May 5, 2010

Ag Day ’10 Generates Cow-estions

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Dressed head to toe as a corn ear, Marlene van Es ’11, welcomed the Cornell community to “Ag Day” on Friday.  A tractor, combine, cow and a couple of sheep graced the Ag Quad in honor of the bi-annual event, which showcases university agricultural programs and raises money for charities, like 4-H and local farmers in need.

Hosted by Alpha Zeta, an honorary, professional society for students and industry professionals in the agriculture and life sciences, the event demonstrated the semester-long efforts of the Fraternity members.  Despite the exhaustive work, AZ sister Carolyn Abbott ’10 said, “It’s worth it.”

The fraternity invited all campus agricultural clubs to display their organization’s goals and projects. This year, Master Composters, Farms to Cornell, Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm, NYS Ag in the Classroom and Friends of the Gorges attended the event.

The event showed educational displays about weeds and soil science to educate the general public about some important agricultural issues. Another booth at Ag Day, called Agriculture in the Classroom, featured movements in New York education to integrate agriculture into curriculum.

The presence of livestock too served educational purposes. Stationed in front of the cow, an “Ask a Farmer” booth provided answers to common cow questions. According to Jess May ’11, the craziest cow question she received was, “Do cows sit down?”  Apparently, cows do not sit, but they do lay down.

Peter Seznek, Alpha Zeta’s chef, prepared a pulled pork barbeque meal as well as s’more brownies to sell on the quad as well.

Human Ecology student Jacob Christ ‘13 said, “The pulled pork sandwiches were my favorite part!”

­Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm offered t-shirt decorating with stencils and stamps with their logo and different vegetables.  Ryan Devlin ’13, AZ brother and Dilmun’s Market Garden Manager for this summer said, “We want to get the word out about the farm so people can come out to our work parties.”

The Dilmun organic farm produces mustard greens, kale, alliums, spicy masculine mix and garlic.  The farm managers and volunteers hope to plant more crops this summer as the weather improves.  Apart from their seasonal Farmers Market on Ho Plaza and outside Mann Library, Dilmun also supplies some ingredients to Manndible Café, Cornell Dining and Loaves and Fishes food pantry.

“I enjoyed the enthusiasm from the agriculture community, especially Marlene van Es dressed as a corn ear. Ag Day allows people to experience a side of Cornell that’s not always visible,” Audrey Boochever ’13 said.  Boochever is Vice President of Farm to Cornell, a group trying to bring more local foods to campus, to increase agricultural education throughout the university and celebrate food.

Altogether, the event drew large crowds that normally would not experience the operations of the agricultural science community.

Original Author: Katerina Athanasiou