For the health and safety of the Grand Valley community, remote academic instruction will continue through April 25. The Admissions office is available to answer calls Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 616-331-2025 or 1-800-748-0246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional instructions and updates at www.gvsu.edu/coronavirus
Youssef is fascinated with environmental interactions. He is driven to synthesize strengths across disciplinary lines. He is also addicted to dahlias!
Office of Sustainability Practices, Director
Yumi is delighted to be part of the SAP and looks forward to meeting all of the CSA members.
SAP Advisory Council
Brett Colley, Visual and Media Arts
Youssef Darwich, Farm Manager, SAP
Karen Gipson, Associate Dean, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies
Yumi Jakobcic, Office of Sustainability
Sarah King, Liberal Studies
George Lundskow, Sociology
Kelly Parker, Philosophy, Liberal Studies, and Environmental Studies
Steve Snell, Facilities Arborist
Jennifer Winther, Biology
Amanda Buday, Sociology
Students also participate in the SAP advisory council on a regular basis.
SAP Intern Alumni
Youssef enjoys building soil, climbing trees and growing the best food possible to share with the GVSU community. Youssef graduated in 2015 and in the 2016 growing season, he was hired on as a permanent member of the SAP and is our current farm manager.
Burritt is a math and physics major who happens to love the outdoors. He takes the principles of sustainable agriculture to heart and hopes to own a farm.
Dana is passionate about creating equitable food systems. She is eager to cultivate relationships with CSA members, and share her enthusiasm. For the 2016 growing season, Dana interned at D-town farm in Detroit.
Farming is one of Matt’s favorite pastimes. It allows him to see real changes occurring around him, culminating in fuel to power through the day.
Krista is a plant enthusiast and hopes to incorporate her love for medicinal plants while continuing to expand the SAP’s diversity and sustainability.
Ellen is an aspiring ecologist and farmer. She is excited to share her love of beautiful, wholesome food with the community.
Chris is a Plant Biology major interested in efficient and sustainable farming techniques, such as bio-intensive agriculture.
Austin graduated with a Natural Resource Management major and Biology minor. His passions include, but are not limited to, seaberry trees, downhill skateboarding, reptiles, and anything written by Kurt Vonnegut.
Michael Hinkle served as the Dave Feenstra lead intern at the Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP) for the 2018-2019 season. Michael is a Natural Resources Management major, with a passion for agriculture that goes back to childhood. One day, he hopes to use the talents and ideas acquired at the SAP to one day operate an agro-tourism farm in Michigan.
Margaux was awarded the Dave Feenstra Lead Intern at the Sustainable Agriculture Project from 2019-2020. Her passion is understanding how identity and cultural norms have shaped the choices and connections people have towards nature, working to pursue her passions in a Master's program. Her natural curiosity to question and understand continues to transform her learning at the SAP and beyond.
Melona Markham – Grant Research Intern Summer 2018
“This summer, I interned at the Sustainable Agriculture Project. I spent most of my time conducting routine farm work, including the following: planting, maintenance, harvesting, processing, and selling. Special projects included grant writing and searching for new funding opportunities.
I chose the SAP for a few reasons. I had a positive experience volunteering for the farm briefly during semesters fall 2017 and winter 2018. The farm provides a calming and reflective atmosphere, a convenient location, and most importantly, it offers valuable life-long skills. The ability to properly identify, grow, and harvest produce is useful in nearly any circumstance.
On the farming side, I gained a lot of new information about identifying plants and their diseases, and improving harvesting, planting, and weeding techniques to avoid motion waste. On the academic side, I learned about the Content Management System the SAP uses to keep the website up to date. As a result, I was responsible for updating the online store’s inventory after the Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays.
These empowering experiences gave me confidence in growing my own food. I now know it is possible and doable.”
Michael Hinkle – Lead Farm Crew Intern 2018-2019
“While interning over the summer, I learned the ins and outs of teaching the basics to those totally new to farming and its importance to building a sustainable community. Spreading the idea of farming in a sustainable and efficient way is a focus in my life, and the SAP internship provided a great way for me to do that!”
Austin VanDyke – Lead Farm Crew Intern 2016-2017
“If the farm has taught me anything, it’s this: perfection is the enemy of good enough. Often we plague ourselves with the fear of failure, which inhibits us from doing good work. In striving for sustainability, whether that be in our food system, our work place, or our personal relationships, we simply don’t have time to plan for the ideal. Starting now, where we are, with what we have is necessary, and keeping in mind the fact that sustainability is iterative, and constantly evolving reassures the idea that “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second best time is now.”
Ellen Lavigne – SAP Intern Summer 2016
"At the SAP I learned how to grow plants organically. I learned to value working outside and with my hands. I learned that I love to be in touch with the natural systems on earth. The impact has been massive. The SAP showed me how rewarding a farm life is. It set me on the path of being a regenerative, organic farmer so that I may facilitate a communal understanding of the importance local food systems hold in our society."