The Food, Agriculture & Resource Management (FARM) Lab is an initiative born of the Revolutionary Challenge, through which the Dickinson community submitted ideas on how to move the college meaningfully into the future.
FARM Lab will create a new facility supporting research, coursework and co-curricular programs at Dickinson’s 80-acre organic farm—already a hub for research, organic farming, community outreach and civic engagement since its founding in 2007. And it’s just gotten a $150,000 grant to start phase two of the planning process.
“We’re grateful for the support from the Berks County Community Foundation, who share our desire to design and construct a facility that not only fills programmatic needs but also tackles big issues through sustainable resource use, conservation practices and innovative green technologies,” says Jenn Halpin, the farm’s director, noting that the grant was provided in collaboration with the Metropolitan Edison Company Endowed Sustainable Energy Fund. “The funding will help sustain the momentum of the FARM Lab project, enabling our team to put ideas into a tangible architectural rendering that will enable us to fundraise for the construction of the facility.”
With phase one funding already in place, thanks to generous support from alumni, parents and friends of the college who have contributed $145,000 to get the project off the ground, phase two will include work with architect firm Re:Vision on schematic design and design development. Halpin notes that the structure will host lessons in alternative energies, carbon neutrality and sustainable technologies in action and facilitate long-term ecological studies.
“We’re so excited and grateful to receive the Sustainable Energy Fund grant, which will allow us to advance the FARM Lab project without the use of any college operating funds,” says Ken Shultes, associate vice president for sustainability & facilities planning. “As the design elements of the project evolve, we are confident that this unique, innovative and sustainable project will continue to garner outside enthusiasm and support."
FARM Lab is one of several initiatives that are part of Dickinson Forward, a multifaceted effort to position Dickinson to excel and build on the college’s momentum and standing as a global leader.
Published November 9, 2022