurring issue was lack of attendance and engagement. Leadership held many conversations with both general members and staff advisors about how to increase the efficacy of the Council, but no good solution was found. The SSLC will continue to hold these monthly meetings and brainstorm about how to increase engagement throughout the upcoming spring semester. 

     

    The SSLC board met weekly. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the Council at sslc-chair@mx-illinois.edu

  2. Student Sustainability Farm open!

    Associated Project(s): 

    Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we will be holding an online Farm Stand. We will be still implementing all guidelines and rules, so the pickup will be no contact. Below are the instructions and the link.

    The store will be open for orders on Tuesdays only, it will open at 7am until all items sell out or until 7am on Wednesday morning. We will then export all orders and begin to fill them. If you place an order past 7am on Wednesday we will not see it and that order will not be filled. We will have a drive thru pick-up at the SSF on Thursdays, our usual market day, from 12-5. The pick-up location will be at the gate on Lincoln Ave. just south of Windsor Road. Below is a map of where pickup is going to be located. When you arrive you will give your name to one of our employees, they will retrieve your prepackaged order and will put it in your trunk or backseat through an open window. All orders must be prepaid on the website at the time of ordering. We thank you for your support and patience as we figure out our new market system.

    Copy and paste this url to get to the online ordering site!

    thefarmstand.illinois.edu

    Here is a secondary link if the first one doesn’t work:

    my.aces.illinois.edu/buy

  3. Sustainable Student Farm Open House

    The Sustainable Student Farm will host its annual Open House on Friday September 6 from 3-6 PM.  Tours of the SSF and Woody Perennial Polyculture projects will be offered as well as food items prepared by the U of I’s Housing and Dining Services featuring produce from the farm. The Student Sustainable Farm grows fruit and vegetables that are sold within the campus community.  Woody Perennial Polyculture is an experimental, alternative farming approach focusing on perennial tree crops instead of annual cropping systems.  Come out to listen, eat, and learn!

    September 6, 3–6:00 PM • https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sustainable+Student+Farm/@40.079908,-88.2189663,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x880cd6f002562e19:0x5ffbd796430d2fef!8m2!3d40.079908!4d-88.2167776

    Bruce Branham • Department of Crop Sciences

  4. SSC funds SSF Expansion & Relocation

    The Sustainable Student Farm (SSF) was started in 2009 with a grant from the SSC.  The goal of the SSF is to provide fresh, locally grown food to University Housing to reduce the carbon foot print of food service at the U of I, and to show students the health benefits, quality, and superior taste and flavor of locally grown food. This SSC grant supports the Department of Crop Sciences as they plan to move the SSF from its current location at the Fruit Research Farm to the Landscape Horticulture Research Center (LHRC), adjacent to the arboretum. This new location is closer to the campus core, so students can better access SSF. Additionally, this new site is larger, allowing SSF to increase production output. To maximize this move’s efficiency and sustainability, SSF will hire an external firm to complete a feasibility study that identifies the most economical and space-efficient approach to construct the wash/pack/storage facility and space for equipment storage.

  5. WHATS HAPPENING?

    Producing 25000 lbs. of tomatoes,

    now have classes there looking to work with university to teach about plants! 

    economically sustaining our own building,

    looking to expand to a new location! 

    Strong producer for the campus, and excited to grow more!

  6. Tour FSHN Pilot Plant with SSC

    At this year's Explore ACES, join the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and the Food Science & Human Nutrition (FSHN) Pilot Plant for a special SSC tour of the Pilot Plant facility! The plant gives students an experiential opportunity to test new food processing technologies, examine nutritional breakdowns, and contribute to the local food system. This special SSC tour will explore flour milling, tomato sauce processing, hot sauce processing, and more! You'll even get to taste hot sauce with peppers produced at the Sustainable Student Farm. We look forward to seeing you on March 9th at 9:15am, 11:00am, or 1:30pm. Signup here: https://goo.gl/forms/WAtT3klPwxmp8Eaq1

  7. Circular Economy Fall 2015 Agreement

    The Sustainable Student Farm (SSF), has been growing sustainably produced vegetables for the U of I campus community since 2009. Since 2012, Fresh Press (FP) has been producing paper from agricultural waste like soybean stalks and prairie grass, including much of the waste from SSF.

    This project deepens the connection between SSF and Fresh Press while expanding their offerings to the community. In addition to expanding the current paper production, this project will also allow for the creation of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at the Sustainable Student Farm, increasing the farm’s ability to sustain itself financially. Through employing students while selling their products to the campus and the community, this proposal ultimately truly creates a circular and sustainable economy on campus while furthering campus sustainability goals.

  8. Vermicompost update from Matt Turino

    Associated Project(s): 

    Yes it is implemented and we are currently getting 3-6 40 gallon bins of food waste a week from Busy Evans and harvesting vermicompost out of the bottom.  We are still perfecting our technique for sure, for a while we were letting it get a little too hot for the worms which made them eat less than they would otherwise because they couldn't be in the zone where the food waste was due to the micro-organismal composting causing high temperatures.  Then we were making it too dry and now it's too wet, so we are still perfecting our vermicomposting skills but it is getting better for sure!

  9. Farm and Fiber

    Fresh Press, in collaboration with the Sustainable Student Farm (SSF) and the Woody Perennial Polyculture (WPP) site, are aiming to grow student opportunities through individual and collaborative research and public engagement efforts. The money requested in the Farm and Fiber grant will contribute to the acquisition of walk-in coolers, perennial crops, bee hives/equipment, additional paper dry box, a bailer/hay rake, and a bale shredder blower. This equipment will benefit each project at the SSF by increasing farm production and allowing for increased agricultural fiber yield, leading to a growth in paper production. This increased capacity will triple production capacity and allow greater opportunity for university paper commissions and student workshops in Fresh Press facilities at South Studios.

  10. Farm Stand on the Quad begins Thursday

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Sustainable Student Farm, a program of the Student Sustainability Committee, and in cooperation with the Illini Union, will begin its weekly Farm Stand on the Quad on Thursday (May 23). The Farm Stand is open every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., selling fresh produce grown on campus. The Farm Stand is located on the south side of the Illini Union.

  11. Student Farm Funding Agreement

  12. Student Farm 2011 Grant - Funding Letter

    This proposal looks to further the University’s commitment to local food consumption through continued support the Sustainable Student Farm (SSF). The SSF began in 2009 with a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee to begin producing locally grown vegetables for the University of Illinois community. In the first season, the SSF produced nearly 25,000 pounds of produce and generated approximately $25,000 in revenue, primarily through sales to University of Illinois Dining Services for use in the University dining halls. The exceptionally hot summer of 2010, combined with the high time/labor demand of high tunnel construction and farm expansion, led to a disappointing harvest for the second growing season. This year, the SSF has enjoyed its first winter harvest season due to three new high tunnels. Through these season expansion techniques, along with increased mastery of farming practices, the SSF expects to have a bountiful and successful growing season. Funding for this proposal will bridge the gap between last season’s financial shortfalls and the revenue generated in 2011. The SSF will continue to work to increase crop revenue and educational outreach. As the University’s only current capacity for producing local produce for campus, the SSF is an essential component of increasing campus sustainability. Continuation of the SFF is essential to meeting these goals. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding a grant in the amount of $10,000.

  13. Sustainable Student Farm Funding Agreement

    This proposal looks to continue to develop a student run farm at the Horticultural Pomology Farm on the southeast corner of Lincoln and Windsor. As a partnership between the campus horticulture program and students, the farm will significantly contribute to campus food needs by supplying produce to University food service operations. This will allow the campus to move toward a more sustainable agricultural model and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food transportation. Student volunteers and Crop Sciences employees will harvest, process and deliver fresh crops to University Dining Services, which will pay the prevailing market rate for the produce. This model should allow the project to bring in adequate funding in the near future, and the requested funds will be used to propel the farm to achieve self-sustaining operations in 2011. Further, a sign will inform the community of the farm’s presence and open houses will be held to introduce students and staff to this sustainable agriculture operation. This continued and expanded project will provide tangible evidence of campus commitment to responsible sustainable behavior. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding the fully requested amount of $25,000.

  14. High Tunnels

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Student Sustainable Farm began using high tunnels, which allow for year-round production. The farm will begin with salad greens, leaf lettuce, and braising greens.

  15. Student Farm Local Foods Funding Agreement

    The goal of this project is to start a student-operated farm that produces significant quantities of fruits and vegetables for use in the University food service operations. The operation of such a farm will be of significant educational value, reduce carbon emissions associated with food production and transportation as well as be of value to Extension programs. Additionally, this project furthers the university’s role as a land grant institution. Thus, the Student Sustainability Committee is in favor of funding the full requested amount of $50,000.

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