LaFarm offered our second year of full-time student management position to Teniola Bakare ‘23 who joined our crew for the second summer!  With a year’s experience running the Vegetables in Community program, Teni offered incredible management support to LaFarm and gained experience in harvest and crew management, as well as all aspects of production from seed to sale.  

Quote from Teni:

“Being the farm supervisor for the summer was a beneficial experience that helped me solidify my confidence in farming. It was nice to be able to rely on my team and for them to rely on me. I felt as though the farm became a place for growing and bonding that summer because we built a community that trusted one another. Being the farm supervisor allowed me to see the behind the scenes of what goes into managing an organic farm at a college. All the intricacies that come with not only being a farmer, but being a mentor, friend, and educator were revealed to me when I worked so closely with Lisa. I felt as though I grew a lot that summer in terms of my farm skills and my confidence in what I could possibly do after college.”

Four students and one recent alum were able to participate in Soul Fire Farm’s virtual Uprooting Racism Training.  As Abigail Schaus ‘24 shares, “The opportunity to learn from folks who are so committed to situating afro-indigenous knowledge and narratives at the center of the food system conversation via educational platforms like this training is truly eye-opening and perspective-shifting. Addressing my own privilege in context with the narratives of BIPOC members in my community allowed me to consider the daily practices I engage in and how I can move forward with anti-racism work in our food systems. It was an incredibly informative and transformative experience.”

During the spring semester, the Environmental Science & Studies Department held a virtual Environmental Career Panel. In addition to incredible panelists working in the environmental consulting and nonprofit realms, we welcomed two farmers, including our very own Andie Mitchell ‘18 who was an integral member of the LaFarm team while a student at Lafayette! That’s right, y’all – you, too, can be a farmer! 

Sharon Engel ‘22 shares her thoughts on why this panel was extra special “Last spring’s career panel was by far my favorite that I’d been to, specifically because it was the first one I’d attended where farming was recognized and represented as a viable career path. These events typically focus more on engineering or consulting, which just wasn’t what I could see myself doing. I hope that future students will get even more exposure to what farmers look like and do. The world needs more farmers, which is why it’s so important that folks interested in this field can see realistic, relatable, and inspiring examples of others who have taken a similar path.”  

In the Spring of 2020, Professor Ben Cohen taught EVST315: Food and Sustainable Societies. Throughout the semester, students learned about local food movements, food apartheid, regenerative agriculture, urban farming, and the deeply rooted connections that tie social, racial, and environmental justice to the land. On top of that, each student volunteered a minimum of 8 hours at LaFarm as part of their grade.  Regional farmers visited the course to speak about their experience with agriculture in the Lehigh Valley, including Anton Shannon of Good Work Farm, and Katy and Dan Hunter of Hunter Hill CSA. Author Emily Contois Zoomed into the class for a conversation about gender, food, cooking, and diets. 

Abigail Schaus ‘24 shares, “I greatly appreciate Professor Cohen’s commitment to curating a class centered around food system discussions. Engaging in discourse with other passionate students from a variety of disciplines provided key insights into what work and life in the future of our food systems might look like—as well as served as a platform to discuss the many interdisciplinary issues facing our communities. This course has, hands-down, been the most instrumental in shaping my path of study and plans for life after college.”

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