We were recently asked who our key members are and what we do. Please read below to get acquainted with our officers, members, and community advisors. We’ve also included some of our outreach activities. It takes a lot of time and dedication to make the farm run. If you are interested in getting involved do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com. Whether you want to be a volunteer member, an officer, or offer a workshop there is a place for you at the farm! Our motto is “Growing Community Cultivating Change.” Be a part of the solution to the many issues facing our planet. We have architects, artists, geographers, environmentalists, writers, activists, new farmers, and designers-everyone is welcomed to join. As of 2015, the farm is an official program of the Ecumenical Campus Ministry on campus. Check out the ECM and all their community-driven programming. We are also a sanctioned community group at the University of Kansas with yearly support from our amazing KU Student Senate!
2015-2016 Farm Officers
Mary Beth Duda
Mary Beth Duda, a junior in Global International Studies is the program coordinator for the farm. She has shown great passion and integrity in her work. This past year she has been working diligently in partnership with KU Dining management/KU Roasterie to enhance the Grounds 4 Gardens program to collect and reuse coffee grounds. Every week farm members pick up buckets of used coffee grounds to add to the composting systems at both the farm and at the Lawrence Community Garden Project. This partnership received the 2015 KU Sustainability Project Award in no small part due to Mary Beth’s work and commitment. You can find her in a new role as President/Program Coordinator this year. We are excited to have her in this new leadership position.
Russell Mullin has proven himself a valuable asset to quick fixes and creative solutions. He is farm VP and is heavily involved on campus with EcoHawks, KU Stewards, and the Center for Sustainability. Another major in Global International Studies we know he will find much success in all he does. Check out his Mother Earth News blog from the summer of 2015 where he tells us about his adventures WWOOFing in France. You should also check out is KU Schwinn-Mill project! We would be remiss not to mention the hard work that Russell and his grandfather put in to harvest wood for our upcoming Bee Hotel!
Katrina McClure is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. She is the outgoing program coordinator (2103-2014) and the 2015 treasurer for the farm. Trina can be found working away in the community garden. She specializes in greenhouse production and seed saving. She also does a great deal of organizing and facilitating for the farm. She is a graduate student in geography researching the role and impact of ethnobotanical databases on the recording, function, and dissemination of Indigenous knowledge systems. Trina was the recipient of the KU Graduate Student Sustainability Award in 2015 for her efforts on campus and in the community. She is also involved in organizing the Kaw Valley Seed Fair , is a board member of the Sunrise Project, and was elected secretary to the Association of American Geographer’s Indigenous Peoples’ Specialty Group. She is an alum of Haskell Indian Nations University where her passion for plants first blossomed.
Daniel Walker is a farm officer. You will likely see Daniel working on the compost system or operating a mulch machine, mower, or weed whacker. He is particularly interested in the role that micro-organisms play in rehabilitating overworked soils. The farm is located on land that was farmed in monoculture for decades. Daniel is working towards a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Studies at KU. Daniel plays a fundamental role in the leadership of the farm, assisting with fundraising and outreach activities. Besides the farm, you can find Daniel heading up Veggie Lunch on campus. Veggie Lunch is served at the Ecumenical Campus Ministries every Thursday, from 11:30-1pm.
Outstanding Faculty Members
Shannon Criss is a faculty member in the department of architecture and design at KU. She has shown tremendous dedication to seeing the farm succeed. With the help of herself and Profesosr Nils Gore, we successfully overhauled the fencing at LCGP, which was no small feat. Shannon has a passion for communities and seeks to connect her design students to those working towards just food systems. We are excited by all she does, both with us and in the community at large. See http:www.publicinterestdesign.inf/ for some of the work she and Nils are involved with in the region. You can find her steadily working to build sustainable sheet composted beds at the farm. These will improve soil structure and allow for older plots to lay fallow.
Nils Gore, is a faculty member in the department of architecture and design, is wonderful at building great solutions like this amazing t-post puller! He was our guiding light in the rehab of the LCGP fence repair in the spring of 2014. He also built his own bee hives! We are enthusiastic about all he does at KU and region around sustainable design.
In addition to being awesome faculty members, both Shannon and Nils are behind the oh-so-awesome KU moCOLAB (mobile collaboratory). We have been fortunate to hold a few meetings in MoCOLAB. Their website (www.kumocolab.org) states the following:
The KU Mobile Collaboratory (moCOLAB) is a repurposed 1972 31’ Airstream Land Yacht that was conceived and designed to be KU’s community classroom on wheels. It was born out of recognition that there are many faculty and staff on campus whose work is firmly embedded in community issues, from design and urban planning, to public administration, to public health and clinical child psychology.
Outstanding Staff Members
Outstanding Community Advisors
Roxy McGee is a community advisor, master gardener, and expert dye artist. She has bestowed much of her knowledge about dye plants and soil health to our leadership and members. We are excited to learn more from her! She is passionate about soil and has put in many hours rehabbing an herb garden or what she likes to call the inspiration garden. We all watch with amazement as it transforms.
Patti Norman is a community advisor with 30+ years gardening experience. Patti specializes in companion and lunar planting techniques and works alongside members in the community garden. Patti can be found assisting and helping trouble shoot issues or just lending a helpful hand. She has donated much of her time to the farm and is passionate about a new generation of growers who are spearheading efforts for sustainable agriculture.
Over the years we have built relationships with people who have committed to providing regular education to our members. We greatly appreciate their time and effort.
Becky Crook graduated with her degree in Environmental Studies where she received a permaculture certification. She has transitioned from student farm officer (Garden Manager & Compost Manager) to a community advisor. Her role is to serve as a consultant on permaculture design. She also manages the Lawrence Community Garden Project (LCGP), which just happens to be the oldest community garden in Lawrence. Through Becky’s effort, we have built a strong relationship with this urban garden. The farm provides management support and the garden serves as an additional location for our members to learn sustainable land management practices with a focus on urban permaculture and community building. This is a real gem of a garden where you will find great people, food, herbs, medicine, dye plants, a butterfly way station, and much more.
Bridger Egbert has joined the farm this year as a community advisor, helping Becky manage the LCGP garden, and consulting for us on equipment/material purchases and construction projects. He was integral to fixing and stabilizing the front fencing to the LCGP site along with building a new east fence. He is truly a jack-of-all-trades all-around-nice guy with a big o’ heart. You can find him involved in the community lending a helpful hand. He also maintains a large and incredibly beautiful home garden where he gives away much of what he grows.
Amber Lehrman has been teaching sustainability classes including gardening, canning, permaculture design and emergency preparedness for 5 years. Her family is building a sustainable homestead near Perry, KS where they grow 80% of their own food and are building an off grid home. Helping others learn to help themselves is Amber’s life passion and being able to do that through the KU student farm has been a privilege. Their journey is documented on their blog: http://thelehrmans.blogspot.com/. Amber teaches an annual beginning gardening session for the farm each spring.
Raven is a past farm member turned community advisor. You can find Raven leading cooking classes at the Merc Co+op, catering with local grown foods via Raven’s Table, or selling some fantastic fermented foods through her new venture, Bubbly Love. Raven comes anytime we need, whether its giving a canning demo or instruction when we are cooking for Veggie Lunch. She also shares with students her work with the Student Conservation Association. Raven has been a remote sites caterer with the association for many years. You can find her cooking for trail crews from Alaska to the Mohave desert! How cool is that!
Jennifer Veercamp is a community advisor who brings art and much love to the garden and to members. She created garden faeries and installed art pieces into the community garden last year. She is one of the founding mothers of Bizarre Bazaar (BizBaz), a popular annual art market that started in a founder’s home over 20 years ago. She is a master crotchet/fiber artist and was creating up-cycled art from “junk” before it was popular. Jennifer also helps us by sourcing and delivering local and affordable oat straw to the farm and loves to dry plants for our popular farm grown mint tea.
Jason Hering is a true foodie and one of the founding members of the farm! In 2010, Jason and students in the KU environmental studies program, worked on a project that first conceptualized the farm. The next semester the group would make it a reality. Jason is involved in many local garden/farm-related endeavors. He is co-operator of The Purple Carrot Co-op, a cooperatively-owned mobile kitchen, specializing in providing organic wholesome local fair. You can often find the truck at local events like the Cottin’s Farmer’s Market and as a member of the Douglas County Food Policy Council. He advises us on purchasing decisions and helps us connect to other folks and happenings around town. We owe much gratitude to Jason for committing to the farm from the very beginning and staying involved.
*Attend the Douglas County Food Policy Council meetings every third Monday of the month.
Farm & Garden Friends
Over the years we have been fortunate to work with some awesome farm and gardening friends in our region. Whether it is volunteering at these farms or just exchanging knowledge we appreciate all that these local agriculturalists do in the community. We hope to continue to build upon these relationships.
Mellowfield Urban Farm
Mellowfields Urban Farm cultivates over two acres of Kansas River bottom ground, which they lease from the City of Lawrence as part of its Common Ground program. You can find them at the Lawrence Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning downtown. Kevin Prather and Jessi Asmussen are amazing people to know. In 2015, Kevin taught a workshop on healthy soils for our members. Need great good-for-the-earth fertlizers? Mellowfields is the sole distributor of Fertrell products in the region. You can email them to get on their feed email list. Lastly, we would be remiss to not mention their wonderful CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We encourage our members and students to enroll in a local CSA! Mellowfield’s mentions the following benefits:
Benefits of this CSA option:
**More produce per dollar compared to farmers market
**You can pick up your produce at a quick and convenient location
**You are certain to get a variety of produce
**You get to try some veggies that you normally wouldn’t consider
**You will receive our weekly newsletter with farm news, recipes, and each week’s expected CSA produce choices
Red Tractor Farm
The Red Tractor Farm is owned by Jen Humphrey and Jess Pierson and is known locally as a fine establishment to find local goat meat, produce, and eggs. Over the years we have organized workdays at their farm to help with planting and weeding. In 2013, we had a great time volunteering to help prepare for the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. Red Tractor is also part of Common Harvest, the CSA serving the KU community as of 2015. CSA shares are open to anyone and we hope the program grows because there is nothing better then having fresh local produce conveniently available on campus.
Okanis Garden is nestled just south of the farm at the Prairie Moon Waldorf School. We love being next to the school. The children often come in groups to the farm and wander in and amongst the garden beds smelling and tasting as they go. We have often volunteered to help weed their garden and love our chats with Rich Minder about biodynamic gardening.
Lawrence Community Garden Project
The Lawrence Community Garden Project (LCGP) is the oldest community garden in Lawrence. Started in 1994 by well-known and celebrated muralist, Dave Lowenstein, the garden is situated just north of the stadium at 9th and Mississippi. In 2014, we formed a partnership with this garden under our Community Garden Sponsorship Program. We provide management support and have a garden close to campus for students to participate in.
We have done a lot of community outreach over the years. Below are just a few of our outreach activities. Some are yearly events (see Traditions section) that we volunteer at and others are fall events where we typically volunteer at local charity-based gardens.
Lawrence Community Shelter
In 2014 we had the pleasure of going to help at the LCS garden twice. We constructed a compost system using old pallets. We hope the community has made full use of them and are enjoying some rich compost.
Outreach: Traditions & Building Community
Community building is often touted as an important aspect to building a movement. Building traditions within an organization is one concrete way that groups can work towards strengthening community relationships, the cornerstone of any effort to build community. We continue to cultivate our relationships in the community. Check out some of our new and long-standing traditions!
July Full Moon Potluck
In the summer of 2014 we hosted our first Full Moon Potluck. We invited the KAW Council to come and share with us their work in the community. The event was so successful that we instituted it as our newest tradition. In 2015, Ken Lassman, author of Wild Douglas County, owner of the KAW Valley Almanac, and KAW Council member, facilitated a conversation meant to introduce leaders on campus with those working in region. Representatives came and shared about sustainability efforts around energy, food, policy, and prairie ecosystems. Some of the attending groups include the KU Center for Sustainability, the Grassland Heritage Foundation, Mother Earth News Fair, The KU Center for Community Outreach, KAW Council, Kansas Women’s Environmental Network, the Kaw Valley Seed Fair, and the Douglas County Food Policy Council. We hope to continue to build a relationship with the KAW Council to facilitate this yearly potluck meant to engage and connect leaders in our community.
We encourage students to get involved with organizations in the community. There are so many great groups working towards bettering the planet. We hope the annual potluck can help to align campus and community sustainability initiatives. Want to co-host the 2016 Full Moon Potluck? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved.
Kaw Valley Seed Fair
For years our members have volunteered at this much beloved community event. We table at the Kaw Valley Seed Fair and contribute seeds to the exchange tables. We also always have volunteers helping the organization on event day to keep the event tidy, take pictures, and/or help set-up and tear down. Our community garden is also an effort in producing quality local seed stock. We have been saving amaranth, tomato, pepper, zinnia, marigold, dill, fennel, and morning glory seeds. We hope to add more seed saving to our efforts every year. We continue to engage our members about learning the importance of saving seeds for sustainable bioregional seed production.
City of Lawrence Earth Day
We love our local Earth Day Celebration. Every April we bring out free seeds and talk to the community about sustainable agriculture. We love the Lawrence community and this is a wonderful event that allows us to meet great people who are interesting in bettering the planet. Check out their 2015 event report! The City of Lawrence and KU Environs help make this event happen every year! Check out KU Environs, the longest running sustainability-related group on campus, they are awesome!
Ecumenical Campus Ministries: Veggie Lunch Program
Veggie Lunch at the ECM is a long-standing community meal that happens every Thursday, 11:30-1pm. Community members and students come for a healthy vegetarian meal prepared by volunteers. Over the past 2 years, the farm has committed to preparing 2-3 meals a semester. This is a great opportunity to contribute local farm produce to the meals and to offer our members an opportunity to cook for others. A small contribution helps keep the program running so bring your spare change and/or help out with set-up or clean-up. As of 2016, the farm’s community garden will be a charity-based garden where students can grow food to donate to causes like Veggie Lunch!
Every year we have students who engage in projects with or at the farm. Enjoying reading about some of their accomplishments over the years.
KU Student Farm Bee Hotel
Rain Catchment System
Thanks to the KU Student Senate for ongoing support!