The Penn State Student Farm will host its fourth annual Harvest Festival from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the farm near the intersection of Fox Hollow and Big Hollow roads.
Visitors will be able to enjoy fresh, local food, live music, and tours of the 1-acre farm, with planting activities and face painting planned for children and families. The festival also will be an opportunity to learn about the upcoming expansion of the farm.
“This event is a cornerstone of the mission of the Student Farm. It involves community gathering, fellowship, and of course, food,” Katie Chriest, Sustainable Food Systems Program coordinator with Penn State's Sustainability Institute, said in a news release. “Each year we love to host Harvest Fest because it gives students, faculty and staff, and community members the chance to see how their support of the Student Farm has paid off over the last year and continues to help it to flourish. Especially as we move into a time of expansion, the encouragement that we receive from all of these outside contacts is more important than ever."
Food will be available for purchase from Campus Catering, with dishes also prepared by chefs from Housing and Food Services and chefs-in-training from Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Free buses to the farm will depart at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. from the Ag Administration Building, near the Berkey Creamery pullout, and will return at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The festival will be held rain or shine. Attendees are advised to wear closed-toe shoes and bring reusable water bottles, blankets and lawn chairs to sit in the grass.
The Student Farm was established in 2016 when it was granted a 1-acre plot of land for a three-year pilot, with a mission to educate about sustainable food systems, increase access to locally sourced produce and build a community. The farm is planning to expand this year.
“We’ve just reached the end of those three years and have been approved for permanency,” club executive director Jess Chou said in a news release. “We are going to expand to be about three times the size of the current farm.”
Plans for the new site include a pavilion, an outdoor kitchen and expansion of high-tunnel space.
Throughout the year, the Student Farm Club does workshops, outreach events, educational activities, cooking events, harvesting and a plant sale. The farm offers a community-supported agriculture component, allowing people to buy in and get a share of produce.
Unsold produce is donated to the Lion Pantry and other organizations