Campus Farm

    at Matthaei Botanical Gardens

The Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is a student-driven multi-stakeholder living learning lab for sustainable food systems work built around principles of food grown by students for students, on-farm carbon-neutrality, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, in a learning community that fosters student leadership development and high-impact teaching, research, and learning opportunities.

In the midst of the climate crisis, the Campus Farm has a responsibility to do its part in reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. The farm is pleased to officially release its Carbon Neutrality Statement, which outlines the farm’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality for all emissions generated and electricity used on-site by 2026 via a combination of student-led reduction and mitigation strategies.
CN Photok

The Campus Farm utilizes passive solar hoop houses heated only by the sun to produce locally grown cold hardy crops like spinach and kale for MDining and Maize and Blue Cupboard all winter long. 

Cover of Campus Farm 2020 report

The annual report for the Campus Farm is ready for viewing. The report includes key stats about the farm, a look at its diversity, equity, and inclusion mission, the farm’s community involvement activities, how the farm engages with students and the university, a round-up of farm staff, and more. Click here to read the report or click on the button below.

Along with its collaborative partners the University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program (UMSFP) and the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, the farm is transforming U-M into a world-class place for twenty-first century scholarly research, teaching, and engagement in sustainable food systems. Scroll down for more photos of the farm.

The Campus Farm tangibly demonstrates Matthaei-Nichols and the U-M Sustainable Food Program’s core values and ties together education, community, and sustainable food in a way that hasn’t been done before at the U-M.

From the beginning the farm has had the University’s blessing. The U-M released the Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment (CSIA). The Sustainability Executive Council chaired by President Mary Sue Coleman endorsed the study and recommended that the University create a campus farm. Students in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and UMSPF worked with Matthaei-Nichols staff and Director Bob Grese and U-M faculty members to make the farm a reality.

As much laboratory as classroom, the Campus Farm provides leadership development, education, and research opportunities in ways students might never have experienced before and contributes to authentic and impactful teaching and learning. Such hands-on experience provides invaluable lessons related to sustainable food production for students from a wide range of disciplines who—even if they don’t go on to be farmers—will play a role in food systems issues ranging from public health, the environment and our economies, in their future careers.

Check back on this page for updates on the Campus Farm, or visit the U-M Sustainable Food Program. You can also view the Sustainable Food Systems report 2017.

For more information about the Campus Farm, or for info on volunteering, please contact:

Campus Farm Intern Positions

Work with the Campus Farm student and staff managers to operate the U-M student-run Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Student internships are available at Matthaei-Nichols.

Urban Agriculture Internships

The UM Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Garden and the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative (SFSI) collaborate with several urban farms in Detroit and Ypsilanti to offer full-time paid internships for UM students during the summer with part time opportunities extending into the fall.

Campus Farm students growing produce

The farm’s produce goes to the University of Michigan Dining, completing the circle of food grown by students, for students, from our farm to our tables.

Check out the student-run Campus Farm  Facebook and Instagram logo Instagram pages.

Campus Farm Fund

Help the University of Michigan Campus Farm at Matthaei support and provide students with tools, knowledge and hands-on experience in food production, allowing them to be at the center for activity, research, and innovation.

The straw-bale building is well placed on the University of Michigan Campus Farm. The building is nestled in a food forest, where a team of students previously planted hazelnuts, raspberries, serviceberries and blueberries. Its front porch opens south, facing the farm’s fields. West of the building are several passive solar hoop houses, which can now grow food year-round.

Check out this video on how the farm is partnering with U-M Dining Services to bring produce to Michigan students.