Photos: Student Farm Cultivates Success and Sustainability

Uma Shuford Williams, Chicago senior, kneels in the student farm and picks cherry tomatoes. Shuford Williams not only collected the produce, she also sampled the tomatoes and basil growing at the farm (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).

The Albion College student farm came to fruition when five students started the farm in 2010. Nestled within the Whitehouse Nature Center, the farm’s mission is to cultivate an all-natural, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing produce garden. Combining community service and college resources, this student-led farm not only transforms the landscape but also provides produce to the surrounding Albion residents.

The farm utilizes a combination of fields and a hoop house to cultivate a diverse array of produce. From colorful peppers and ripe tomatoes to green beans, onions, squash, corn, beets and herbs, the farm provides a variety of produce that is harvested weekly by student volunteers. These crops serve not only as a source of fresh, healthy food for the community of Albion but also as a living classroom where students learn lessons about sustainable agriculture. Thomas Wilch, professor and faculty director of the Center for Sustainability and the Environment (CSE), leads students toward these objectives while encouraging them to stay connected with the community through nature.

Shuford Williams kneels in the student farm and picks cherry tomatoes. Williams not only collected the produce, she also sampled the tomatoes and basil growing at the farm (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
A handmade garden sign standing next to a row of cabbage. This sign stands in the farm to label just one of many vegetables offered to the community (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
A group of volunteer students gather outside of the farm before they begin harvesting. Wilch aids the students in deciding what will be harvested and steps into the farm to help collect produce (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
From top to bottom, Ashlynn Reed, Palmyra senior, and Ella Hardwick, Seattle junior, harvest tomatoes. The farm provides many different types of tomatoes: cherry, green, sauce and regular (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
Reed smiles as she begins her harvesting. Reed, alongside a dedicated community of volunteers, devotes numerous hours to nurturing both the farm’s prosperity and the CSE program (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
Traverse City senior, Paige McDowell, kneels in the student farm with a plastic bucket. McDowell and the other volunteers harvested over 100 lbs. of produce on Sept. 13 (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
Albion native, junior Sam Helbreck and Wilch collect sweet and hot peppers (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
A student shows off their bucket of freshly harvested tomatoes amidst the tomato-covered ground (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).
The final pallet of tomatoes awaits its water bath before their final sorting. Once produce is harvested, it is run through two separate water buckets to make sure they are clean and ready for distribution to the community (Photo by Katherine Simpkins).

Editor’s Note: 3:30 p.m. Monday, October 2. The original publication of this article at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 identified photos of Uma Shuford Williams’ last name as Williams, not Shuford Williams. This has been corrected.

About Katherine Simpkins 26 Articles
Katherine Simpkins, aka "Kat", is a senior from Adrian, MI. She is majoring in Sociology and minoring in Educational Studies. Her passion for journalism started at an early age when she picked up her camera and started seeing life from a different perspective. In her free time, you can find Kat snuggled up next to her cat, Phoebe; named after the best "Friends" character. You can contact her at

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