|Colorado College Farm|
Over the past century, industrial agriculture has become the dominant means of food and fiber production for our country. Industrial agriculture has consolidated dynamic agrarian communities into large-scale, monoculture farms. While this may seem economically efficient, industrial agriculture threatens local farming economies, land fertility, environmental health, and the future of our agricultural systems.
In response to the threat posed by corporate farming, a global movement to preserve, maintain, and create alternative agricultural methods has emerged. Sustainable agriculture is an ideology that encompasses the health of the land and its biological systems, as well as social and economic equity for farmers and their communities. It emphasizes the use of renewable resources, minimum off-farm inputs, water and soil management, as well as natural pest and disease control. Sustainable agriculture supports a strong relationship to local markets, where farmers supply their region with the majority of its food needs. This increases profitability for the farmers and enhances the connection between people and the food that they eat, while promoting stable local economies.
Crafting such a sustainable system of agriculture is one of the most complex and intellectually challenging issues facing our generation. As a distinguished liberal arts school, Colorado College is poised to meet this challenge. The CC Farm will serve as a focal point for interdisciplinary learning and problem solving, drawing together students and faculty from a wide range of academic disciplines. The establishment of this living laboratory will provide an invaluable resource for all academic departments. By working with the historic Venetucci farm, local farmers and the PPCF, the CC Farm will connect Colorado College to the larger community.
One of the seven Core Values of Colorado College states, “nurture a sense of place and an ethic of environmental sustainability.” The CC Farm will meet this need by giving students the opportunity to directly connect with southwestern landscape and community through the practice of sustainable agriculture. Physical labor and intellectual pursuit will help students to develop a profound sense of place. In his poem “Standing Ground,” Wendell Berry writes, “better than any argument is to rise at dawn/ and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.” The CC Farm will offer such a “standing ground” – a place to put education to use, build community, and ultimately, practice the quiet activism of growing and harvesting one’s own food.
In her essay, Globalization and Industrial Agriculture, Debi Barker states, “how we grow our food and maintain our food systems determines the dignity, fundamental rights, and survival of the planet and all of us who inhabit it.” It is our responsibility to promote the stewardship of the land and its resources, as well as a stable food system on which we can depend.