Farm to Table

UNC students grow produce on farm, sell at market as part of class

Synovia Duncan and Stephan Papenfus, students in UNC's summer Urban Farming class, pose at the Greeley Farmer's Market with some of the produce the class grew. Related: Slide show at end of story.

For Synovia Duncan, the chance to learn about agriculture by working on a farm for a UNC class was an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

"I never knew about farming," said the UNC senior who's pursuing a degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. "I literally never even took care of a house plant before, but I was curious and it seemed like learning about how to grow food organically was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

The farming experience came out of classes taught by UNC faculty member Kevin Cody that included Urban Farming, a 12-week summer course in which students learned how to prepare planting beds, root soil into greenhouse pots and seed vegetables such as basil and cucumbers through a partnership with local market farm WiseAcres Farm.

Students also worked at UNC's permaculture garden during the course, which included growing annual flowers from seed.

"Nurturing the plants and seeing what something can do if you just give it some water and nutrients blew my mind. It was really hard work but it was definitely worth it," Duncan said.

Once the fruits of the class's labor began to bloom, although the harvest wasn't yet complete, the students took their produce to the city of Greeley's Farmers Market.

"Our tomatoes hadn't started fruiting yet," she said, "so we really only took cucumbers and basil and just being able to take that food to the community and share it with people was amazing and made all the hard work seem that much more rewarding."

Cody said he has high hopes for what can come from the farm work and the environmental and sustainability classes taught at UNC.

"What I'd like to see happen is this farm get a more established footing in the university and became an opportunity for students all over campus to take courses in every season, summer, spring and fall," Cody said.

"I'd like for it to be a source of produce for the UNC community and for the broader community in Greeley. We have the opportunity for to be growing a lot of food. Food that can used in the dining halls, for the new Campus Commons Café and can be used to teach students about nutrition and how to process food or add value to food.

"I'd like for this farm to be a showpiece for the university that draws students in who want to learn more about farming and want to experience learning outside of the classroom."

Cody said that students will be selling produce grown at the farm at the Greeley Farmer's Market Saturday and possibly on future days the market is open. Located at the Union Pacific Depot, 902 7th Ave., the market is open from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sept. 30 and from 7:30 a.m.-noon on Saturdays through Oct. 31.

About the Program

Urban agriculture is just one aspect of UNC's Environmental and Sustainability Studies program. Students also learn about water resource economics, ecological and biological commerce and environmental law and politics and more. Complete information is available on the program's website at

- Makalah Emanuel, Senior Journalism Major


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