Barry Muchnick, assistant professor of environmental studies, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the United States. The funds will support research, development, and implementation of new programming at the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm through enhanced partnerships between St. Mary’s College and Historic St. Mary’s City. “The ‘Kate Farm’ is a special place to grow food and community,” said Muchnick. “The Community Foundation grant will allow us to deepen and expand the ways the farm serves all St. Mary’s students as well as the surrounding community.”
First founded as a student garden on campus, and then relocating in 2009 to a parcel leased from Historic St. Mary’s City near the corner of Point Lookout Road and Rosecroft Road, the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm educates students about sustainable agriculture and empowers people to become engaged environmental stewards. The farm is one of the many unique living laboratories at St. Mary’s College that provides fertile ground for experiential learning. “The 'Kate Farm' is about much more than growing food,” said Muchnick, who coordinates the effort along with student farm managers and a Farm Advisory Board. “In addition to growing delicious produce, the Farm offers co-benefits including improved well-being through healthy eating, increased contact with nature, and a strengthened connection to our rural landscape and history.” Muchnick sees the farm as “a place to roll up your sleeves, solve real problems, build relationships, and practice caring for each other and the planet.”
As part of an effort to reach and engage all St. Mary’s students - not just environmental studies majors - Muchnick plans to use The Community Foundation grant to help improve infrastructure, to launch a new mini-grant program to support farm-based scholarly and creative projects, and to develop new course offerings and a strategic plan for the Farm’s future.