Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

University's New Farming Project Plows into the Past Food to Be Donated to People in Need

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

University's New Farming Project Plows into the Past Food to Be Donated to People in Need

Article excerpt

SHAVERTOWN, Pa. - Centuries ago, the farmland now owned by Liza Rolland was plowed and planted with teams of horses.

Last month, history repeated itself.

A pair of Belgian draft horses operated by Rich DuMond methodically pulled a plow through the soil in preparation for a service-learning cooperative farm project initiated by the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program at Misericordia University.

Dubbed FARMU, the program will use the 1-acre plot to produce fresh vegetables that will be given away to families in the region.

Katherine Pohlidal, director of the Bourger Women with Children program, said FARMU gives students a hands-on learning experience while also educating them about food insecurity.

"People who are food insecure don't have access to healthy, nutritious foods or they can't afford them," Ms. Pohlidal said. "This program will help fill that need and will create a positive impact on the region."

The produce, which will include kale, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, beets, chard, collard greens and melons, will be distributed through the Weinberg Food Bank, Bourger Women with Children, the summer Food-n-Fun @ the Park program in Wilkes-Barre, and summer lunch programs at local schools.

The first year of the project will involve 1 acre of the 5-acre site with hopes to expand to 2 acres in the second year with a maximum growth of 5 acres.

Interns from various schools, including Penn State University Park campus, Cornell University and Marywood University in Scranton, will be at the site throughout the summer helping maintain the organic farm to satisfy requirements needed for nutrition majors to become registered dietitians.

Mr. DuMond and tree farmer Andy Kalie, of Shickshinny, are serving as consultants.

Ms. Rolland previously used the site to raise vegetables for her own farm business. Every year, she donated any extra produce to local food banks and said it was an easy decision to allow Misericordia to use the plot. …

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