Get your student-grown, certified-organic produce at the Cal Poly Pomona Farm Store!
The first vegetables that were grown organically at the university’s Spadra Farm — romaine lettuce and kale — were harvested Feb. 21 and are now on sale at the Farm Store.
“We’ve been using a section of Spadra Farm to teach students about organic farming and also for faculty research projects,” said Craig Walters, the university’s urban farm director. “We’re proud to be able to now offer organic produce for consumers to enjoy.”
A nearly 10-acre section of the farm was certified for organic production in 2019. To receive certification under USDA standards, Cal Poly Pomona had to document that it had not used synthetic pesticides or fertilizers on the plot for at least three years.
In addition, the college must follow organic practices, such as crop rotation, organic seed sources, approved inputs, on-farm nutrient cycling and biodiversity.
For the first time, Walters added, students were involved from the very beginning with the crop. They prepared the field, planted the seed, and harvested the produce, he said.
“We watched it start from scratch. It was great to get planting and management experience,” said Desiree Monarrez, a graduate student in biological sciences from West Covina who has worked on the farm crew since last July. “It was very fulfilling seeing all the stuff come together.”
Roger Carlson, a plant science senior from La Habra, said organic farming requires more patience because workers can’t use chemical pesticides, but that the process was “cool.”
“You can grow crops without having to be as damaging to the environment,” said Carlson, who has worked on the farm crew since September 2020. “Consumers can have a healthier option for food.”
Additional organic produce will follow within the next few weeks, including iceberg lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Other vegetables will be available in the spring.