Urban Farm project receives funds for expansion

University students Jake Allen and Aaron Porter prepare garden beds  in the University of Oregon class Urban Farm. The Urban Farm received a grant for $42,000 last term from ASUO over realized funds in order to expand the program and purchase more land. (Tess Freeman/Oregon Daily Emerald)

University students Jake Allen and Aaron Porter prepare garden beds in the University of Oregon class Urban Farm. The Urban Farm received a grant for $42,000 last term from ASUO over realized funds in order to expand the program and purchase more land. (Tess Freeman/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Posted by Sam Stites on Monday, Apr. 9 at 5:34 pm.

The University’s Urban Farm project — a program of the Landscape Architecture department and the Student Sustainability Center — received $42,000 last term from the ASUO Over-Realized Fund to help secure more land and resources to meet increasing student interest.

“I am excited for more students to be able to participate at the Urban Farm and to learn about the Eugene food shed, about the food community and be able to find that joy that so many people have to be in soil and grow things,” Sustainability Center Coordinator Louisa de Heer said.

Part of the funds will go toward land. The program is expanding from its single lot by the millrace to three new lots close to Agate Hall and the Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Living near East 18th Avenue and Moss Street. De Heer said that the new tracts are expected to become a sort of buffer between campus and the Fairmount neighborhood to strengthen ties between the University and local homeowners.

The other part of the funds will go towards creating another graduate teaching fellow position to help current Urban Farm Director Harper Keeler in the classroom and with hands-on instruction. The extra position will allow more students to enroll in the class which currently only has 200 spots over four terms. It will also create a freshman seminar and residential Freshman Interest Group for first-year inclusion in the project. There will even be spots available for any interested student outside the program to come in on their own time and cultivate.

“The Urban Farm class is as popular as any class at the University and only fourth-year seniors can generally get in,” Keeler said. “To have an additional area for students to grow their own food and learn about food issues is really important.”

Both Keeler and de Heer expressed gratitude towards the student leaders who allocated the money. They are excited to start the expansion with the support of the ASUO Over-Realized Fund.

“Senate support has been crucial to making this project happen,” de Heer said. “We are extremely grateful for over-realized funds.”

Emma Newman, chair of ASUO’s Over-Realized Committee, said that the popularity of the class is what pushed them to give these funds to the Urban Farm.

“It’s so popular that second-term seniors aren’t even guaranteed a spot in the class,” Newman said. “We wanted to open it up to the broader student body because its a great opportunity for students to learn skills on how to produce their own food and some of the food will even be used on campus.”

For now, the program will finalize the acquisition of the land and start planning the overhaul on the new tracts. De Heer hopes to have students out there working by summer term to allow as many students as possible into the program.



  • David Sopkin

    I love the urban farm, and suggest all students take advantage of it. Its a great way to get a grasp of where our food comes from, and what we can do to locally source our food more. Take advantage of this awesome class while you’re still at UO, you’ll never forget it!

    As a current farm student, I’d like to express my displeasure at the decision to pave part of the farm to make way for the athlete parking lot. This is ridiculous, not only because of the removal of nature and Earth to make way for cars, but THEY DON’T EVEN USE THE LOT. It’s just sitting there, with one or two cars in a 30-space lot. Its also closed off to regular students and faculty, so it can’t be opened up to other members of the community. So, the athletes (who could take the bus to school, by the way) get to use TWO parking lots, one of which isn’t even used to its capacity, while the allied arts and landscape architecture schools have to sacrifice teaching space. 
    Think about it: take out legitimate classroom space to make way for gas-guzzling cars, and only for a small portion of the population that doesn’t even use it. Where’s the logic? Whoever made that decision obviously had a closed-mind and didn’t consider how many people needed the lot. 

    If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. 

    Let me repeat this:

    IF YOU’RE NOT OUTRAGED, YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!

  • Jess

    I am so happy to see this going to the well-deserved Urban Farm program. If only this money could go towards getting back the huge lot sitting right next to the farm, that appears to be rarely in use. Parking is already an issue on campus and I see this lot nearly empty on a regular basis. I’m glad to see some generosity going toward the Urban Farm.