GFP059: Starting a farm at your College

Starting a farm anywhere can be an uphill battle. The thing you have to focus is is that you are (hopefully) doing it with good intentions, and you have to want to live your passions. If you focus on those two things the rest will fall into place. If you want to start a farm at a College or University you may be in luck. We live in a time where more and more people are open to and interested in small scale sustainable agriculture. While it is nerve racking to just jump in and do it, sometimes that is what it takes. If you do decide to go rogue and start gardening in the Quad there's a few things you might want to keep in mind first. Let's start by asking these questions:

  • Are there other students on campus who might be interested in helping out?
  • What other schools have tried this and succeded/failed? Why?
  • How would a garden or farm benefit your school besides being self-serving to you?
  • Do you have the experience necessary to start a farm?
  • What other areas of the school might be able to build AG into their curriculum?
  • What branch of your school would adopt your farm?

Going ahead and starting a farm without permission (which we discuss in the podcast) is all well and good but you should have a plan going into it. When the farm arrests you for vandalism what are you going to say? Where is the food that you're going to grow headed after harvest? Sit down and think through every scenario and then nothing can take you by surprised.

Be warned: There will still be surprises. It will be amazing. You're parents may get pissed.

There is a lot of potential for good in the world, though sometimes you have to give people a visual and tangible example before they will believe it.

Some ideas for incorporating a farm into your school:

  • Science experiments
  • Supplemental class time
  • Traditional food gardens to supports multi-cultural organizations
  • Food for dining hall
  • Supporting area restaurants
  • Buzz-worthy for school marketing

Right click here to download the MP3

In this farm podcast you will learn:

  • How to start a farm at your College or University
  • What can happen when the faculty challenges the dreams of the community
  • How to build an adobe home
  • What my farm plan for 2015 is
  • How my many small scale operations makes up my one large scale operation

Interview with Nai de Gracia of Pamona College Farm

Nai grew up abroad and came to the US from Cairo for college in 2010. She was a student at Pomona College and graduated in 2014, starting as full time farm manager the summer after that. She majored in Biology and was involved with the farm all four years as a student employee and as a member of farm club. Interests include urban farming, the soil food web, composting tea, vermiculture and permaculture. She can be contacted at

Items mentioned in this farm podcast include:

Visual farm update:

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Take aways:

What would starting a farm do for you?

How do you think your family/friends/school/community respond to you starting a farm?

Farm quote of the episode:

"It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission." - Grace Hopper

Our proud sponsor:

The show must go on! That's the way that feels. FatCow is a website hosting company that supports farmers and the Growing Farms Podcast. For listeners of the show they offer a special price of $3.15 a month for a website and a ton of other good stuff. I have been a customer of theirs since 2009 and so far I couldn't be happier.

Don't have a website and don't know where to start? I created a 100% free tutorial walking you through building a website without writing any code. Click here for the tutorial.


Thanks for taking the time to listen in, and let me know what you think. You can leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, reach me on Facebook , or leave a 5 star rating in iTunes if you liked the show.