By Lauren Patterson
The new University Farm Manager Carolyn Hoagland is leading the way for a revived, renewed, and ultra-sustainable farm and garden. She is a soil ecologist and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in soil microbiology. Hoagland uses her expertise in soil to transform traditional farming into a practice that will, by using more organic and natural practices, “Create high yields with less effort.” She has outlined four major operations that are taking place at the farm. They include the following: a transfer from summer annual crops to perennial crops; restarting the composting program; adding more opportunities for curricular and co-curricular activities; and adding new service programs.
Hoagland explains transitioning from summer annual crops to perennial crops, “In the summer when it is time to harvest the summer annual crops students are not here to eat them, but by transitioning to perennials the crops will be ready to harvest when students are here and for Sewanee students, the community, and the farm to have a cycle of sustainability. The food from the farm will feed students in McClurg, and any leftover food or scraps will then be taken back to the farm to be used in composting and feeding the animals. This will reduce waste and create a more organic and sustainable community. Hoagland describes her desire for more curricular and cocurricular opportunities and service programs by stating, “I hope that the farm can be a new experience for students.” Letting the students and community become a part of the farm is what she emphasizes in her plans for the future. Her volunteer hours for individuals and groups for this fall are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2:00pm6:00pm. During these hours, students will be able to come for any amount of time to the farm to participate in and learn about anything related to farming and agriculture. Ultimately, she wants students to understand that “You do not have to grow up on a farm to appreciate and learn from a farm.”