The Duke Campus Farm uses sustainable methods to grow produce while providing a living, learning laboratory to students, faculty, and staff. The farm aims to encourage positive change in the ways the Duke community and the community outside of Duke interact with the larger food system, and to provide opportunities to gain valuable agricultural skills. The farm was founded in the fall of 2010, and since then it has blossomed from a small student project to a working farm, which produces thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables yearly.
College: Duke University
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Size: 1 acre (approximately 43,560 square feet)
Sales and Distribution: Most of the produce from the Duke Campus Farm is sold directly to the dining services team at Duke. In addition to delivering food to chefs on campus, the farm has created a CSA for members of the Duke and Durham communities during the summer season.
Management Structure: The farm is managed by a full time farm manager and assistant manager, and advised by a group of faculty, staff, and community members with an active interest in food systems education. Student volunteers also supply the power behind the productive farm.
Unique Features: The Duke Campus Farm managers find tons of fun and innovative ways to engage the entire campus, including contra dancing parties, mycology workshops, workdays for first-years to kick-off the orientation process, and a very successful skill-building series of workshops called “Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse”, which included a course on the ins and outs of poultry production. The farm managers also organize events highlighting noteworthy speakers, like the small-farmer Jean Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener to broaden and contextualize student learning.
The Duke Campus Farm works with classes across disciplines at Duke, and managers play a role as core collaborators in courses like “The Environment in Literature, Law, and Science” and “Global Food Systems”. This interdisciplinary focus gives hundreds of students the opportunity to learn while growing their own food, and encourages critical conversations about the food system. The 2015 Annual Report and Five Year Strategic Plan provide more information. Notably, the high-tunnels at Duke supply an opportunity for year-round learning at this North Carolina farm.