Organic farm feeds community and teaches students

WSU Organic Farm is ran and funded entirely by students


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

The WSU Organic Farm is located on campus, and they hold a produce stand from 3 - 6 p.m. every Friday.

AILA IKUSE, Evergreen reporter

Just a mile down Wilson Road lies the Eggert Family Organic Farm, a WSU-owned, certified organic farm. The farm is a place to grow organic produce for the community and teach students how to run a farm.

The farm started when the organic agriculture major developed and was a full-fledged farm by 2004, Farm Manager Brad Jaeckel said.

Students can take soil classes on the farm, and organic agriculture majors are required to spend 90 hours on the farm growing and harvesting produce for credit, he said.

Because WSU requires the farm to be self-supporting, it is also a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Members can buy a share of the farm’s produce in the winter and will have a box of produce packaged up for them every week of the harvesting season, Jaeckel said.

“It’s a nice way to get cash upfront at the beginning of the season. We are selling crops throughout the season, but we are putting a lot of labor in just to get things going,” Jaeckel said.

CSA members include faculty, graduate students and community members. Many undergraduates are not in Pullman during the harvest season of May to October, so there are few undergraduates who buy a share, Jaeckel said.

“We have customers who have been with us since 2005, and I’ve seen their kids grow up here eating this food. There are around 85 members this year, so packing 85 boxes is going to feed maybe 300 people every week,” Jaeckel said.

For those who don’t want to purchase a share, the farm does do a produce stand every Friday from 3 – 6 p.m. They post what will be at the stand on their Facebook page, and sometimes customers who do get a share every week will supplement their box from the stand as well, Jaeckel said.

In all, customers can expect to see around 30 different varieties of common garden vegetables at the stand or in their box throughout the season, such as onions, potatoes, greens, herbs and summer squash.

“I believe that [organic] is a healthier way to eat and grow any kind of food in relation to the environment it’s grown in,”  Jaeckel said. “Feeding my family is always a priority, feeding them the best food that I could was always important to me.”

Students who work on the farm not only learn about growing vegetables, they also help run the farm stand. To be able to talk about the produce and how people can use it is important, Jaeckel said.

“I thought it would be like showing up for job, and it is, there is work to do, but Brad is great as you go through the day, he is constantly pointing things out and teaching you,” Ryan Elsasser, senior in the organic agriculture major, said. “It’s a really hands-on experience … more than it is just coming to work.”

The farm will be hosting a Fall Harvest Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 7. There will be a pick-it-yourself pumpkin patch, games, apple cider, a scavenger hunt and other activities.