The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the Editor: Reconnection


As many of you already know, the Administration is currently considering a proposal to establish a College farm. There are several reasons why a farm would help the student community. It would improve Dining Hall food, create new work and academic opportunities for students and facilitate meaningful engagement between College students and Grinnell community members. 

The most important benefit of the project, however, is the sense of place that a farm can help develop through all of these outcomes. Students will eat the fruits of their own community’s collective labor, they will have work opportunities that get them outside and attentive to nature’s processes and through interactions with Grinnell community members, students will hopefully gain some new perspectives on their lives in the cornfield.

The farm project could not be more timely as well. The administration is in the midst of implementing a whole slew of new policies designed to improve the student experience, with special attention paid to the role of binge drinking and drug use in student life.  Such behaviors — especially destructive ones — result in part from a lack of connection to a place.  Consider that binge drinking has, at its essence, disorientation as its goal — the very inability to be present in one’s place.

The College ought to support the farm, then, in addition to all the aforementioned reasons, because it is a constructive and creative way to improve students’ sense of place and thus the overall quality of student life. While thoughtful rules around alcohol use may have some role in improving student life, it’s important that the Administration doesn’t over rely on reactionary measures to address issues that stem from an ultimately deeper issue.

Rabbi Rob and several others  have devoted countless hours towards considering the specific demands of this project and the best way to implement it in our community.  Since the administration is nearing its decision regarding the future of the farm project, I want to urge students who see merit in this project to take a minute to communicate their support to Molly Schintler [schintle], who is the Real Foods Coordinator.

The nature of Self Gov can be a contentious topic, but it seems to me that participation in a small community ought, at the very least, to involve individuals expressing their feelings. So if you agree that a farm would make this campus a better place to eat, work and live, please do make yourself heard.

-Jeremy Epstein

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