For Sarah Garcia ’17, Lara Johnson ’19 and Felicia Maybee ’17, a shared passion for fresh produce has given them the opportunity this summer to sow the seeds for community outreach and involvement. The three HWS Fribolin Farm interns have been working diligently over the past few months to maintain the farm and all that has been planted there.
Fribolin Farm interns tend to the various gardens on the property, organize and facilitate community events and outreach, and serve as a resource for those visiting the farm. Sarah Meyer, Finger Lakes Institute community outreach coordinator and food systems program manager, oversees the interns and their work.
This summer, food justice and food security issues have largely driven Johnson’s work at the farm. Her Pulse Project Garden is a demonstration garden consisting of nine varieties of pulses, which are grain legumes such as edamame, beans, chickpeas, lentils and dry peas.
“Pulses pertain to my interests because they are helpful in combating food insecurity around the world,” Johnson says. “They are a cheap source of protein, easy to grow and have many health benefits.”
Although Johnson has not yet declared an area of study, she is interested in pursuing a double major in sociology and environmental science, with a minor in food studies. She will take charge of the food recovery program this year at HWS and plans to start a food activism club on campus, continuing her growing interest in community outreach through food.
In addition to tending a variety of gardens at the farm, Garcia, an environmental studies major with minors in biology and French, has helped to care for the Farm’s resident horse, Gina, as well as beekeeping.
“I have learned a great deal about managing gardens, how much hard-work is necessary to maintain them, but have also been able to see it all pay off – from a jungle of weeds to fruitful and blooming gardens,” she recalls.
The HWS Farmstand Project, just one of the many projects that Garcia is involved with, provides the HWS and Geneva communities with access to locally and organically grown produce.
“We grow an assortment of vegetables that we sell on campus at our weekly farmstands,” Garcia explains, adding that it gives community members the opportunity to help support the farm while benefitting from the variety of vegetables that are grown there.
“I have been able to interact with individuals from various parts of the community – ranging from little kids from the YMCA to various high school programs and those who attend our events. This in itself has been an amazing experience,” she says.
Maybee, a psychology major with a cognition, logic and language minor, says the initiatives at the farm have “a positive impact on the community: providing chefs with a place to grow food, a place for enrichment for those from Hillside Children’s Center, and events and food for the community in order to share our hard work.”
Maybee says the work being done at Fribolin Farm has a far-reaching impact as well as momentum for growth through student involvement. She says it’s been great being able to see the direct impact.
“I think it is important for people to know where their food comes from and how it is grown because the more educated people are about food, the more likely they are to make a healthy choice or learn how to afford and cook healthy meals on a low budget,” she says.
In the photos above, Felicia Maybee ’17 stands with Gina, the 28-year-old Morgan horse resident of the HWS Fribolin Farm; and Lara Johnson ’19, Finger Lakes Institute community outreach coordinator and food systems program manager at HWS Sarah Meyer, and Sarah Garcia ’17 sell produce grown at the farm.