The Pomona College Organic Farm: it's a thing

By Stephanie Steinbrecher ‘16Staff Writer

Sustainability at the 5Cs is a major emphasis of the administrations and students alike. But non-Pomona students might not know that a hidden gem of environmental awareness sits at the southern end of Pomona College. The Pomona College Organic Farm is a space dedicated to plant life and student education about environmentally savvy lifestyles.

Managed by the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College, this 2.5 acre plot of land is sensible and cost-effective, as well as an ecological space for education and the tending of herb, vegetable, and fruit plants. “The Farm” which employs and is run by work-study students, serves as the backdrop for environment classes at Pomona, and welcomes volunteers and visitors through the Farm Club.

“The Farm is really about being a place for people to learn more than a place to grow food. We are here to teach people about farming and gardening, but also about getting in touch with the outdoors, the value of getting your hands dirty, and the benefits of manual labor,” said Adam Long PO ‘13, the head of Farm Club. “The Farm is what people make of it — it can be a place to come do some hard work, or a place to get away from campus life and just relax for a little while.”

The Farm is divided into two parts, each with their own goals. “The west side has many different kinds of fruit trees (limes, lemons, apples, peaches, figs, avocadoes, zapotes), an adobe structure called the Earth Dome, various perennial herbs and native shrubs, and plots that students and other 5C community members can check out for a semester,” said Farm Club member Jennifer Schmidt PO ‘14. “Much of the east side is used for the “Food, Land, and the Environment” class every spring (taught through the Environmental Analysis program), and also houses a greenhouse, more fruit trees, bees, and the compost program.”

Farm Club and Farm employees grow produce in the east side to sell every other Friday at the Farm Stand and the Shakedown Café at Pitzer College. In addition to providing an academic outlet and cultivating produce, the Farm also composts food waste from the Pomona dining halls.

Weekly workshops and work parties as well as Farm Stand are the most common events that the Farm puts on. Special events like the Harvest Party, held once a semester, and the recent Pesto Party provide additional opportunities for students to enjoy the Farm’s amenities. The Farm also invites students to stop by and enjoy the space, volunteer, and attend workshops on gardening.

The older, west side of the Farm was established ten years ago; since then, the Farm has grown to be a far-reaching resource for Pomona, the 5Cs, and the city of Claremont.

“The west side’s current projects include renovating the chicken coop so that we can purchase more chickens and starting to distill essential oils from herbs and citrus grown on the Farm,” said Schmidt.

If you’re interested in learning more about Farm Club or the Farm, visit: www.facebook.com/pomonafarm, email farm@pomona.edu, or stop by The Farm weekdays after 4:00pm.