Growth of the CUE Farm

MATTHEW DEL BUSTO/ STAFF REPORTER

The Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) Farm started off as just three-tenths of an acre and CUE staff members and faculty in the biology department managed it. Now the farm is close to an acre in size and Tim Dorsey, manager of the CUE Farm, oversees it full-time. Along with providing fresh produce at its weekly farm stand, the farm provides educational opportunities to the students at Butler and the surrounding community along with paid internships for Butler students each semester and over the summer.

The farm stand is located on the porch of the blue storage building that lies between the CUE Farm and the tennis courts near the intramural fields and the I-Lot. Dorsey said the farm stand has gained popularity over the past few years.

Julia Angstmann, director of CUE, said the idea for farm came from a student group called Earth Charter Butler in 2009. The farm became a reality in 2010. Angstmann said funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Trust allowed to center to hire Dorsey in 2011 and expand the farm.

Besides growing local produce, Dorsey said the farm provides educational, internship and volunteer opportunities. He said they want to connect with educational fields at Butler including not just biology but also sociology and psychology.

“We’re starting to make some relationships with professors that we hope will develop their curricula in a way that will actually include the capsule of using the farm for some research,” he said.

Angstmann agreed and said she is currently exploring possibilities to connect the farm with various courses on campus. She said the farm has obvious connections with biology and chemistry but is also exploring connections between the farm and other fields, such as the sociology aspect of having an urban farm.

Wesley Sexton, CUE farm intern, poetry and music major, and senior, said he heard about working at the CUE farm from an announcement in the Butler Connection. He started working at the farm two summers ago and has been working there ever since.

“It’s been great,” he said.  “I’ve learned a lot about plants and food and sustainability, and that’s been the best thing.”

Dorsey said they also gives tours to groups at the farm.

“From the very beginning, we’ve done tours where we talk about exactly what we’re doing and tie that into food system discussions and just why we do what we do,” Dorsey said. The tours are for Butler student groups in classes as well as for younger kids from community groups and outside schools.

Dorsey said along with the farm stand, there are 21 subscribed members from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA members and farm stand customers make the farm economically viable, along with distributing some produce to several restaurants and chefs in the area.

“The farm encompasses stewardship of the natural world,” Angstmann said.

Dorsey said that for him, every day working on the farm is different, from weeding on his hands and knees to planning crop rotations.

“I think having the farm on campus sort of situates us uniquely in urban agriculture,” he said. “I love to be out here when it’s quiet, working, to be able to work outside and have an end product that people are really happy about is gratifying.”

The Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) Farm started off as just 3/10ths of an acre and CUE staff members and faculty in the biology department managed it. Now the farm is close to an acre in size and Tim Dorsey, manager of the CUE Farm, oversees it full-time. Along with providing fresh produce at its weekly farm stand, the farm provides educational opportunities to the students at Butler and the surrounding community along with paid internships for Butler students each semester and over the summer.

The farm stand is located on the porch of the blue storage building that lies between the CUE Farm and the tennis courts near the intramural fields and the I-Lot. Dorsey said the farm stand has gained popularity over the past few years.

Julia Angstmann, director of CUE, said the idea for farm came from a student group called Earth Charter Butler in 2009. The farm became a reality in 2010. Angstmann said funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Trust allowed to center to hire Dorsey in 2011 and expand the farm.

Besides growing local produce, Dorsey said the farm provides educational, internship and volunteer opportunities. He said they want to connect with educational fields at Butler including not just biology but also sociology and psychology.

“We’re starting to make some relationships with professors that we hope will develop their curricula in a way that will actually include the capsule of using the farm for some research,” he said.

Angstmann agreed and said she is currently exploring possibilities to connect the farm with various courses on campus. She said the farm has obvious connections with biology and chemistry but is also exploring connections between the farm and other fields, such as the sociology aspect of having an urban farm.

Wesley Sexton, CUE farm intern, poetry and music major, and senior, said he heard about working at the CUE farm from an announcement in the Butler Connection. He started working at the farm two summers ago and has been working there ever since.

“It’s been great,” he said.  “I’ve learned a lot about plants and food and sustainability, and that’s been the best thing.”

Dorsey said they also gives tours to groups at the farm.

“From the very beginning, we’ve done tours where we talk about exactly what we’re doing and tie that into food system discussions and just why we do what we do,” Dorsey said. The tours are for Butler student groups in classes as well as for younger kids from community groups and outside schools.

Dorsey said along with the farm stand, there are 21 subscribed members from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA members and farm stand customers make the farm economically viable, along with distributing some produce to several restaurants and chefs in the area.

“The farm encompasses stewardship of the natural world,” Angstmann said.

Dorsey said that for him, every day working on the farm is different, from weeding on his hands and knees to planning crop rotations.

“I think having the farm on campus sort of situates us uniquely in urban agriculture,” he said. “I love to be out here when it’s quiet, working, to be able to work outside and have an end product that people are really happy about is gratifying.”

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