To play or to plow?

The resource is space. The players: intramural sports and Butler University’s Campus Farm.

The two always have existed in close proximity to one another, but as both are going through times of increased popularity and expansion, the two must work together to maintain a mutually beneficial coexistence.

Since its establishment in January 2010, the farm has received strong support from Earth Charter Butler, students, faculty, Center for Urban Ecology staff and members of the Indianapolis community, CUE Director Tim Carter said.

“We’ve made every effort we could to be transparent about the farm by working directly with campus operations from day one on the site selection and keeping everyone in the loop as activities continue down there,” Carter said.

Though it started out humbly as a half-acre agricultural project near the Butler Prairie and intramural fields, the Campus Farm has achieved tremendous popularity within the Butler and Indianapolis communities.

So much so, in fact, that it recently received a $230,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to help fund further expansion and promotion of urban agriculture, food safety and organic farming techniques.

Dan French, a junior biomedical engineering and chemistry major, helped with some of the planting and other jobs required when the farm was first established.

French said that he supports the farm’s mission to promote locally grown produce.

“Food that is grown locally helps to support local economies and also saves on green-house gases that are caused by shipping,” French said.

But due to the farm’s location, expansion must be handled carefully and strategically.

Junior Carl Miller, an intramural supervisor for the Health and Recreation Complex, said the main concern is that farm expansion, along with an increase in the popularity of intramural sports, might cause parking issues.

“Last year, every intramural sport had increased in the total number of teams involved from the year before,” Miller said.

He said he suspected that intramural involvement would continue to grow in the coming years.

This means that even with the current layout parking may become more difficult to facilitate and maintain.

Because of the fields’ location, many students drive down and park in designated parking areas.

If the Campus Farm were to convert this area into land used for other purposes, the risk of damage being done to the intramural fields by automobiles likely would increase.

Aimee Wilkinson, a junior psychology major, plays intramural Frisbee and tennis at the intramural fields and said she doesn’t feel there should be issues concerning the space.

“As long as they don’t reduce space for playing and designate a new area for parking, I don’t think it will interfere with any of the intramurals,” Wilkinson said.

Eric Kammeyer, assistant director of intramurals and club sports, was unavailable for an interview concerning the issue but briefly commented through an email.

“All departments—athletics, recreation, ecology and grounds—are working together to create a long-term plan for the outdoor fields that provides the most benefit to the Butler community,” Kammeyer said.

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