Friday, February 11, 2011

How SVF Came to Be

Spring Valley Farm is officially under way! Weve been here for a little under a month now and figure it would only be appropriate to share the story of how Spring Valley Farm got started.

Spring Valley began when Matt Oricchio, a Horticulture major at UConn, envisioned a place that would allow students to develop an interest in organic farming.  His vision stemmed from his experiences as a teenager, experimenting with growing plants and raising chickens in his backyard (quite to his parents dismay, he may add).  He eventually proposed the idea to the University, asking permission to establish the farm with the help of another student named Jess. Residential Life supported their ideas and worked with them to provide the housing for the farm. The two moved in during the beginning of the spring semester of their Senior year in 2010 where they hastily got to work, clearing a one acre plot for a variety of garden vegetables.  Both had an interest in poultry farming, so they also decided to build a chicken coop where they raised a small flock of chickens. 
As summer approached Jess and Matt both graduated, however, the two resolved to live and work on the farm for the rest of the growing season. It was during this time that Spring Valley fully came together.  They established a partnership with Dining Services who agreed to buy produce from the farm which is used at the on-campus restaurant Chuck and Augies. They also began selling at farmers markets, creating a name for Spring Valley within the local community. 

Even though they had put so much work into the farm, Matt and Jess knew they had to pass it on to other UConn students. In the fall of 2010, they planned for students from the EcoHouse learning community to move in the following spring semester. They held workshops for interested EcoHouse students, teaching them how to plant and harvest the crops and take care of the chickens. It was then that Lucy, Trevor, Andrew and I (Katie) decided to take the plunge and be a part of Spring Valleys history.

Lucy, Trevor, Katie, Andrew

Peace, love and carrots, 

Lucy, Trevor, Katie, and Andrew

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