when life gets tough, rub some dirt on it.
Since the college’s inception, the farm has been a prominent feature of Monticello College education. Our diversified and ecologically focused farm is a part of life here at Monticello College—through academic study, daily chores, and day-to-day community interactions.
Right now, 15% of the food eaten on campus is produced right here, and all students work on the farm, gaining hands-on experience managing crops, food forests, greenhouses, livestock, and woodlands. Our goal is to reach 50% production and consumption in the near future.
“The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming, whose hands reach into the ground and sprout, to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.” – Wendell Berry
Our farm is a work in progress, with one barn, 4 greenhouses, an orchard, and 14 acres of developing pastures. All animals are pastured during the summer and fall and the goats are free ranged on the entire 82-acre campus. Our livestock inventory is fluid, but at any given moment you will find some assortment of chickens, turkeys, rabbits, hogs, goats, alpaca, cats and our livestock guardian dogs.
Farming with a Purpose
We farm to teach the value of hard work and self-reliance. As a regenerative campus, we desire all our students to graduate with the most basic of all skills; how to feed themselves.
Our farm serves as a laboratory for experimentation and academic inquiry into the depths of plant and animal systems; we are very dedicated to this hands-on approach. Of course, the farm provides the added benefit of producing a lot of wholesome, nutritious, esthetically pleasing food.
We endeavor to create a closed loop biosystem including all inputs (fertilizing with compost). As pastures mature and near capacity, this plant-to-animal-back-to-plant cycle will greatly increase the fertility and regenerative capability of the farm. We breed livestock from available recourses on campus, we save seeds and will soon end the practice of purchasing seeds for the new growing season. Our root cellar stores harvested crops through the winter, some of which serve as seed for next year’s crops.
Our greenhouses are plants in the early spring by year-round staff to provide fresh greens and other vegetables for students when school resumes in April.
All of our farm produce and animal products eventually finds their way into the Lyceum Kitchen or classroom—sometimes raw and fresh, like salads harvested from our greenhouses during the cold months; sometimes transformed in classes by the faculty of Naked Nutrition and San Juan Permaculture Institute.