Oct 1, 2013

AWOL students learn about sustainable farming

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Twelve students from the University of South Dakota recently travelled to Mission Hill, S.D., to work with Hebda Family Produce, a community-supported agriculture farm that practices sustainable farming techniques. The students performed a wide-range of activities from picking apples to digging potatoes – all while learning about sustainable farming, community supported agriculture, the process of becoming an Organic Certified Farm, and the ways that Hebda Family Produce works to become chemically free.

The students participated in this event on Saturday, Sept. 28 through the Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning (AWOL) student organization’s Alternative Weekend program.  The Alternative Weekend program is dedicated toward providing students with short-term service-learning opportunities that focus on important local and regional issues. Each month a different Alternative Weekend takes place that provides an outlet for students to explore issues that are relevant to the Vermillion area and helps build a closer connection between students and the community.

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, the farm is a berry farm, and an apple shed which is used to sort more than 10 different varieties of apples. Hebda’s Family Produce utilizes sustainable practices and works consistently to maintain their products to remain as chemically free as possible.

About the AWOL Program

Housed in the Center for Academic Engagement, AWOL offers students the opportunity to combine community service with education during academic breaks. The AWOL program is in the eighth year on campus and the program has continued to grow. Prior to departure, students participate in six weeks of educational training. By utilizing experiences and education, AWOL enables students to become active citizens, whose community becomes a priority in their everyday life, and provides them with avenues for continued community involvement and learning. More information is available at www.usd.edu/engage/service-learning/awol-alternative-breaks.cfm.

About The Center for Academic Engagement

USD’s Center for Academic Engagement was created as a central point of contact for students to find experiential learning information, including information about service-learning, undergraduate research, study abroad and off-campus academic experiences.  The office is also a place where faculty can receive support for integrating service-learning and other experiential activities into their courses.  Finally, the CAE acts as a general volunteer clearinghouse for Vermillion and the surrounding area.  For information on upcoming events, e-mail the CAE at engage@usd.edu or visit www.usd.edu/engage.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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