The practices at the SAP are best summarized by three words: People, Planet, Profit - from the Triple Bottom Line of sustainability.
Our mission drives us to pursue these sustainable practices.
The People focus is the primary aspect of the SAP. We aim to provide space at the farm that is easily accessible to all students and inclusive of interdisciplinary educational approaches.
Students and faculty are invited to carry out research that is aimed at furthering our mission. Research is documented to share knowledge with the greater GVSU community. We also document our production so that we can improve our methods over time. By experimenting with a variety of production methods, we hope to learn and share ideal practices for our climate and soil type.
Food safety is another integral part of our operation and is taken very seriously to ensure the health of people. The Sustainable Agriculture Project Farm Manager, Youssef Darwich, oversees our food safety program.
Students learn honeybee management at the SAP.
The Planet focus refers to supporting the diverse web of organisms that comprise our farm ecosystem. By focusing on biologically intensive growing methods, we build soil fertility and optimize crop production.
The goal is to nurture the land that we use to grow food, rather than harm it. This includes protecting the water, which drives growth at the farm, as well as observing organic practices in respect of pollinators and insects. These sustainable practices are the foundation of food production at the farm.
Flowers at the SAP helping to attract beneficial organisms.
Finally, the Profit aspect refers to finding practices that fit our ecological and educational requirements, while also making a profit.
Profitability is what keeps a farm economically sustainable; thus, we are continually exploring outlets for our produce and improving our production systems. We hope to explore the profitability of a variety of sustainable growing methods to benefit the larger community.
Interns managing the market and selling SAP produce for profit.