This summer was another productive season for the Monmouth College Educational Garden and Farm.
For those not in the know, on Broadway, there is a large garden owned by the college on the lot next to Founder’s Village. A little further off campus, on 11th Street, is the four-acre Educational Farm. Every summer, a few students are selected to spend the summer tending to the Educational Garden and Farm.
Eric Engstrom, co-director of the farm and professor in the Biology department, said one major accomplishment this summer was training the summer workers to be able to harvest honey independently. In years past, the only person with expertise in working with bees was professor Craig Vivian, who was usually busy with other engagements. For the first time, student workers are able to harvest honey and tend to the bees without Vivian’s oversight.
Another accomplishment was the growth of the farm’s chicken flock, which now includes over 20 hens and one rooster. A few faculty members were able to receive an egg subscription, which means they receive a dozen fresh eggs from the hens every week. As the flock increases over the coming years, the number of eggs the chickens produce will surely increase as well.
One of the farm’s major crops is asparagus. Community members purchased all the available asparagus at the farmer’s market every week during the summer. So this summer, the interns planted a lot more asparagus into the bed, under the guidance of a volunteer community member. This means that, in a few years, there will be a lot more asparagus to go around.
The biggest thing that Engstrom believes this summer’s interns will gain from their experience is: education. More often than in the past, Engstrom took time to explain how different plants interact with the soil and why the crew spends time doing what it does
Agro-ecological education does not only happen during the summer. If sustainable farming is something you are interested in learning more about, there is work to be done every Saturday morning at the garden on Broadway. If you have any questions, feel free to email Eric Engstrom or simply show up at the garden a few minutes before 8 am on any Saturday.
Jacob Duncan – Staff Writer