Research

March 3, 2020 at 11:01 am

Moran, Trese, Kostansek Present on Creative Models for Financing the Farm

Dr. Theresa Moran, Dr. Art Trese, and Joy Kostansek

From left, Dr. Theresa Moran, Dr. Art Trese, and Joy Kostansek

Dr. Theresa Moran, Dr. Art Trese, and Joy Kostansek attended the Farm to Institution New England Campus Farmer Summit on Feb. 22 to present a session on “Financing the Farm: Creative Models + Financial Infrastructure” about their work with the OHIO Student Farm.

Held at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., this conference brought together students, faculty, and advocates engaged in student farm work across the region. The summit had a collaborative energy as participants shared all the positive and negative experiences they have had as they try to grow and expand farms as a method for experiential learning.

Trese, Associate Professor of Environmental & Plant Biology, shared the history of the OHIO Student Farm, dating back to the 1970s as a passion project for faculty members. The farm has since expanded due to the hard work and volunteer hours put in by Trese and his students. He shared his insights into the uncertain future of the farm and the need for secure institutional support.

Moran, Director of Food Studies and Sustainable Living Hub Coordinator, then told the audience about the creation of the Food Studies program and the role it played in expanding the farm. With the help of Moran and the “How Food Works” internship program, production of the farm expanded to fuel three different markets and wholesale customers. Working with Ohio University’s Culinary Services was made possible through the Farm to OHIO Working Group Initiative, a group that was formed through a Sugar Bush Foundation grant in collaboration with Rural Action and Community Food Initiatives.

Moran highlighted the collaboration with Paul Mass and students from the Center of Entrepreneurship, who created a business plan projecting financial independence for the farm within three to five years with an initial investment from donors.

Lastly, Kostansek, a graduate student in Sociology and the Food Studies graduate assistant, built upon the conversation by sharing the student experience of engaging with the farm. She highlighted the Local Food Resolution passed in November 2019 by the Graduate Student Senate and upcoming ways to mobilize student support for the farm.

This session provided participants a way to collaborate and share their experiences of what has worked successfully when securing funding for their campus farms. The presenters and participants interacted to crowdsource ideas and help to highlight the best ideas in the room. Overall, the summit proved to be a great way for Trese, Moran, and Kostansek to learn from their peers and return to campus with new ideas to support the future of the farm.

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