By Grace Webster, Stuart Good and Madeline Alvis
Gina Raicovich, University Farm Manager, recently announced her resignation. Sewanee hired Raicovich two and half years ago to create a farm to benefit the Sewanee campus with academic and agricultural innovations. Raicovich’s leading programs include the herb garden outside of McClurg, the vegetable garden at the University Farm, and cattle, goat, and chicken pastures.
During her tenure at Sewanee, Raicovich handled the farming and educational programs, transforming local landscape from scenery to resource. Since she began at the University Farm, she has worked with student interns to raise animals and produce vegetables on a half- acre plot of land. The garden operates from early Spring through November and provides produce for McClurg.
Describing a recent change, Raicovich said, “The transition from a steer [bull] operation to a calf operation” was necessary because the original “steer operation was not the most economical way to raise beef” for Sewanee Dining. Now, by keeping cows for breeding, Raicovich implemented a program in which the University Farm owns the “the mode of production.” This innovation simplified the meat production program as well as raised the farm’s income, according to Raicovich.
The farm not only provides local food for McClurg, but also offers hands-on learning experiences for students interested in farming, agriculture, and environmental studies.
When asked to comment on Raicovich’s contribution to the farm, biology professor Deborah McGrath said, “Gina did the work of three people, transforming the small, ill-kept organic garden into an integrated agroecosystem in which all components, including the animals, fulfilled roles to restore the land and make the farm self-sustaining. As such, the farm became a central focus for students learning about issues of food, and more broadly, sustainable living. She inspired students and faculty alike.”