The air is still cold, and the sun is starting to creep through the trees off the Lake Street bike path. It’s 8 A.M., and my eyes are still barely open, with the urge to turn around and go back to bed. I would do anything to make my walk to Bioengineering as short as possible. Then I noticed a dirt trail diagonal to the bike path I usually take.
The plants along the path were tagged so I figured it must be for a class. As I walked something caught my eye. It was an old wooden bench with leaves and flowers growing around it. With knowledge that if I took a closer look I would be late to class, I also knew if I didn’t see what was hidden behind the bench I would be daydreaming during class about what it could be.
I slid through a bush and came around the other side to find a little bit of life. The beautiful shaded benches circled a koi pond with colorful fish and bright green lily pads. I took a second to watch the fish take in the creeping sun and enjoy their morning bite of algae and then kept on my way to class.
This little farm started making my mornings more of an adventure than a dreadful walk to campus. Every day I would find something new. Next it was a wooden veranda with a bench bordering the inside. Then it was a metal structure with a sign in front reading “Student Sustainable Farm.”
The farm has been in operation on Lake Street since 1997. The organization’s mission is to “provide an inclusive student organization that is dedicated to bringing innovative and fun agricultural projects to CSU students; enriching their academic experience and connecting them to the greater Fort Collins community,” as stated on their Facebook page.
This third-acre plot of land provides the community with inexpensive local produce and what I believe to be a great sight. I always find the little things in life to make the biggest impacts. This farm impacts the volunteers by teaching them discipline and gardening skills, the community-grown product impacts the consumers, and the land impacts the community by the life the farm brings to campus.
As thanks to the volunteers for keeping the farm up and to the community for their support, the farm donates fresh food to the Larimer county food bank. Last year alone 2,000 pounds of fresh vegetables was donated.
The students who help grow this farm come from the CSU Organic Agriculture Program or the Department of Horticulture or the Landscape Architecture Program. These students have no social responsibility to donate the crops they grow or to share it with the public in any way, but their pride and love for the accomplishment of their hard work makes them want to share.
For almost 18 years now this project has been located off Lake Street, but sadly its time has come to an end. Due to the building of the new football stadium, the farm will be moving to the new Horticulture Center and Greenhouses on Center Avenue.
As much as I will miss my morning walks through the breathtaking farm, I look forward to seeing what impact they will make on this campus at their new locations.