The Farm, located in the Knobs along the edge of the Bluegrass Region, borders Berea College’s campus and the City of Berea. It consists of pastures, cropland, woodlots, and ponds. Much of the cropland is USDA certified organic and the Farm maintains animal-welfare certifications on several of the livestock enterprises.
Our Students Learn to Work
The Berea College Farm offers students practical work and management experience through the Labor Program. Many Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) majors and students from other majors handle the daily farming operations throughout the year, with College Farm staff and ANR faculty providing supervision and support. In their first year, all students gain experience in each enterprise, including field crops, maintenance, cattle, hogs, poultry and pasture management. Students will also gain experience with equipment use, the feed mill, and general farm upkeep. After learning the basics, students employed at the Farm have the opportunity to focus on their area of interest by serving on a management team or becoming the student manager of an enterprise. They may also serve as the Student Farm Manager as they gain experience. This role entails making management decisions, coordinating activities and tasks, and leading other student workers.
Students on the horticulture farm learn all aspects of organic production: plant care and management, food safety guidelines, packaging and labeling orders, record keeping, equipment use, fruit and vegetable production, seed production and farm maintenance. After gaining the enterprise’s basic skills and knowledge, students may choose to move into a management role as a Student Farm Manager.
A Living Lab
The Farm is also an essential educational resource that complements and reinforces in-class academic learning by serving as the primary laboratory for many of the ANR Department’s courses. To be utilized in this role, the College Farm must be a model of sustainable agriculture. This is broadly defined as being ecologically sound (resourceful and holistic), socially acceptable (safe, fair, and just), economically viable (financially solvent and potentially profitable), and humane (ethical and caring). Students enrolled in ANR courses may gain experience in farm planning, farm management, enterprise budgeting, safe handling procedures for livestock, livestock management and care, and more. Students participating in farm activities demonstrate and develop stewardship, leadership, cooperation, teamwork, and safe and ethical work habits to advance the whole-farm system.
The Horticulture Farm also provides a rich learning environment complementing and reinforcing courses within the ANR curriculum. Courses such as Horticulture, Introduction to Agriculture, and Soil Science utilize the Farm for class projects such as installing high tunnels or research on using beneficial insects for pest control. By offering instructional tours, the Farm serves as an educational resource to other departments on campus. The Farm also provides tours to local and regional schools throughout the year. The Horticulture Farm upholds the College’s commitment to service by giving these tours and partnering with other organizations (OAK and The KY Horticulture Council, to name a few) to provide educational experiences to the public.