Paul Quinn College can be found outside of Dallas and has recently made news for restructuring the higher education system. Where a football field once stood, there now lays a two acre organic farm. Located in a federally recognized food desert, the college aims to enhance local food security. The farm is maintained by student-employees who strive to make their community a better place through healthier eating habits, improved food access, and environmental stewardship.The student body manages all farm activities, including marketing and business planning, providing real-world, hands-on experience. With the yields, 55% is sold to restaurants, including the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Park, 25% is sold to residents, and 10% is donated to food pantries. This gives those living within a food desert access to the fresh fruits and vegetables they require.
So the question is, why haven’t more schools jumped on board? Though arguments can certainly be made about the cost-effectiveness about organic farming, little can be said to refute the environmental and health benefits of it. Similarly, emissions as a result of transportation of produce imported from non-local sources is a large contributor to global greenhouse gases. By having the produce grown locally, these emissions can be reduced significantly.
Perhaps the reason more young-adults don’t grow their own food is because they lack the knowledge of how to do so. By educating kids on the know-hows of gardening, from start to finish, more would do so. If there were a class offered at CU to participate in a community garden, I’m willing to bet it would be very popular among students. The yields could be given to restaurants around campus, donated to food banks, or taken home by the students. Regardless, a campus farm would enable the community to eat healthier, gain knowledge, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and allow for students to make a real difference.