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Student Farm Discusses Future Expansion At Community Check-In Meeting

The Penn State Student Farm Club assessed its options for the future Tuesday evening by fostering collaboration among members, other students, and the community at its first community check-in meeting since 2016.

The gathering, held at the HUB’s Heritage Hall and split into two rounds of small-group discussions, was organized as an interactive effort to discuss future plans for the farm, including an expansion from its current location at the intersection of Big Hollow and Fox Hollow Roads.

Within the next few years, the organization hopes to nearly double the space from 1.34 acres to approximately 2.5 acres before undertaking further expansions.

“This is the first expansion,” Student Farm secretary Ahmed Almahrooqi said. “We were told whenever you plan for expansion always plan for more because you don’t want to limit yourself. We hope [to expand more than once].”

Penn State approved the Student Farm’s current plot of land in 2016, with the intention that it would relocate and expand after a three-year period. The farm will now move to the Sustainability Experience Center on the east edge of campus, which is home to Penn State’s community garden and other research projects. The club is still fleshing out exact details, like specific location and timing of the move.

Participants brainstormed suggestions for topics they felt the organization should address as it moves forward with the plan, including food equity and accessibility, youth education, and increase in production.

After a brief break with refreshments made from the farm’s produce, participants were invited to place stickers on the brainstorm sheets next to the ideas they most wanted facilitators to discuss next.

The participation was encouraging for club programming director Katie Leite, who’s looking forward to the farm’s expansion.

“I’m very optimistic for the expansion. I think a lot of it even so just comes from seeing how engaged people are, how interested they are in the farm moving forward and what they want to get out of it,” she said. “A lot of what I care most about is just the fact that people are actually interested and want to be involved and engaged. By having those people interested, we are more able to make things happen and to actually feasibly move forward with an expansion.”

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