VERMILLION, S.D. -- Ten students from the University of South Dakota recently traveled to Mission Hill, S.D., to work with Hebda Family Produce, a community-supported farm that practices sustainable agriculture techniques. The students assisted in weeding gardens and conducting general farm maintenance while learning about the benefits of sustainable farming and community supported agriculture.
The service-learning project took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 through the Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning (AWOL) program. AWOL designs Alternative Weekend experiences to provide students with short-term service-learning opportunities that focus on important local and regional issues. Each month a different Alternative Weekend takes place, providing an outlet for students to explore social issues relevant to the region and build a closer connection with the local community.
Like other AWOL events, Alternative Weekends are entirely student-led and included Emily Chapa of Ellsworth, Minn.; Sarah Kuegle of Rapid City, S.D.; Rachel Saltness of Rochester, Minn.; Lauren Fanta of Yankton, S.D.; Hannah Mulder of Magnolia, Minn.; Morgan Piehl of Coal City, Ill.; Janelle Galpin of Vermillion, S.D.; Allison Reuland of White Lake, S.D.; Nathan Bedoya of Yorba Linda, Calif.; and Jacob Akerson of Sioux Falls, S.D. The site leader for the event was Emily Hattouni of Lakeville, Minn.
Hebda Family Produce began in 2002 when the family’s eldest son entered vegetables grown from his backyard into the Bon Homme County Fair. Today, it is a full-scale, family-run business. Comprised of a 55-acre orchard, a berry farm and an apple shed which is used to sort more than 10 different varieties of apples; Hebda’s Family Produce employs sustainable practices and works consistently to produce chemically-free products.