URBANA, Ill. – The University of Illinois Sustainable Student Farm (SSF) and Woody Perennial Polyculture (WPP) project will host an open house on Friday, Sept.16, from 3 to 6 p.m. at their site just south of the main Urbana campus.
The SSF serves as a production farm to provide U of I residence halls with locally grown, low-input sustainable food. In addition, the farm acts as a living laboratory to connect students, community members, and the state at large with regional, small-scale food systems.
The WPP project, located near the SSF, is the first large-scale, university-funded research site studying a savanna-based agroecosystem. Founded in 2012, the WPP site hopes to lay the foundation for a scientific understanding of the potential agricultural and ecological benefits of woody polyculture systems.
During the open house, U of I Dining Services will be serving delicious and free food and drink prepared from SSF produce. The SSF, the WPP, and the U of I Community Garden Plots will be giving tours throughout the afternoon.
Also included in the open house:
- The Fresh Press will be on hand for information about its new fiber garden and possible demonstrations.
- The U of I Architecture Department will be talking about farm stand display pieces and a washing/packing/shed complex members of the department built for the SSF.
- The Student Sustainability Committee, along with other affiliated groups will be on hand with information about projects happening on campus.
- College of ACES researchers will give presentations on current projects at the SSF and WPP.
Currently the SSF operates between 45 to 48 weeks per year, occupying 6 acres for outdoor field production and nearly 10,000 square feet of year-round high tunnel production. In addition to selling the majority of its produce to the residence halls, it also markets its produce directly to consumers on the U of I quad each Thursday from May to November.
The Sustainable Student Farm was created through a grant from the Student Sustainability Committee and is made possible by the continued support of the University of Illinois Dining Services, the Department of Crop Sciences, and the Student Sustainability Committee.
The farms are located at Lincoln Avenue and Windsor Road, just south of the main U of I campus in Urbana.