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Miller Farm Sustainable Agriculture Program

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Miller Farm is a cross cultural and engaging community with a focus in sustainable agriculture. Earlham College has a long history of using with agriculture as a means of experiential education and of sustainable learning for students. Miller Farm was relocated in Fall 2014, adjacent to the Suzanne Hoerner Equestrian Center. Since that time, students and staff have strengthened community engagement and widened their knowledge of sustainable agriculture. Various projects that the community has taken on include: the high tunnel, rain water recycling and many other tasks.

New Farm Director

Fall 2017 Miller Farm Student Staff

  • Maya Panicker ('20)
  • Eva Wetzel ('21)
  • Libby Fox ('21)
  • Ana Sosa-Ebert ('21)

High Tunnel

The high tunnel greenhouse is one of the latest additions to Miller Farm. With funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Earlham was given the opportunity to construct our own high tunnel right on the farm. Visit the Miller Farm website for information on what a high tunnel is and how it is beneficial for sustainable farming.

Soil Building

Moving toward four season harvests, Miller Farm students created raised beds built with repurposed materials. These beds are built with soil from layers of compost and organic matter, and harvest rainwater captured from the high tunnel itself.

The Farm has been experimenting with cover cropping to make the Canadian Thistle’s job of loosening the soil obsolete. Canadian Thistle thrives in compact soil where our chosen crops can’t. The creation of loose soil tilth is one strategy we employ to nurture the soil structure and chemistry toward a vibrant healthy living medium that will reward Miller Farm with vibrant edibles.

Every Saturday, Miller Farm House residents host Farm Day, a community workday and meal that is open to the Earlham and Richmond communities. To keep up-to-date with Farm Days, follow Miller Farm on any of its social media platforms provided in the related links.

The land allotted to the community has been thriving, with people from the neighborhood and organizations from the area, such as Amigos, growing a variety of crops in the garden.

Joseph Moore Museum hosts a summer camp that introduces elementary to middle school kids with ideas of sustainability and agriculture. The children have the opportunity to plant various crops in the garden, take care of them and watch them grow.

Miller Farm and local summer camp JUKO (Just Us Kids Outdoors) work together during the summer to engage kids from around Richmond with all sorts of fun outdoor activities.

The city of Richmond generously delivers leaves and wood chips right to our backyard. Miller Farm uses that city waste for building soil tilth and altering soil chemistry for our perennial gardens.

Earlham offers many ways for the student body to become engaged and active participants of Miller Farm:

Sustainable Agriculture and Practicum (INTD 121) is a one-credit course offering that takes place on the Miller Farm. “The main focus of this course is to be an experiential practicum in sustainable agriculture. The course generally utilizes the 'natural cycles' educational model often used in the Outdoor Education program to foster learning and discovery about the variety of processes and skills needed in the operation of a small-scale farm.”

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry Courtney Scerbak’s Biology class, The Fountain of Youth: Diet, Genes and Aging, has utilized the farm as part of it curriculum. The focus of the course is local foods sources, where food comes from, and how cultures engage with food.

Environment, Society & Sustainability is a course taught by Jamey Pavey, director of the Environmental Leadership Program, which focuses on food systems and sustainability. The farm provides a tour of our facilities and host a discussion about our practices as compared to those the students have been studying. 

Associate Professor of Geology Cynthia Fadem teaches Soils & Sustainable Agriculture which “explores the awesome complexity of soils from molecular to landscape-scale and examines the particular problems soils pose to human-landscape interaction.” The class came out to the farm this semester with pick axes and shovels to take soil samples from the buckwheat cover crop patch and compared it to an area that has been covered in hay for years. Miller Farm students have yet to see the results of the experiment and are curious to see what the class discovered.

 


Check out these articles from the Earlham student newspaper on farming at Earlham over the years:

From January, 1975:

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From May, 1988:

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Miller Farm
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