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The Long Lane Farm Club is spearheading the fourth annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 20 for the Wesleyan and local community. The event will be held at the student-run Long Lane Farm.
Posted 10.16.07

Farmers' Market, Cob-Oven Demos at Pumpkin Fest 2007

The Wesleyan community and people from the surrounding area can paint and purchase pumpkins during the fourth annual Long Lane Farm Pumpkin Festival Oct. 20.

The event offers educational composting and organic gardening workshops, beekeeping, pumpkin face painting, tours of the farm, T-shirt designing, free bike tune-ups, garlic planting, music by student and local bands, games and a farmer's market, selling farm produce and pumpkins. Long Lane Farm Club members will also offer demonstrations of the “cob oven” they constructed last summer.

“Pumpkin Fest is a chance to celebrate fall harvest and the changing of seasons, to bring together folks with connections to long lane both from Wesleyan and the broader Middletown sphere, and to make the farm accessible to students who miss out on the summer season when it is most alive and productive,” says Long Lane Farm Club member Jordan Schmidt ’08.

Although the farm successfully produces more than 80 different types of vegetables from eggplants to tomatillos, the pumpkin patch never produced a successful harvest until this year. Schmidt says the farm will display their 20 “own big beautiful pumpkins” at the fest, and supplement them with pumpkins and apples grown at an eco-friendly orchard in Meriden, Conn.

The Long Lane Farm was created in 2004 so students would have a place to come together and learn about food security issues. Students have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of running the farm.

People of all ages are welcome to participate in Pumpkin Fest activities.

Farm Club member Grace Lesser ’08 says Pumpkin Fest provides an excellent opportunity to introduce children to organic farming. As a freshman, she brought a class of students from a local elementary school to Middletown’s Washington Street Community Garden, and helped them plant a plot with lettuce, carrots and flowers, and met those students three months later to harvest to their crops.

“Some of these students had no idea where their vegetables at dinner came from, and definitely no idea that they could in fact eat food that they, themselves planted,” Lesser says.

The Long Lane Farming Club is extending festival activities into a series of other events highlighting the exploration of urban agriculture and broader food-agriculture interaction.

On Oct. 18, the farm club and Environmental Studies Certificate Program will host the agricultural film, "The Future of Food" from 8 to 10 p.m. in PAC 001; on Oct. 19, the Farming Club will meet between 2 and 5 p.m. to make pizza in their cob oven and work on the farm. At 7 p.m. Oct. 19, Scott Kellogg, co-founder of the Rhizome Collective, will discuss Urban Agriculture in the Russell House. The Rhizome Collective operates out of a self-renovated building in urban Austin, Texas where they work on creating accessible forms of autonomous energy and growing their own food using recycled water and nutrients from the available city-scape.

The 2007 Pumpkin Fest will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the Long Lane Farm. The farm is located at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street, south of Physical Plant and Wesleyan University Press. Admission and activities are free. This year's special musical guest is the band Busted Roses.

”I hope people can come out and have a good time, meet some new folks, share good food, become familiarized with the fall tasks of organic gardening, and just feel comfortable hanging out at the farm,” Schmidt says. “

The event is sponsored by the Environmental Studies Certificate Program, First Year Matters and Student Budget Committee. For more information contact Valerie Marinelli at 860-685-3733.
 
By Olivia Bartlett, Wesleyan Connection editor