Summer Sees Farm Development – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Summer Sees Farm Development

This summer, students are taking part in many of the activities surrounding the recently-acquired Fribolin Farm. Members of the HWS community are helping to plant several different crops for the Colleges’ use. In addition to maintaining portions of the farm, faculty, staff and students are working to collaborate and brainstorm ideas for utilizing the property in the future.

Finger Lakes Institute Community Outreach Coordinator Sarah Meyer, Professor of Biology Beth Newell and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Kristen Brubaker are involving students in activities on the farm this summer.  The students have helped prepare the soil, planted seeds and young plants, removed weeds from vegetable and flower gardens, and built a fence around a small vegetable garden.  

“Students are getting experience in planting, and for some, that’s the first time they’ve done that,” Newell says.

This week, students and HWS community members are tending to a number of crops, including tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, snap peas, parsley, eggplant, tomatillos, pickling cucumbers and butternut squash. These plants occupy just a small portion of the entire farm that will soon facilitate further learning and extracurricular activities. For instance, the Roma tomatoes, once harvested, will be used at weekly Pasta Night dinner events sponsored by the Office of Religious Life.

In addition, the farm will serve as the location for a First-Year Seminar in Sustainable Living next semester. Ideas also under consideration are the use of solar panels or micro-hydropower system to generate renewable energy as well as conducting agricultural research on site.

“The campus farm has the potential of opening up interdisciplinary, experiential learning opportunities for our students, faculty and staff, as well as community members,” explains Meyer.

The farm, which was donated to the Colleges in February by Carl W. Fribolin L.H.D.’14, is located less than one mile from campus. Its grounds include a barn, stables, spring-fed ponds and an indoor equestrian ring. Along with the donation of the farm, the Colleges established a committee of faculty, staff and students to generate ideas for the farm’s use.

“There is currently a great deal of deliberation over what the farm will be used for,” says Cameron Benoit ’16, who is completing an internship with the Finger Lakes Institute this summer. “I hope students will join the committee and share their ideas.”

In addition, Benoit has also begun a separate Student Farm Committee for students to discuss topics concerning the farm. Along with Mollie Kenerson ’15 and Stacey Davis ’15, Benoit has created a Facebook for the committee, which may be found here. Both committees are currently seeking feasible ideas for best utilizing the new property.

Students and community members who would like to get involved in farming projects can also contact Sarah Meyer at