We are a university run demonstration and educational farm, and an experimental outdoor classroom where UMD students are able to explore issues related to food systems, food justice, sustainability, soil, ecology, GIS, and water quality with their hands and feet at our Riley Road field site.
We offer a variety of internships for UMD students each summer, programming for school and youth groups and community members, as well as hands on educational opportunities for UMD academic courses. Our interns help operate the farm as well as complete independent projects related to food justice and community outreach, GIS, sustainable agricultural techniques, apiculture and pollinators, and more.
At our Riley Road field site, students grow and harvest thousands of pounds of produce for UMD Dining Services and our campus CSA customers. These students read and learn about the principles of agroecology and permaculture and are able to put that knowledge into practice growing a diverse range of vegetables and fruits. Students utilize cover crops and green manures, intercropping and companion planting, integrated pest management, and biodiversity enhancing projects to produce organically and sustainably grown food while building and enriching our soil and protecting the quality of our water.
The western Lake Superior region faces many social and ecological challenges related to food insecurity, climate resilience, invasive species, and species endangerment. At the Land Lab we facilitate multi-disciplinary collaborations between undergraduate students to promote solutions based research projects around the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing our region.
UMD Dining Services is a pivotal partner for the Land Lab, both providing financial support for our student interns throughout the season and purchasing student grown produce. Our vegetables can be found seasonally in Superior Dining, the Food Court, and in UMD Catering orders.
In 2020, the Land Lab offered a CSA during the season for UMD faculty, staff, and students.
How it worked:
Individuals and families bought a subscription known as a "share" at the beginning of the summer and each week a box was filled with seasonal, locally, and sustainably grown vegetables, grown by our students, and enjoyed. The program ran from mid June and continued through October. We hope to offer this program again! Stay tuned.
Food Systems Incubator
The Land Lab conducts research that supports the small farm economy in the Western Lake Superior Region, promotes experiential education around food systems and food justice, supports populations of native pollinating insects important to food production, and works to expand access to fresh, healthy, and culturally appropriate food for all community members. We facilitate multi-disciplinary, collaborations between undergraduate students of a variety of educational backgrounds to promote solutions based research on the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing our region related to food systems.