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Spartans work year round at Michigan State University’s Student Organic Farm, one of the oldest and most highly regarded programs of its kind in the nation. After a busy growing season, it’s time to gather and share the fruits of their labor.

he 15-acre certified organic farm, complete with solar hoop houses and cold storage, is home to the first year-round Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Michigan and an intensive training program that prepares the next generation of organic farmers.

Cold temperatures don’t temper the activity on the farm. Students and staff pick crops at the peak of ripeness, then wash, sort and distribute the bounty to CSA subscribers, a campus farm stand, several dining halls and area food banks. Then they begin preparing for the next season.

MSU student Abby King harvests fresh strawberries on a July morning at the Student Organic Farm.

Farm production manager Dan Fillius (center) reviews the day’s chores with the farm crew.

Livestock manager Ben Fidler brings hay bales to pasture.

As the sun rises over the MSU Student Organic Farm, students harvest lettuce for the weekly farmer’s market on campus. The market stand, located south of the Red Cedar River across from Erickson Hall, operates from April through October.

Farm stand manager Russell Honderd takes inventory of the morning’s harvest as the crew prepares for the Thursday market on campus.

Potatoes and cherry tomatoes are washed and sorted in preparation for the weekly campus market and the MSU Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The 48-week CSA provides weekly boxes of produce to its subscribers.

Kohlrabi is harvested on a late September morning.

Student Abby King mixes salad greens for delivery to several campus dining halls.

Farm production manager Dan Fillius prepares kohlrabi and peppers for pick up by the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

Student Abby King washes broccoli before it’s sent to the campus farm stand.

As the main growing season begins to transition to cold-weather crops and hoophouse production, students celebrate a day of fun on the farm.

Jorhie Beadle, senior in horticulture, carries a pumpkin to be carved during the harvest festival.

Freshly squeezed apple cider and popcorn are plentiful during the harvest festival at the farm.

Farm manager Dan Fillius enjoys a laugh as he readies a group for a hayride at the harvest festival in early October.

Student Tyler Vuillemot takes attendees of the Hoophouse Gala on a tour of the organic farm. The annual gala raises money for organic farmer training scholarships and features a multicourse meal prepared by MSU chefs.

A chilly, foggy October morning covers the farm in a soft blanket of light.

Thursday is market day and always brings a bustle of early harvesting and prep for the campus market stand and the farm’s CSA.

Cold temperatures on a late October morning don’t slow farm staff from harvesting crops.

A freshly prepared farm salad at midday rejuvenates the crew and provides a daily reminder of the healthy, sustainable food these Spartans are passionate about growing and sharing.