We have our own vegetable farm! Terp Farm grows sustainable vegetables for Dining and Terps at UMD. The farm is located 15 miles from College Park at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) Upper Marlboro Facility. The Terp Farm project hosts students for internships, classes, volunteering, and fun.
Originally known as the Campus Tobacco Farm, the Central Maryland Research and Education Center – Upper Marlboro Facility is a 202 acre space focused on the development of alternative crops to replace tobacco in Maryland. Over thirty AGNR faculty members use Upper Marlboro for their research, instructional, and/or Extension programs.
UMD’s Department of Dining Services, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) and Office of Sustainability are partnered to manage “Terp Farm,” a 2 acre plot at the Upper Marlboro facility that was dedicated by The College of AGNR. Terp Farm grows vegetables year-round for the campus dining halls, catering, Green Tidings food truck, and the Campus Pantry, which serves food-insecure members of the campus and College Park communities.
Terp Farm is a sustainable farming operation employing practices such as crop rotation, cover cropping, planting habitat for beneficial insects, and using organic fertilizers and pest controls. Terp Farm is a training ground for the next generation of sustainable farmers – a population for which this country is in desperate need. On-site support for the Terp Farm comes from AGNR Research & Education Centers staff who provide technical expertise, while the Upper Marlboro Facility shares infrastructure such as equipment, storage, utilities, and meeting/office space.
Students and faculty in the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture (PSLA) utilize Terp Farm to enhance the learning experience at UMD. Professor Dr. Chris Walsh teaches PLSC433 – Technology of Fruit and Vegetable Production each fall – which includes weekly laboratory visits to Terp Farm to work with Farmer Guy producing crops for campus dining and donations. Additionally, specialists from PSLA serve as advisers to Terp Farm to assist with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification and promote food safety on the farm.
The Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) offers a Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and Ms. Meredith Epstein, the program’s lead instructor, identifies ways for IAA students to find practical learning experiences with Terp Farm. The IAA also provides funding for one of the Terp Farm Student Summer Staff positions each summer.
Terp Farm received its initial funding from the Sustainability Fund, supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority subcommittee of the University Sustainability Council to provide funding for projects that promote environmental sustainability, and positively impact and enhance the student experience at UMD. The Office of Sustainability supports Terp Farm by connecting students and the campus community to ongoing Terp Farm projects.
Meet the Team
Terp Farm is managed by the Department of Dining Services – headed by Dining’s Lead Agricultural Technician. Each summer, Terp Farm hires a team of dedicated students to work on the farm in preparation for the fall harvest and start of the academic year. During the semester, Terp Farm serves as a hands-on learning center for students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. UMD students’ in-class lab experiences and committed volunteerism sustain Terp Farm during the academic terms. The Terp Farm Team is committed to sustainable agriculture, good food, and the University of Maryland community!
Field to Campus: May
From the Farm
The farm is fully alive and the winter cover crops in the fields are mature and ready to turn over. Soon we will be spreading compost and incorporating this lush organic matter to feed the soil, which in turn feeds the crops, and eventually all of us.
We have also been setting up caterpillar tunnels, which are temporary protective structures where we will grow sensitive, high-value crops like salad mix and basil during the peak season. These structures, named for their elongated and segmented appearance, help the farm be more resilient to the dramatic weather events we have been experiencing in this region over the years, which are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Terps in the Field
After some very cooperative April weather, which is unusual, we have skipped ahead into Spring planting. Salad mix, napa cabbage, and daikon radishes in the field; basil and peppers in the greenhouse. Student volunteers from Terps4Change, Alpha Phi Omega, and Residence Hall Association all came together to put plants in the ground and get the growing season off to a great start.
Lend a Hand
Want to lend us a hand?
The Terp Farm is partnered with Terps For Change for volunteer opportunities. Terps For Change offers a wide array of community service sites, including the Terp Farm. Volunteers commit to a semester of weekly community service, coupled with 8 weekly dialogues where students reflect and explore the social issues related to the service. Check out more info about this program and apply now. To apply, log into OrgSync and follow https://terplink.umd.edu/organization/campuspantry. If you would like to volunteer at the Terp Farm in another way, please email us at email@example.com and let us know!
Donate to support the Farm
We need your help to make Terp Farm grow and support Terp Farm student interns and apprentices. By donating you will become a Friend of Terp Farm and will receive a Terp Farm decal as a thank you for your contribution.