Lessons from the land

Farming and learning: Cornercopia is a student farm on the St. Paul campus that gives students the opportunity to learn how to plan, grow, and market food. Every season, student volunteers and interns produce more than 100 varieties of vegetables and fruits, which they sell at a campus farmers market and to local restaurants.

Real-life experience: “Students are always saying they want more of a con­nection with their food,” says Courtney Tchida, student farm educational coordinator at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences. “They want to know where it comes from and how to grow it, and they want a hands-on learning experience.”

How internship gifts help: Ali Schwier, a horticulture major interested in sustainable agriculture and holistic health, worked on the farm as part of an internship funded by the Theodora and Arnold Johnson Undergraduate Research Program. In addition to helping out with all aspects of food production, she also conducted research on cover crops to find out which ones bees prefer most. Schwier plans to use the data to help farmers choose pollinator-friendly options.

Focusing on what matters: “Having that funding really opened doors for me because I was able to spend all my time on my project. I found out where my skills and interests lie, and the experience solidified for me what I want to do,” she says.

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