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Place-Based Farmer Education: Student Perspectives

University of Michigan Students share their experiences on the Campus Farm.
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<v ->So I’m Hailey.</v> I’m a senior studying environmental science at U of M. With the campus farm, currently I’m a head grower for a plant sale happening in May.
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And personally, I think it’s really important to engage in hands-on food systems work. For me it’s really satisfying to be able to grow food for other people and to kind of see what goes into the food that we grow. And then being able to see it in the dining halls served to students is just really cool, full circle experience for me. So that’s personally what I find most satisfying. <v ->I’m Becca.</v> I am a sophomore studying in the program in the environment and sustainable food systems. And at the farm, I am a student manager and I’m in charge of food safety and orders.
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So I think that food systems is a very generally applicable topic, because so many people have to, everyone needs to eat food. So there’s different ways that you can get involved with food systems in a way that you can look at a lot of different issues through the lens of food systems. So just different inequalities and environmental issues. So some people can use food systems to address issues in their own life. <v ->So I’m Lydia.</v> My major here at U of M is movement science in the School of Kinesiology with a minor in food and the environment. And I am currently the student engagement manager here at the farm.
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So yeah, I started volunteering here last, maybe like, actually a complete year ago. And it’s been a lot of fun, because I’ve been able to start working at the farm, upgrade from like being just a volunteer. And then now I’m a manager here, where I get to help coordinate the volunteers. So it’s been a full circle of like, being able to reach out to students on campus that were like me last year, and wanted to get more involved in the farm. And it’s been a lot of learning about how to like, manage groups of people, and coordinate people, and getting people involved, and also making them feel welcome here on the farm, and creating that environment.
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Yeah, it’s been a big learning curve for me in that leadership role.
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<v ->So I would recommend kind of just</v> checking out local farms near you. For students here, a lot of people don’t know that we have a campus farm at U of M. So I think first just kind of engaging with farms and farmers is a good way to kind of get excited about local food and incorporating it more into your diet. <v ->So in order to reduce your own food impact,</v> I think you could just learn a lot more about the way that different types of foods are produced.
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And then use all of the knowledge that you’ve gained through that research and use that to dictate the way that you buy food and the way that you interact with food in your local area. <v ->One of the steps I’ve taken</v> to reduce my food-related impact is
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I’ve been eating less red meat in my diet. It’s kind of hard, culturally, at times, when I’m home, and I have my mom’s cooking, and she cooks with a lot of beef. But just here, when I’m on campus, when I’m cooking for myself, I don’t buy meat. So that it’s a really easy solution to just not having it in your diet. But yeah, animal agriculture can have a huge impact on our environment. And I think just like, taking small steps in your diet that like, just maybe once or twice a week, like being aware of your impact, it’s better than not having awareness of it.

In this segment, students from the University of Michigan talk about their experiences working at the UM Campus Farm at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and what the benefits of a hands-on food and agriculture experience are. They will also suggest possible ways to take action to reduce your food-related impact.

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Sustainable Food Teach-Out

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