Farm Friday: A unique UConn volunteer opportunity   

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The University of Connecticut campus is brimming with a variety of different communities, ranging from the hundreds of clubs to the multitude of specialized learning communities. It’s impossible to experience every single one of the endless opportunities UConn has to offer, but one unique community that everyone should be aware of that greatly contributes to our campus is the Spring Valley Student Farm.  

Located only five miles from campus, Spring Valley Farm is home to a small group of UConn student farmers who foster an educational, sustainable and supportive environment that actually harvests food for UConn’s dining halls. In addition to supplying students with fresh food options, the farm exclusively utilizes organic farming techniques — resulting in healthier soil and a greater biodiversity of plants.  

When asked how Spring Valley has contributed to her education at UConn, Rory Monaco, a student living at the farm, cheerily shared her thoughts.   

“I have learned so much about sustainable agriculture, sustainability in general, but also just decompressing at the end of a long week by getting your hands dirty; you know, it honestly is just such an incredible time,” said Monaco, a seventh-semester English and environmental studies major. 

Spring Valley farm currently hosts Farm Friday, a volunteer event held every Friday from now until the end of October. This volunteer opportunity also occurs during the spring semester and is a low-pressure, no-experience-needed chance to get your hands dirty. For newcomers, the event begins with a slow-paced guided tour around the farm, showcasing the variety of plant life the farmers are currently growing.  

The farm is in a transitory period as fall begins, however, there are still so many plants to see and fascinating tidbits to learn from the inviting student farmers. There is a whiteboard with different activities volunteers can partake in, and it’s really up to them to decide where they want to help out. Options included pulling weeds around aromatic plants, moving and dumping soil where it’s needed and putting new plants into the soil, but these differ week by week. 

The best part of this volunteer experience is the kindness that is overflowing from both the student farmers and volunteers. Many of the volunteers are a part of the Eco House learning community or UConn’s Farm Club and everyone is excited to be connecting to both the earth and their peers through volunteering at the farm.  

“I found out about the farm through one of my very close friends and slowly, but surely, I started going to Farm Friday. The community here is just so amazing, so ever since then I’ve been hooked,” shared student farmer Elizabeth Cochrane, a seventh- semester natural resources and the environment major.  

Students can easily sign up to attend Farm Friday on UConn’s website, which should be done in advance as there are limited spots. Transportation is provided for all who sign up. 

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