Center for Sustainability

Center for Sustainability

Agriculture for Tomorrow


A College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) Program

Cal Poly landscape

Stewards of Tomorrow

Preparing leaders in sustainability through education, research, outreach, and operations.

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.

  —Mahatma Gandhi

Cal Poly Student Experimental Farm

                                                                                                Image credit: Andy Sherar, Mustang News 

Cal Poly Student Experimental Farm

The Student Experimental Farm (SEF) is a two-acre farm and garden that has served as a hands-on living laboratory for Cal Poly students since 1989. In keeping with its name, it has been home to an interdisciplinary array of innovative appropriate technology projects, demonstrating everything from sustainable agriculture and horticulture to holistic management, aquaponics, alternative energy and green building. With a panoramic view of campus, it has also served as a popular meeting spot for classes, workshops and community gatherings. The SEF is managed by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and is located next to the Compost Unit off of Mount Bishop Road.

*Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most student activity at the SEF is suspended for the 2020-2021 academic year. Outdoor coursework and projects overseen by a faculty advisor are permitted, pending approval by the SEF Advisory Committee. If interested in starting a project at the SEF, please request an SEF Proposal Form by emailing: sef@calpoly.edu  

Please note: Cal Poly students visiting SEF must fill out a COVID-19 self assessment questionnaire for the day of their visit, and sign a SEF Liability Waiver.



Student Farm Manager 2020-2021

The SEF student farm manager for the 2020-2021 academic year is Robin Pearson (NRES). Robin works with facilitators to develop action plans for the improvement and management of the SEF, and assists in coordinating and facilitating class, club and other student activities. She serves as a primary liaison between students and faculty using the site and the faculty advisory group. The manager is also responsible for helping implement SEF rules and procedures. 


SEF Advisory Committee

In January 2020, a new faculty advisory committee was formed, comprising the individuals listed below. This group will meet monthly to discuss overall strategy for the SEF, and specific issues as they arise. Advisors and managers in this new organizational structure are interested in working closely with students and faculty involved in current and future projects to ensure smooth growth and continued success of the SEF.

SEF Advisory Committee
Nick Babin (NRES)
Claire Balint (CFS)
G.W. Bates (BRAE)
Hunter Francis (CFS)
Kevin Piper (Ag Ops)
Kylee Singh (Facilities Services)
Ben Swan (AGED)

We are excited to continue to foster the unique Learn by Doing opportunities at the SEF and begin a new phase of activity that builds upon the incredible work of past and present doers and leaders. This new phase of activity will be overseen by the Agricultural Operations Department (Ag Ops) and the Center for Sustainability (CFS). 


History

For over three decades, thousands of students and community members have partaken in an incredible array of educational activities at the Student Experimental Farm (SEF). This is been made possible by the dedication of generations of student, staff and faculty leaders who have worked together at the SEF to develop numerous pioneering and innovative projects in sustainable agriculture. To read a narrative of past activities, please CLICK HERE

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all participants - past, present and future - who’ve given of their time and energy for the benefit of Cal Poly and the community. 
 

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