LaFarm, the College's two-acre cultivated plot located three miles from campus in Forks Township, is the hub for food and farm, a living laboratory that educates the whole student. More than 15,000 pounds of produce was harvested in 2020.
Josh Parr, the Manager of Food and Farm, manages the farm, oversees student interns and helps faculty and students develop research opportunities about sustainable agriculture. The farm’s website provides an overview of the range of activities at LaFarm, from community garden details to events and practices at the farm. Additionally, Parr, better known as the college farmer, and a crew of research students, interns, and volunteers maintain a blog detailing more of the day-to-day operations and achievements of the project.
LaFarm is one component in the Sustainable Food Loop, or SFL, the central organizing principle for activity at Lafayette College aimed at pursuing sustainable food and farming practices. The SFL connects organic waste from Dining Services with the campus’ composting facilities. The compost is then used as fertilizer at LaFarm and on campus grounds. Tomatoes, squash, peppers and other produce harvested from LaFarm is delivered to the dining halls and served via campus dining. It is also sold on campus during the summer, creating an educational, small-scale farmers’ market experience. Students, faculty, and staff work together to maintain this loop and use it as a vibrant, continuous subject of research, teaching, and community engagement.
The Veggie Van Project, that began as an interdisciplinary student initiative of Technology Clinic delivering vegetables from various community farms (including LaFarm) to underserved populations, has morphed into something much larger. Referred to more broadly as Veggies in the Community (ViC). The ViC project, in collaboration with the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership, is operated with the help of three Lafayette EXCEL student researchers and supported by a range of community partners. ViC also provides opportunities for student leadership through Community Based Learning and Service.
The Kellyn Foundation is a Bethlehem-based, non-profit organization. Their team focuses on supporting, facilitating and implementing programs that promote healthy habits. In the past, LaFarm has donated a significant share of produce to Kellyn Foundation, making fruits and vegetables more accessible in the Lehigh Valley area.