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Duke University campus farm used as teaching tool

Posted September 30, 2015
Updated October 1, 2015

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— Duke University is known for its collegiate gothic architecture and church spire, but there is also something more down to earth – the Duke campus farm.

“The farm here is really a teaching tool,” said farm manager, Saskia Cornes. “I can tell you farming doesn’t look like what it used to.”

Cornes has a doctorate in English, which distinguishes the shift in a new generation of farmers.

“If you’re looking for farmers here, you’ll find us,” Cornes said. “It’s not that I’m not a farmer, it’s we need to rethink what we mean by farm.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden recently visited and toured the farm. Beyond the produce, Hayden said she hopes to harvest the next generation of America’s highly educated farmers at Duke.

“We need kids who are coming out of school with marketing degrees, with economics, with engineering degrees,” Harden said. “There are more jobs in agriculture than there are kids coming out of agriculture schools.”

The Duke campus farm sends most of its crop to the Duke dining halls. Last year it sold more than $6,700 worth of produce through its community supported agriculture program.

“You wouldn’t think of the Duke school as having a farm,” Harden said. “You are doing good, making it fun and the pepper is good too.”

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