Sustainability at the Farm
The Hampshire College Farm, like the rest of the College, has worked hard on its sustainability efforts. From our solar tracker to our methods of crop production, we strive to ensure a safe, environmentally sound, and equitable future for generations to come.
- As part of Hampshire College's commitment to 100% solar power, the farm's solar tracker, a large solar panel that follows the sun across the sky, in combination with solar panels on our CSA barn, provides 137% of the farm's electricity needs.
- The farm has three solar-powered vehicles: two 1950s Allis-Chalmers G tractors, which were converted from gasoline to battery power, and our "CoolBot" trailer, which is a mobile, solar-powered refrigeration unit used to keep our veggies cool after harvest.
- Our crops are organically produced (though not certified). This means we do not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides other than what is allowed under organic practices; we utilize crop rotation to keep the soil healthy and reduce the buildup of pathogens and pests; we grow green manures for mulch and soil amendment purposes; we apply compost to improve soil health; we plant organic seeds; and we cultivate weeds mechanically (meaning that weeds are removed by hand, hoe, or tractor rather than by chemicals).
- To help sustain genetic diversity in our livestock production we raise heritage breeds; our animals are also pasture-raised, well cared for, and humanely slaughtered in local facilities designed and approved by well-known animal behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin.
- In support of Hampshire College's goal to increase local food consumption, the food we raise is delivered directly to the campus dining hall (which serves 40% local food during the harvest season), to our veggie and meat CSA shareholders, and to on-campus retail outlets such as the Kern Kafe and the HampStore.
- To increase the amount of local food available during the winter, we store certain crops such as carrots and beets in our naturally-cooled root cellar.
- Our on-campus deliveries utilize reusable containers, which eliminates unnecessary waste.
- We support locally-owned businesses, including local farmers' supply and repair shops, compost suppliers, and other service providers. Our primary seed suppliers are based in New England; additionally, where practical, we save some of our own seeds, such as garlic, popcorn, and heirloom tomatoes.
- Our Hampshire College maple syrup, honey, and eggs are produced right here on campus, as well as our special heritage breed of popcorn known as Mr. Warner's Red Popcorn.
- We support social sustainability through on-going student engagement opportunities, academic classes and research, and community events such as the annual Fall Festival, movies on the barn, and hosting the Farm and Garden Camp for local children in the summer. We strive to provide an environment that is safe and welcoming to all.
Want to know more? Explore our website, Instagram, or Facebook page, send us an email, or come visit any time during daylight hours.