DARTMOUTH ORGANIC FARM
HISTORY OF THE O FARM
The Dartmouth Organic Farm came from an idea planted by students in the late 1980’s as part of a class project. Students in the 1990’s nourished the idea into a fledgling organic garden that brought in its first harvest in 1996. Since then, the O-Farm (as it is lovingly called by students) has grown into a hub for hands on learning at Dartmouth. It is home to an educational working garden, faculty and student research, independent projects, labs and classes, a stunning landscape that serves as a backdrop for social events of all kinds and an ecosystem that engages students in learning about sustainable food and energy systems.
Each year the farm grows more than 2000 pounds of diverse, fresh, tasty, organic produce including Farmer’s Market favorites -- summer squash, beans, tomatoes, kale, spinach, flowers, cabbage, broccoli -- and some unusual varieties -- Kohlrabi, cheese squash, ground cherries, tomatillos, and hot peppers!
So where does the food we grow go? We use what we call our “⅓, ⅓, ⅓ Growing Model”:
One third of the food we grow is used to generate revenue to support the program. Last season, this produce was mostly sold to the Dartmouth Dining Services Farm Stand in Collis and campus food truck called “The Box”.
One third of our produce is dedicated to serving our community. In the last few years, this has been through our “Farmacy” program, a new joint initiative with the Geisel School of Medicine, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Care Policy and Clinical Practice, Rethink Health, and the Claremont Soup Kitchen. The Farmacy provides fresh produce via a weekly CSA bag and cooking classes to families with diet related illnesses in Claremont, NH.
The last one third of our produce is used to feed “the hands that grow it” and to provide nourishment for the farm community in on-farm events. From weekly pizza oven dinners to cookouts, open houses, campfires, and crepe-making workshops, people are always eating at the farm!
Our goal is to insure that our produce has impact and creates meaningful hands-on experiences for students. This model has given the farm the flexibility to use food production as a teaching tool and to reach a wide range of audiences.
The Dartmouth Organic Farm hosts a PE class for students every spring, summer, and fall! If you want to earn PE credit working outside, learning about food systems, taking in the vistas of the Connecticut River, then Farm Fit is the PE class for you! Sign-ups are available through the Outdoor Programs Office PE during course election period.
Farm Club organizes educational, social, and volunteer opportunities at the Dartmouth Organic Farm. Farm Club meets Wednesdays from 4-5 pm in Hornig Library. All are welcome to join! Farm Club weekly workdays are Tuesday and Friday mornings (spring-fall) with rides leaving from behind Robo at 8am (back in time for 10As and 10s). Farm Club also hosts weekly farm stands outside Collis each Friday from 3:30-5 pm through mid-October. Use cash or DA$H to buy fresh produce, honey, maple syrup, and flowers fresh from the O-Farm!
The O-Farm is home to three bee hives supported by graduate and undergraduate student volunteers, including members of the Dartmouth Beekeeping Association. The bees support plant pollination in the field and produce delicious, golden honey that we harvest each fall in an open-to-all event! During the late spring and summer we conduct weekly hive checks to examine the growth & health of colonies and learn about bee communication, reproduction, honey & wax production, and the impacts of climate change on this important insect. Look out for hive check days on our calendar or email Sustainable.Dartmouth@dartmouth.edu if you want to be looped in on workshops and volunteer opportunities connected to bee management.
There has been a longstanding tradition of students making maple syrup from the sugar maple trees on the Dartmouth Organic Farm. At first, interested students tapped trees on an ad hoc basis as interest arose. Then, in 2005, students built a Sugar House and installed an evaporator to create a more permanent home for sugaring and to improve syrup production. In 2014, two students founded Sugar Crew, a spring break program during which students make maple syrup, connect with the maple sugaring community, and use sugaring to learn about business, land conservation, ecology, and history. The program, for 10-12 students, takes place each March. The group taps about 125 trees annually. The syrup is sold to students, faculty, and staff and used in farm programs and events.
HOST AN EVENT
The O-Farm is available for your next gathering! We require reservations to use the barn, grill, picnic pavilion, pizza oven, and camp fire pit. All Dartmouth-affiliated groups can use the reservation link below. If your event is not with a Dartmouth group, please send an inquiry email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: We will not be hosting any events throughout the winter,
but our calendar will reopen at the end of April! See you in the spring!