The Berea College Horticulture Farm, formerly known as the Gardens and Greenhouse, is part of one of the oldest and continuously operating student-led farms in the nation. Located below campus off Scaffold Cane Road, the farm includes two greenhouses, eight high tunnels, a packing house, a newly constructed office space, equipment storage space, and 5 acres of production land. Influenced by evolving standards, students, ANR department needs, and market demands, the horticulture enterprise has transitioned and grown over time. In 1998, the transition to organic production began and today, all food produced on the farm is USDA Certified Organic. Like all aspects of Berea College, the Horticulture farm strives to uphold the commitment to labor, learning, and service by providing education and employment to students and high-quality products and educational opportunities to the surrounding community.
As part of the Berea College Labor Program, students can be employed at the horticulture farm to fulfill their labor commitment. In this role, students are trained in all aspects of organic production. First-year students learn the basics of plant care and management, food safety guidelines, packaging and labeling orders, record keeping, equipment use, fruit and vegetable production, seed production, and farm maintenance. Students receive detailed training on watering procedures to ensure plant health. After gaining basic skills and knowledge of the enterprise, students can choose to move into a management role, eventually having the opportunity to become Student Farm Manager. Some students working on the Horticulture farm choose an area of interest and become proficient in this area while others choose to gain a broader skillset. In the past, the flexibility of the enterprise has allowed students to plan and incorporate new production aspects into the farm. For example, succulent production and sales were introduced solely by students and this continues to be a primarily student-led project.
The Horticulture Farm also provides a rich learning environment that complements and reinforces courses within ANR curriculum. Courses such as Horticulture, Introduction to Agriculture, and Soil Science utilize the farm for class projects such as the installation of high tunnels or research on the use of beneficial insects for pest control. By offering instructional tours, the farm serves as an educational resource to other departments on campus as well. Tours are also provided to local and regional schools throughout the year. The Berea College Horticulture Farm upholds the College commitment to service by providing these tours as well as partnering with other organizations (OAK and The KY Horticulture Council to name a few) to provide educational experiences to the public.
Products produced on the farm are marketed through the College Dining Hall, the Berea College Farm Store, and plant sales that are open to the community.