Rain or shine, Lafayette Food and Farm Cooperative blossoms

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Maria Bossert ’23 has been the the president of the Lafayette Food and Farm Cooperative since fall 2020. (Photo courtesy of the @lafayettefoodandfarm Instagram)

Shiloh Harrill

The Lafayette Food and Farm Cooperative (LaFFCo) works year-round to help students develop ecological citizenship with direct action involving food and agriculture.

“In basic terms, LaFFCo is the student end of LaFarm,” LaFFCo president Maria Bossert ’23 said. “It’s mostly volunteer-based and also involves educational promotion and engaging the student body in issues about food and agriculture.”

LaFarm, located three miles from campus, grows produce for Lafayette’s dining halls and is a place for students to study and participate in the sustainable food loop.

“Our mission is to integrate curriculum and practice in sustainable food and agriculture for the campus community. We grow produce for the dining halls, recycle nutrients from composted food back to the soil, and serve as a home for collaborative student-faculty education and research,” the LaFarm website explained.

“I love the people and the chance to get outside and connect with the earth,” Bossert said. “The conversations we have while farming are the best.”

With Professor Benjamin R. Cohen of the Engineering Studies department, LaFFCo members formed the Lafayette Food and Farm Studies Salon (FFSS) as a way to remain active while learning from home. This initiative was open to students involved with LaFarm and local community members. Every week, members would read a piece or watch a film related to food and agricultural justice. They would then meet virtually to discuss the materials. What resulted was an increasingly accessible pool of resources on food and agricultural justice for the Lafayette and Easton communities, Bossert explained. Members are excited to continue this pandemic-inspired program in-person and plans to do so are in the works.

With fewer students on campus over the summer, the volunteer-based Cooperative was less active. However, many members were incentivized to work at LaFarm as EXCEL scholars or paid workers instead.

“Anyone can come, even if they’re not a member,” Bossert said.

Currently, LaFFCo is prepping for the involvement fair which will be held on the Quad next Thursday. This academic year LaFFCo looks forward to planning events such as screenings of films related to food and agricultural justice as well as coordinate speaker events. 

“[Last] spring we could only have ten people volunteering at the farm at a time because of [COVID-19],” Bossert explained. “We’re most excited to have as many volunteers as possible this semester.”

Those interested in joining LaFFCo can find more information about joining on their Instagram page, @lafayettefoodandfarm. Transportation is provided for those who join the GroupMe and express their interest in coming on a particular day. Volunteers work at the farm every Monday and Tuesday from 4:15 PM to 5:30 PM.