Wednesday, November 16, 2016

From (Terp) Farm to (Campus) Tables

As interns, much of our time is spent doing clinical or desk work, but sometimes we are able to get our hands dirty! Our sustainability rotation allowed us to do just that by spending a day at the Terp Farm with Farmer Guy. Not only did we get to contribute to the farm by preparing and seeding some plant beds, but we also learned about how much work goes into planting, growing, harvesting and selling the food the farm produces.

Currently in the midst of its third year of production, the Terp Farm works to bring the University of Maryland fresh, locally grown foods throughout the entire season. This does not come easy - winter weather conditions are not friendly for growing. So how exactly does Guy produce fresh salad greens, herbs and more when the weather is cold?

At our trip to the farm we learned that greenhouses, or green tunnels, are the solution! The Terp Farm has one small greenhouse, and three large greenhouse tunnels.

The small greenhouse protects the small seedlings that are in the early stages of growing. This greenhouse is currently nourishing cilantro, dill, onions, lavender, and rosemary. Once ready they will be moved into one of the large greenhouses tunnels.


These large greenhouses tunnels create a warm environment for the plants to continue growing by trapping heat from the sun inside. It also protects the plants from outside elements such as rain, snow, frost and ice, allowing the plants to thrive. However, this also means that the greenhouses must be equipped with irrigation to ensure the plants get the water they need. During our trip to the Terp Farm we were able to see the salad greens, kale, tomatoes and rainbow swiss chard currently growing and even got to take some home for ourselves!


Thanks to the greenhouses, we aren’t the only ones who get to taste this fresh produce through the winter.  These foods are harvested and delivered to UMD Dining Halls throughout the whole year and are included in dishes served by UMD Dining on a daily basis. UMD students are fortunate to get this local, farm fresh produce with nutritional integrity and delicious taste!

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