March 2, 2008

Dilmun Hill: Cornell’s Student Run Organic Farm

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It’s great to eat local. You can eat amazing stuff and at the same time know that your bite is loaded with more than just flavor. You’re supporting your local economy and the environment. But wouldn’t it be cool to take a step further and actually get involved with the production of your food? At Cornell’s student-run organic farm, Dilmun Hill , you can do just that!
During the semester it is pretty hard for students to plant and maintain a garden. Time commitments aside, you probably wouldn’t get much in the way of harvestable produce before you take off in May. Also, not many of us have the space for a garden – whether you live on North, West, Collegetown or elsewhere. We could try to till up the Arts Quad, but I doubt that would go over well with the administration… So that’s where Dilmun comes in!
Dilmun Hill gives students the chance to connect directly with their food, while learning important skills and having fun. The farm is located on Route 366 (Dryden Road.), just across from Judd Falls Road, near the Cornell Orchards – so its proximity to campus makes it a pretty good alternative to planting squash outside Goldwin Smith. The members of Dilmun are very open to getting new people on board as is evident in their mission statement: “To provide experiential learning opportunities and educational facilities for Cornell students, faculty, staff and the local community in the exploration of sustainable food and agricultural systems.” Dilmun focuses on learning over production, which makes the farm an excellent starting place for somebody interested in getting involved with food production.
Despite their emphasis on learning and educating, the members of Dilmun do produce and market a lot of food! After all, production and marketing are very important aspects of any farm that sells locally and are therefore important areas in which Dilmun members want to gain experience. Over the summer and during the fall semester Dilmun Hill marketed its produce Friday afternoons on the Ag Quad. Manndible Café also regularly purchased large orders of Dilmun produce throughout the growing season.
On February 23rd, members of Dilmun Hill had a long-term planning meeting, and a lot of exciting ideas came out of it, including a possible connection with Cornell Dining! If you are interested in organic food production, now is a good time to get on board with Dilmun so that you can be a part of the 2008 season and the inspiring local foods movement.
Whether you have been pining to garden, or just want to get involved and learn about sustainable food production, you should definitely check out Dilmun Hill. Remember – many hands make light work (and you’ll meet some great people, learn a lot and have fun)!