About the Farm

Overview


Cornercopia is a student-driven, certified organic farm on the Experiment Station of the St. Paul Campus at the University of Minnesota. Our goal is to give students opportunities to learn firsthand what it takes to plan, grow and market food through coursework, internships, volunteer work, and otherwise. Every season, our students produce 100+ varieties of fruits and vegetables and market them here on the Twin Cities campus. Cornercopia Student Organic Farm is a student program of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) with faculty and staff advisors from Horticulture, Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Applied Economics, Animal Science and Extension.


History


Cornercopia was founded in 2004 on student vision and initiative. The farm began from two Horticulture students asking "Why isn't there anywhere on campus for us to grow stuff, much less organically?" The farm has evolved over time from a 20ft by 30ft into its current 5.5 acre configuration. The farm class started out as a directed studies class and now has its own designator (HORT 3131). The farm continues to grow by leaps and bounds every year, thanks to ongoing creativity and consistent crops of new, passionate students.

If you're curious about starting a student farm or similar initiative at your own college or university, you can access Cornercopia's extensive founding documents on the "How we got started" Tab. 





Mission Statement and Philosophy



Mission
Cornercopia is an organic farm that provides students hands-on whole farm learning opportunities, food for the local community and a place for community building, multi-disciplinary education, research and outreach.

Education Guiding Principle
The student farm strives to be central to the academic mission of CFANS as a resource for teaching and demonstrating organic farming practices for students, faculty and community members.

Outreach Guiding Principle
The student farm will serve as a gathering place for diverse interdisciplinary learning communities as well as a source for community outreach.

Science Philosophy & Research Guiding Principle
The student farm will host student and faculty projects that implement, monitor, and evaluate innovative and sustainable organic farming practices.

Crops & Farm Management Guiding Principle
The student farm will grow, harvest and market a diversity of crops using sustainable certified organic practices that utilize local resources, provide ecosystem services and improve the quality of the farmland.

Management Guiding Principle
The student organic farm will be managed cooperatively and collegially to optimize student learning and involvement. Farm staff, faculty and students will engage in a transparent, inclusive and respectful process for making farm management decisions.


Organic Certification  


The Student Organic Farm was in organic transition from November 2004 until August of 2008, at which point we received our first organic certification. This means that the farm has followed all the rules and regulations detailed in the National Organic Program and is inspected yearly by the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association.


In 2010 the farm moved from its original location on the corner of Larpentuer and Cleveland Avenues to two new fields on the corner of Dudley and Lindig Avenues. Currently Cornercopia has 3.5 acres of certified organic land and an additional 2 acres that are in transition to organic certification.  Cornercopia remains the only certified organic land on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus!



Here's a nice promotional video from a few years ago:
 

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