Since 2012, the Kenyon Farm has engaged students in the practices of responsible food production, sustainable food systems and experiential learning. As the farm enters its second decade, and as the College searches for a new farm manager, we are seeking to expand the learning opportunities at the farm and make them available to more students.
One way to do this is to make the most of the educational space we have. Starting in the 2022-2023 academic year, the farmhouse will be used to support the broader goals and activities of the farm and will no longer be dedicated to housing four to six students a year. We see this as an opportunity for the farm, like Kenyon’s other environmental centers, to become an even more vibrant center for students to work with and learn from professionals, including the new farm manager.
Absolutely. Although students will not live at the farmhouse next year, there will be no reduction in the number of positions available to interested students or in the number of hours students may work.
The four or five students who have lived at the farmhouse each year have valued the experience, with good reason. In opening the farmhouse to other uses, we hope to deepen the teaching and learning opportunities available on the farm and make them available to the largest possible number of students.
No, students who live at the farm pay the same room rates as other students. In this way, the farmhouse is like any other apartment or themed housing. Students are not required to live there to work or volunteer on the farm, nor is housing part of the compensation for student farmers.
While we are discontinuing the use of the farmhouse as a student residence, there will be a lot of continuity in other elements of the farm’s program. There are no plans to curtail programming, eliminate student positions or reduce the number of hours students can work.
We understand that some students are disappointed in the decision, but we are confident that students who participate in the farm’s programs will continue to build community through their shared interests.
We have not finalized plans for the use of the farmhouse going forward, as the new farm manager will play an important role in that discussion.
The farm manager is responsible for the farm's daily operations, supervising student farmers and volunteers, supporting faculty research projects, coordinating with Kenyon’s other green centers and developing community partnerships and programming. In the past, the farm manager has also taught courses related to sustainability and agriculture in environmental studies. A search for a new farm manager is underway, and we expect this person to play a vital role in shaping the farm’s program.
The farm manager will consider how best to manage the day-to-day operations of the farm. It is worth noting that many farmers care for animals that are not immediately adjacent to their homes. In fact, we have managed animals on the Kenyon Farm from off the property in the past (during COVID closures, over breaks, etc).
Students may continue to reside in the farmhouse through the end of the 2021-22 academic year.
Students selected to work at the farm this summer will have the option of staying in the house for the duration of their summer appointment. This transition period will give the new farm manager a chance to talk with students, faculty and staff about the vision for the farm and ways to expand the learning opportunities there. This decision relates only to the summer 2022 season.
Four students currently live at the farmhouse; three other student farmers live on campus. They all may continue their work on the farm as much as they are willing and able.
Like at most colleges, academic and extracurricular programs evolve and change with new students, faculty and staff. And in recent years, many colleges have discontinued their residential farm programs. We are confident that the Kenyon Farm will continue to be powerfully attractive enough to appeal to students.
We regularly consider the input of students who work or volunteer at the Kenyon Farm. In making the decision to discontinue use of the farmhouse as a student residence, we also consulted with faculty, alumni and professional farmers about how to advance the goals of the farm. We anticipate and hope that current and past students who have worked or volunteered at the farm will contribute to conversations about how to evolve and to advance the mission of the farm.
The director of the Office of Green Initiatives, along with Kenyon’s provost and president, met with several student farmers and interested community members in early February 2022 to discuss the vision for the farm. We look forward to hearing more from students, alumni, faculty and staff and expect to have more conversations when the farm's next manager is hired.
The College supports the rights of students to protest peacefully and to express their opinions. We remain committed to deepening the teaching and learning opportunities available on the farm, and making them available to the largest possible number of community members. We see the decision about the use of the farmhouse as supporting these goals.
Not at this time. Any conversations setting a course for the farm's future will involve the new farm manager. Once that person is in place, we hope to hear more creative thinking from students, alumni, faculty and staff.
The Kenyon Farm was established in 2012. While students have lived in the farmhouse throughout that time, the management and instructional model for the farm has evolved over the years.