University of Maryland community members gathered in Upper Marlboro on Friday to enjoy free food and pumpkin decorating at Terp Farm’s first Fall Harvest Festival.
Allison Lilly, the sustainability and wellness coordinator for Dining Services, organized the event with several co-sponsors, including the agriculture and natural resources college, the Department of Transportation Services and the Maryland Parents Association.
“The official goal of the event was to get the campus community more connected to Terp Farm and show everyone what we’ve accomplished in the two years of the farm, and to have some fun,” Lilly said.
Students, faculty and families participated in pumpkin decorating and Terp Farm tours and enjoyed a variety of free snacks.
Junior Regan Lerner said she liked the activities and the event’s community focus.
“A lot of college students miss doing that at home with their families, so I think it’s good to offer them an opportunity to do it here,” the accounting, Chinese and finance major said. “I appreciate the free food and the free pumpkins.”
Junior environmental science and technology major Ayella Maile-Moskowitz also said Terp Farm was fun, and she enjoyed seeing so many students check out the farm.
“I’m in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and I’m an ambassador, so I’m volunteering at the registration table,” Maile-Moskowitz said during the event. “I’ve been here a lot before, [but] I don’t think people really know about it.”
Terp Farm grows seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are served on the campus at the dining halls, 251 North and the Green Tidings food truck.
“When we say ‘vegetables are from Terp Farm,’ now people are actually getting to see where it comes from,” said Andrew Muir, the communication coordinator for the university’s sustainability office. “We call it the full circle, where everybody gets to see [their food] farm to table.”
Despite the farm being in its second year of operation, Muir said, many students haven’t had the opportunity to check out the facility until now.
“This is our first time that we’ve really been able to showcase to the entire University of Maryland community what’s going on out here,” Muir said.
Dining Services and its co-sponsors worked hard to advertise the event to attract as many students as possible, Lilly said.
Freshman accounting and international business major Madison Rajhel said the advertisements caught her eye and persuaded her to check out the farm.
“I saw all of the memos and things like that all around campus,” Rajhel said. “In the dining hall, they had them on the little things in the middle of the table, and I also got an email about it. It was a good opportunity to get off-campus to see the farm.”
Lilly said she hopes the Fall Harvest Festival at Terp Farm will become an annual tradition. In an effort to continue educating students about the farm, Dining Services intends to host at least one activity there each semester, she added.
“Learning a little about where our food comes from is always on the back of my mind,” Lilly said. “The biggest thing we want students to get out of the event, besides having a fun afternoon, is to feel proud and excited about what we’re doing out at Terp Farm, and to find students who wanted to get more involved with it in the future.”