Section: Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: The Farm remains a central part of the Kenyon community

Dear Kenyon Community,


The Kenyon Farm was founded in 2012 to create opportunities for students and other community members to engage in responsible food production, sustainable food systems and experiential learning. Lively conversations on campus in recent days have made it clear that the Farm has become a cherished place in the hearts of students and alumni, who have found intellectual stimulation and community at the Farm. We should all be grateful to the managers, student farmers, volunteers and community members who have contributed to the Farm’s work over the past decade. 

As the Farm enters its second decade, and as we search for a new farm manager, it is an opportune time to think about how we build on the Farm’s strengths and ensure that its programming has the greatest impact. While this is necessary work, it is understandable that any possible change in the Farm’s operations might feel unwelcome to some people.

Here’s where we stand in the process: 

First, we have begun a search for a new manager to oversee the Farm. (The last manager resigned effective December 2021 after five years at Kenyon.) This job involves managing the Farm’s daily operations, supervising student farmers and volunteers, supporting faculty research projects, coordinating with Kenyon’s other green centers and developing community partnerships and programming. The farm manager has also taught courses related to sustainability and agriculture in environmental studies. We hope to find someone who will bring experience and leadership to the Kenyon Farm. We expect this person to play a vital role in shaping the Farm’s program.

Second, starting with the fall 2022 semester, we will discontinue use of the farmhouse as a student residence. In terms of available housing choices, this will affect four or five students per year. Most years, there are six to eight student farmers. Typically, about half of these have lived in the farmhouse and the others have lived on campus. Living on the Farm is not a requirement of working at the Farm, nor is it connected to compensation for any work on the Farm.

The four or five students who have lived at the farmhouse each year have clearly contributed to the Farm’s success and have helped build community there. They have also valued the experience, and with good reason. However, using the farmhouse as a student residence has also precluded other possible uses for it. Though we have not made final decisions about how the farmhouse will be used, we expect a new manager to have a voice in making these decisions.

While we do not plan to use the farmhouse as a student residence, many things will not change. The student farmers who currently live at the farmhouse will continue to do so through the end of the current academic year. Discontinuing the use of the farmhouse as a student residence does not mean that there are plans for curtailing programming. Although students will not live at the farmhouse next year, there will be no reduction in the number of positions available to interested students or in the number of hours students may work.    

Those who have worked and volunteered at the Kenyon Farm during its first decade have accomplished a great deal. Going forward, we hope to deepen the teaching and learning opportunities available on the Farm and make them available to the largest possible number of community members.




Jeff Bowman



Dave Heithaus

Director, Office of Green Initiatives 


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