Hampshire Farm Planning Process:
Open House, November 15, 2014
Facilitated by David Grant
I. Paragraphs from the November 2017 Vision exercise:
Participants were asked to visualize future headlines that report on a fully-realized Hampshire College Farm:
1. Cover of Science and/or NYTimes Magazine and/or online versions.
Headline: Farming More than Just Food.
Text: A small number of progressive colleges are re-thinking their approach to education, investing in sustainable agriculture and other low-cost technologies, in a move towards lower carbon emissions and increased student enrollment. By implementing sustainable technologies that often double as effective learning tools, while simultaneously divesting from fossil fuels and other socially vilified companies, these schools are preparing a new workforce of students raised in an environment of entrepreneurship and global responsibility. At the forefront of the change is Hampshire College, a small, liberal arts school in western Massachusetts, where research in low-tech, low-cost sustainable solutions is a fundamental component of their uniquely liberal approach to higher education. Through collaborations in crop and livestock production, green energy technologies, and student-run enterprises like a community garden and meat CSA, faculty and students are able to …
2. Cover of NYTimes Magazine: Hampshire College Farm is Hub for Food, Community, and Education.
Text: Hampshire College Farm Center provides model for sustainable food production, community engagement, meaningful student research, and innovative teaching
3. Cover of The New York Times, November 15, 2017. Headline: To Sow Is Not Enough.
Text: On a cold November morning, as squealing inner-city elementary students and their Hampshire College student mentors look on, several heritage breed [pigs recycle spent cabbage and broccoli plants into bacon and pork chops. Once again ahead of the curve, Hampshire College is a leader in the integrated use of land and animals as one element of an education committed to social justice and the pursuit of multi-disciplinary solutions to environmental problems.
4. Cover of NYTimes Magazine: Sustainable Food – Produced Right Here
Text: Hampshire: 1st College to feed itself. A college where all members’ interests are represented (vegans, omnivores, vegetarians). Hampshire is a diverse community full of different lifestyles and ethics. A farm that conbined humane agricultural practices with a designated sanctuary (for animals that have been rescued and/or have the right and freedom to finish their lives peacefully without slaughter as their final end) would fulfill the integration needed for the Hampshire community.
5. Cover of The New Yorker: (with cornucopia) Small New England College finds integrative solution to climate change, food security, cultural ignorance, and spiritual malaise
6. Cover of High Circulation Magazine (if there are any magazines in 2017):
picture of a wheel of cheese. Headline: Hampshire College: Reinventing the Wheel and Liberal Arts Education
7. Cover of Colorlines – or the NYTimes Magazine – or Bon Appetit. Headline: Abundance. How are you commected to the Farm?
Question: could the same story appear in all three? What would the story have to be about to get the attention of Colorlines?
II. Responses to Mission Language exercise:
Participants were asked to draft mission language on blank pieces of paper. These are the responses:
- to foster experience and experimentation of the biological, cultural, and economic issues in the ways the world produces, distributes and consumes food.
- to support the community in constructing ethical relations within academia and beyond
- to support, sustain, and ethically educate students and the community, nutritionally, academically, and emotionally
- to grow food and teach about ethical food production
- to raise the bar for the standards and opportunities of farm labor and food sefvice work, which are traditionally disempowered positions; to support the livelihoods of all stakeholders through experiential learning and research opportunities; to provide fair access to non-violent and nourishing food for ALL students, faculty and staff
- to provide education, experience, sustenance, self-governance, and community
- to provide a physical setting for students to explore creative experimentation, fostering intellectual and creative pursuits while feeding our community
- to grow food, awareness, skills, justice, and community
- to create a community of learning committee to the just use of land resources and access to good food
- to provide a unique space for non-hierarchical, experimental learning that connects science to ethics, politics, history and aesthetics
- to create, sustain and innovate ethical food production to educate students and uplift society
- to be an educational resource for exploring system loops in natural resources
- to tackle class disparities, white privilege, and racial boundaries
- to provide experiential education about food, land, social justice, and building inclusive communities
- to be an invaluable academic resource that supports and enriches Hampshire’s curriculum and its vision of education as inquiry
- to be part of an undergraduate educational institution that serves academic and research needs. Period. The farm is our lab space. It must serve faculty and student academic needs as priority, the same way the dance studio does for dance faculty and classes.
- to serve the educational and research goals of faculty and students; OR be a living laboratory for research and teaching
- to provide food and education for the Hampshire community
- to educate for food justice, community engagement and sustainable food systems
- to translate the values and purposes of liberal edccuation into ethical global citizenship through small-scale farming
- to support, combine and develop local and sustainable agriculture and production with community and education
Key words for the mission:
- education, sustainability, social responsibility, agro-ecology, local and global thinking
- independent inquiry; social justice; agricultural sciences; effective resource management
- land stewardship (ethical); collective (non-hierarchical; theory-practice-action; social justice model for campus and local community; observation; improvisation; daily practice; active participation; inspiration; vital component of our ecosystem
- educational; inspirational; collaborative; stewardship; sustainable (food, environment); community; “living classroom”
- student involvement; faculty involvement; funding/budget/resources; employment; communication; community involvement; community and general say/spread of information
III. Responses to question about Governance:
Participants were asked to write their idea of a functioning governance for the farm.
- For now, I prefer to see the farm governed by the President’s office. Once the farm is “safe,” then it may be beneficial to move it under an academic department.
- We need a Farm Policy Committee again open to all schools but self-selected with help of deans. It rules on broad farm policy. (And now we have a FFS advisory committee and a strategic planning committee. Why both? What rules?)
- A community board of voting members comprised of: one faculty rep from each discipline and equal number of voting students, al voting, non-binding, on issues and reporting to Beth, Nancy, Pete, Larry Archey, any other relevant staff.
- More students in committee; more variety of professors on committee, not just NS, also CSI, etc; more student involvement, student input, primarily.
- It should have its own governance, on the same level as NS, etc (like an academic school); oh my god, include students, and as many voices as possible
- policy focused; representatives from faculty, students, farm workers, student dining services workers, dining services staff, and producer/distributer stakeholders; policies drafted and edited by collection of student groups, classes, and dining services staff
- It should stay in the President’s office because it is important to all aspects of the college including academics and community and student life. We are not just an academic or a student life program
- I don’t know enough about the administration or hierarchy of the college to give a concrete recommendation of where the farm should live. But if the farm is going to be important to all kinds of people in this community, there needs to be open and well-attended governance meetings, albeit with some structure and point people.
- Farm should be a Dean of Faculty report but needs its own budget (like the Library). It needs a cross-school advisory committee, even if NS continues to be its central support/oversight.
- Director of sustainability or Dean of NS.
- Keep in President’s office, have advisory/governance committee that consists of farm staff, faculty, students who want to be invested. Q: how to make it accessible as possible, anti-racist?
- A small group of staff, faculty and students, co-reporting, ultimately to Dean of Faculty and Director of FFS.
- Dean of Faculty, like a program office. How does dance, theatre, etc. do this? Return focus to academics. Support for research, teaching.
- An advisory board could continue to gather through its representation access to the decision-making and direction of the farm. FFS should be its own program, independently from the President’s office and not under a school, although there will be numerous intersections: farm, Bon Appetit, Healthy Food Transition
- Management is FFS and Farm team (Nancy, Pete). Create a Farm “Senate,” student workers form union/student group as intermediary between student body/farm staff, that brings more student focus and action to the farm.
- Farm as educational/academic resource? President’s office! Large community involvement with the farm is important.
- Farm Policy Committee: faculty, staff, students. Most important! Sets direction, goals, objectives for the Farm Center. 2. Director of FFS, does grant-writing, farm management; is informed by and consults with FPC; implements farm policy based on input from FPC. 3. Dean of Faculty. 4. President.
- Committee of faculty, staff, students and community representatives. Where does FFS live? Does the farm go with FFS? Where does Lemelson live? I think Hampshire needs to assess how important community engagement is to the mission of the Hampshire Farm Center.
- Farmers need to be able to make farming decisions. Not every decision should include everyone; farmers are experts. Being under President seems pretty nice – Litmus test for future Presidents? Might be good.
- Keep in President’s office for now because of leadership and financial resources flow from JLash’s passion for this work. BUT plan for succession to other form/type/place of governance before JLash leaves. (Look at what other liberal arts colleges with farms are doing in terms of governance.)
- Participatory democracy, one that matches the values, skills, methods key to farming/growing practices: observation, improvisation, active participation, daily practice, seasonal and long-term, and that engages our values around community equity and justice and that we are stewards of the land. Collective process – governance separate from funding. A rotating committee from whole campus, stand alone and includes community members. Truly represent constituencies, and farmers have
- I don’t think I know enough. Community and education are important. I really want to bring it into campus more. I like the idea of window boxes and small gardens (like victory gardens) throughout campus. This could make it a bigger part of campus and build smaller communities (in individual small gardens) and the larger farm/student community. I want it to live more deeply within the whole student body, although I realize that’s not an answer to the question of governance.