First Terp Farm Fall Harvest Festival Draws Crowds, Creates Conversation
Judging from the 500+ guests who visited the Upper Marlboro agricultural research facility for the inaugural Terp Farm Fall Harvest Festival October 9th, agriculture in general and sustainable farming in particular are topics University of Maryland community members are craving to learn more about.
“This is huge,” Jacyln Fiola, plant science and environmental science and technology double major concentrating in soil and watershed science, remarked. “I did not expect this many people to be interested in farming.”
The festival was organized to introduce the university community to Terp Farm – a collaborative project between the Department of Dining Services, the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and the Office of Sustainability. Shuttle buses provided by the Department of Transportation Services departed every half hour from the Adele H. Stamp Student Union to bring students to the festival. The event proved so successful, volunteers had to call for additional buses to take students home after the 2-5 p.m. event concluded.
“Terp Farm is a tremendous opportunity for students to get involved with what they are eating and where it’s being grown, especially for the those that eat in campus dining halls,” Karyn Owens, senior plant science major, explained. “We are really glad to have all the students out here today and it’s a great chance for them to see what they are eating in the south campus dining hall and 251 North.”
The Fall Harvest Festival was educational for students within the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources as well as outside of it.
“I am in a fruit and vegetable technology class so we come out here every week and harvest vegetables,” junior soil science major, Kristi Persing, said. “As a soil science major you don’t have to take many plant science classes, so it is really cool to see the other side of things.”
The festival included live entertainment from student indie-folk band Hayley Fahey and Numbering Sundays, pumpkin painting, cornhole, free food from the Green Tidings mobile food truck and guided tours of the fields and high tunnels where Terp Farm is growing vegetables to be served in campus dining halls.
“It was amazing because during the tours people were asking ‘What is this? What is that vegetable growing?’” Owens continued. “It’s really about connecting what they are seeing on the farm to what they are eating on campus.”
Terp Farm is located on roughly two acres of the Central Maryland Research and Education Center’s Upper Marlboro facility, which spans 202 acres total. Students who attended the fall harvest festival not only learned a great deal about the Terp Farm project, but the College of AGNR’s impact around the state as well.
“I love that Maryland has this kind of facility out here because you would never expect Maryland to have all this acreage out in Prince George’s County,” commented Dana Hollister, a senior studio art major.
“I eat at the Green Tidings food truck almost every day and it is so cool to be able to come and see where that food is grown,” senior economics major, Kiese Hansen, said. “Things like Terp Farm and Green Tidings all contribute to that green effort, so it’s really great to come out and see where my food is coming from because eating local food is so important.”
“It’s really cool that this is just half an hour away from College Park and it’s so out in the country.” Jori Borelaski, second year graduate student, added. “It’s really nice to get away from all the traffic and business that is College Park.”
Following the festival’s success, Owens concluded, “Hopefully we can get more students engaged by coming out here, volunteering or taking a class to see what we are doing on the farm and where their food is coming from.”
Check out the Terp Farm Fall Harvest Festival photo gallery for more photos from the event!