In the middle of a bustling, expanding, urban university, the University of Maryland campus farm serves as a small patch of rustic tranquility and a constant reminder of the university’s heritage as an agricultural college.
Now, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) is embarking on a bold mission to turn the unique piece of property into a teaching facility for the future. With help from experts at Blackburn Architects, the College of AGNR has developed a Campus Farm Master Plan which it unveiled to the public for the first time at a special presentation held inside the Riggs Alumni Center.
“The University of Maryland is one of the only land grant universities that has a working farm actually located on its campus,” said Cheng-i Wei, Dean of the College of AGNR. “Current national trends and emerging interests in topics like urban agriculture, buying locally grown products, micro-farming and food security make this the perfect time to invest in upgrading what is already a major asset for our College and university.”
Proposed improvements to the campus farm include expanding and renovating current structures, creating indoor teaching spaces, streamlining the layout to more efficiently move animals throughout the site, improving accessibility and increasing the farm’s visibility on campus all while preserving its bucolic charm.
Although it sits on just 4.3 acres, the campus farm is used for hands-on instruction in a variety of undergraduate courses offered through the Department of Animal & Avian Sciences, ranging from livestock management to equine nutrition and small ruminant parturition, affectionately known as “lamb watch” at the university. One of the major goals of the Campus Farm Master Plan is to expand curriculum to better meet emerging agricultural industry trends.
The College of AGNR is currently in the process of securing funding to make its dynamic vision for the campus farm a reality. In a show of confidence and enthusiasm for the project, Dean Wei announced the College will match any monetary gift donated specifically toward revitalizing the campus farm. Blackburn Architects has estimated the total renovation could cost between $5 million and $7 million.
To learn more about the Campus Farm Master Plan, please contact Brian Magness at (301) 405-9235 or email bmagness<\@>umd.edu.