The Dartmouth Organic Farm, which is run through the Outdoor Programs Office, is located approximately 3 miles north of the campus on Rt. 10 (Address: 100 Lyme Road). It has 2 acres of production, including 25 different flowers, herbs and vegetables ranging from sweet corn to radishes which are all "certified organic" in their growing and harvesting. The farm will be entering its fourth growing season this spring.
The site provides many different levels of experience:
- The river where people can swim, boat, fish, or sit on the banks.
- Oak Hill.
- The Greenhouse operation opening in late March.
- Natural history opportunities with diverse birding.
- The farm is as much a nature center as it is an agricultural center.
- Three students can live at the farm throughout the year.
The farm is designed to help people who have no previous experience partipate and learn.
Please see the interview with Emily Neuman, who has lived at the Farm while taking classes at Dartmouth.
One important aspect of this farm is that, as opposed to agricultural programs, it is enirely student run with the advisement of a farm mananger, Scott Stokoe. A farm manager was necessary given the lack of continuity caused by the D-plan. In the case of the Farm, the D-plan is more of a boon than anything because students can take advantage of and work at the Farm during the summers. Occasionally, professors will bring their students to the farm to do field research, or even hold creative writing seminars along the banks of the river. This summer, Professor Virginia will offer a farm-based research course through the Environmental Studies Program.
"Organic" Farm and sustainability.
Scott Stokoe explained the importance of the label "organic" in this way; technically, "organic" can be defined as meaning that there is no use of sythnetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. However, the farm's mission is much broader than that technicality: the organic farm's aim is sustainable agriculture. This is only one part of a larger movement towards a sustainable use of the earth's resources. Creating a sustainable living center of the farm complex is a goal that students can have and plan for the farm. It is the philosophy, if not the current reality of the farm.
Read the proposal for the sustainable living center.
Since moving from its original status as a three-year pilot program to a permanent fixture last spring, the scope of the possibilities broadened considerably for the farm. Some other projects that the farm is looking towards are:
- renewable energy
- alternative waste treatment
- composting toilet facilities in the residential center
- vermiculture waste treatment
- bio-gas digester
- "grey water" (which is non potable, and non contaminated water) treatment
- alternative technologies for conservation
- alternative sources of energy (photovoltaic and windpower)
In order to implement many of these projects which are focused on sustainable living, the farm building in which students live would require serious modification. This in and of itself is a valuable exercise in "retrofitting" a pre-existing structure which is actually more difficult and more practical than building a sustainable living residence from the ground up. Of course it would require a great deal of student initiative, administrative support, and even outside funding.
Of course, the farm can be a wonderful place to visit and spend time at for a day or to live there. However, to get a lot out of the farm and the experience of working it, it is ideal to be able to consistently commit two or three hours a few times a week in order to follow one crop. That way you can learn the steps from seed to sale. There is such value in being in the field with konwledgeable people for many of the steps can be tedious if you have no understanding of how that task belongs in the development of the crop.
In many ways, the farm can serve as a site of preparation in that you can better begin to understand the vagaries of the natural world. However, it is impossible to understand the personal, financial commitment that farmers make in basing livelihoods in that enterprise. So, the farm can be a good introduction but not a thorough overview of farming.
The farm also offers a few internships which are a way for students to have their work at the farm be their campus employment. If you are interested in details about this aspect of the farm, please e-mail Scott Stokoe, the Farm Manager.
If you would like more information about the Organic Farm, please e-mail Dartmouth Organic Farm.
Go back to the main winter page.