Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Video tour of Michigan State University's farms

What is today's prompt?
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Talk about a time you were on a farm.
When I was teaching at Lansing Community College, the Environmental Science class I taught took a field trip to two of Michigan State University's farms that that MSU uses for teaching, research, and community outreach.  The first farm the class visited was the http://www.msuorganicfarm.com/MSU Student Organic Farm.  I mentioned it two years ago in a flattering comparison to Purdue.
The flip side of Purdue's concern with food is that it's very much in the pocket of industrial agriculture, and this article shows that relationship in unapologetic detail. Honestly, I find Michigan State University, where there is a program in organic agriculture that was created by student demand, to have a more progressive perspective, and MSU is also a land-grant agricultural college.
As you can tell, I was impressed by my visit.  As far as describing it, I can do better than that.  I can show you a video produced by MSU about the Student Organic Farm.

Michigan State University student Denae Friedheim talks about the MSU Student Organic Farm which offers an opportunity for students to volunteer and work to create a sustainable farm. The program, which has been running since 1999, features a strong academic program along with hands-on experience working in various capacities at the farm. Learn more about the MSU Student Organic Farm at www.msuorganicfarm.com.
That's not all from the MSU Student Organic Farm.  Here's a more recent video showing the hoop houses that allow for vegetables to be grown year-round in Michigan.

At a time when most Michigan farmers are getting their land ready for planting, students and others working at Michigan State Universitys Student Organic Farm are bringing in the crops. Of course, that is a year-round occurrence at the farms hoop houses, a type of greenhouse that allows for non-stop planting and harvesting.
The class also visited the MSU Dairy Farm, which is open to the public and offers self-guiding tours.  Very conveniently, the course has a video tour of the dairy barn for students to view.  I couldn't type out a better replica of my in person tour, so I'll just show it to you.

All the video is missing are the cows with portholes in their sides, such as one can see in Food, Inc.  That's a sight that never fails to gross out my students.

That's not all of what my class saw.  We also visited the dairy processing  facility.  Fortunately, MSU has a video showing that, too.

The MSU Dairy Store not only creates delicious ice cream flavors but also serves as a teaching facility for students.
There, I've just compressed a three-hour visit, not including travel time, into a 20 minute video session.  Isn't YouTube wonderful?

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