Archive for April, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: The Connection between Hydrofracking and Climate Change

April 10th, 2013

Sustainable Spring Break: Student Service at Lynchburg Grows

This spring break, eleven William & Mary students spent a week getting their hands dirty at Lynchburg Grows, an urban sustainable farm in Lynchburg, Virginia. The trip was run through the Branch Out National Alternative Breaks Program, and gave students a chance to explore the concepts and practice of sustainable agriculture while giving back to the community.


Lynchburg Grows was founded in 2003. In addition to sustainable agriculture, the organization prioritizes community involvement, especially for those with special needs. Trip leader Aidan De Sena says the farm is working on “being more of a community center, and incorporating people with disabilities.” The farm gives back to the community by providing to restaurants in the area and to the local school system. They are planning to institute a food mobile, a refrigerated van to bring food to food desert areas. They also offer prices that are marked down for people who can’t afford their regular CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) prices. One day they hope to have their own farmer’s market, said De Sena.

Throughout the week, the William & Mary students spent much of their time on tasks that the farm wouldn’t have the chance to do otherwise. “There was a lot of physical labor,” said trip member Miranda Clarke. Students worked on infrastructure in the farm’s greenhouses, put in an irrigation line, dug a trench for a water pipe, and built a gravel bed for strawberries to help prevent weeds from growing. They also worked to clear brush from rose bushes, planted lettuce medleys, and helped with food packaging.


The students learned more about sustainable agriculture in general through discussions on food insecurity, access to nutritious food, and composting. Said De Sena, the trip was a great introduction to sustainable agriculture, something he’s been really interested in and was glad to have the chance to learn more about. “One thing that they’re working on is making eco-agro systems,” De Sena said, or making a greenhouse “more like an ecosystem so it can almost function on its own.” An example of an eco-agro system, De Sena shared, would be using wildflowers to promote ladybug populations that control aphids, which are harmful to crops. “It’s good to see how creative you can be when you’re trying to do things sustainably,” De Sena said.

Community farms like Lynchburg Grows provide an alternative to industrial agriculture. “We also talked about how these sort of community gardens are never going to take over and substitute all industrial agriculture, but if each community had their own, industrial farming could be limited to exports,” said De Sena. However, without government support, “it will be difficult for sustainable agriculture to be economically sustainable,” De Sena said.


The students from the trip are interested in continuing their own involvement in sustainable agriculture. Clarke said they discussed getting more involved with gardening as a group. De Sena also shared opportunities with student organizations including RealFood Williamsburg, FORKS, and the Student Environmental Action Coalition’s gardening campaign with the team. For herself, Clarke is making an effort to eat more sustainably.

Lynchburg Grows is always looking for volunteers and donations. To learn more about the organization and how you can get involved, visit their website at

-Sharon Hartzell
Photo credits: Aidan De Sena

April 5th, 2013

Students strive to bring “Truck Farm” to campus

Two William & Mary students are striving to bring a mobile farm to our campus. The truck farm, say sophomores Jes Carr and Nicole Broder, will “ignite curiosity not only in students at William & Mary, but also in students at surrounding elementary, middle, and high schools, about where their food really comes from.”

Some more facts about the Truck Farm:

It will…

Be the first Truck Farm on a college campus!
Provide educational outreach to students of all ages regarding sustainable agriculture and gardening practices.
Partner with professors and local teachers to bring hands on learning to the classroom.
As a visible fixture in the community, spark individual and communal curiosity and discussion about America’s farming practices and the benefits of local eating.
Allow students collaborative opportunities to further their research in clean energy through working to convert the truck’s engine to run on waste vegetable oil.
Inspire the creative thinking necessary to tackle America’s current problems regarding food production and clean energy.
Further advocate for innovation and ingenuity in the growing urban agriculture movement.

For more information, or to support this initiative, visit

April 4th, 2013


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