The student farm is now hiring for the 2014 summer crew. Please see the job announcement for more information.

The student farm is the first farm at Purdue University managed primarily by students. It sits on a lovely five acre tract of land on the west edge of campus. The farm is being developed for and by the students to increase Purdue’s opportunity to offer real-life farm development, management and marketing skills. The students raise a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and animals. Produce is currently sold to restaurant outlets on campus and through produce baskets (a CSA - community supported agriculture project). Courses are being developed that will be taught at the farm, and a summer internship experience is available from May through August.

Plan for the Student Farm

We propose to develop the Maxwell tract as a teaching/research farm with the following objectives:

  • Develop capacity for experiential learning in sustainable agriculture. With the guidance of faculty and staff, students will develop and operate food gardens. Students will learn through experience to develop a farm budget, establish crop rotations, manage plots for fertility and pests, and market their products. Students will play a major role in developing goals and management plans for the food gardens.
  • Promote cultural diversity. We will work with Purdues cultural centers and student groups to attract students from underrepresented groups to the student farm. We envision the creation of student-led gardens that reflect the ethnic, cultural, and culinary diversity of our student body.
  • New classes. We will offer a 1 credit hour course to students who participate in the development and operation of the farm. The course will provide credit for experiential learning and will include presentation by faculty on key topics related to farm operations.
  • Existing classes. The proximity of the site makes it ideal for short field trips. We anticipate that faculty from a variety of disciplines (agronomy, weed science, plant pathology, horticulture, agricultural economics, and hotel and tourism management) will use the site to illustrate key concepts in their courses. Space will be reserved on site so that faculty can establish their own teaching plots if desired.
  • Research. We will designate a section of the site for undergraduate research related to sustainable agriculture thus increasing capacity to provide research opportunities for students. As space permits, we will also use the site to expand acreage available to faculty working on sustainable agriculture, organic production, and local food issues.
  • Engagement. As the farm develops, we anticipate that opportunities will develop to work with local K-12 schools to provide opportunities for students to learn about food production. We will also use the farm as a venue for University events. This will help to raise the profile of the site

Timeline. Our primary goals for the first year are to identify group or groups of students interested in working on the farm, offer the 1 credit hour course on farm management, establish student gardens, secure an equipment shed, erect fencing, and purchase necessary equipment. In subsequent years, we will further develop the student gardens, work with faculty to develop and coordinate teaching activities, facilitate undergraduate research projects, and initiate engagement efforts.


collapse Prairie Restoration Project
Native Prairie Vegetation