Join fellow University of Michigan students, staff and sustainability enthusiasts for a celebration of local, sustainable food, activities and the unveiling of the Straw Bale Building on Sunday, October 7 at Harvest Fest. The event takes place from 1 until 4 p.m. on the U-M Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Road, in Ann Arbor.

Hosted by the UM Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) and Campus Farm, and supported by Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Michigan Dining, Planet Blue Ambassadors, Taste the Local Difference, and Slow Food Huron Valley, Harvest Fest connects participants with student groups and community organizations who are dedicated to strengthening the local food system. Free food, live music, and fall activities are planned.

“We consider the U-M Campus Farm as a living, learning laboratory for students to providing educational, research, and employment opportunities as they learn about the production of sustainable food and the study of food systems,” says Jeremy Moghtader, farm manager . “Harvest Fest is a celebration of that community experience and collaboration, led by our UMSFP and Campus Farm students.”

In addition to the Harvest Fest activities, the official unveiling of the sustainable, student-built Straw Bale Building will take place at 2 p.m.  The building is situated among fields of vegetables and hoop houses on the student-run farm.

The structure is an example of a sustainable building, and is made of 18-inch-thick straw bales situated on a concrete foundation and covered in layers of adobe. Solar panels sit atop the building’s metal roof, making it the first off-the-grid building on the Ann Arbor campus. It is the University of Michigan’s first student-built structure.

The building will anchor the farm, providing a meeting place for farm-to-table dinners hosted by Michigan Dining as well as a location for students and staff to gather and begin the work day.

Free transportation to and from Harvest Fest will be provided from the Central Campus Transit Center every 20 minutes.