Celebrate sustainability this weekend

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An annual tradition since 2010, the Farm Harvest Festival will be entering its sixth year Sept. 17. Presented by the Student Sustainability Council (SSC), this is a fun-focused event that allows Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) students, faculty, staff and other community members to enjoy the University Farm, learn about the food services it provides to the university and become immersed in campus sustainability initiatives. Last year The Daily announced that Farm Harvest Festival was voted CWRU’s second most popular event after Homecoming.

Second-year student Catherine Chenevak explained why the event was created: “Farm Harvest Festival was created to bring students’ attention to the resources and services available at the University Farm. A surprising amount of CWRU students and community members have never actually been out to the Farm. Fall Harvest Festival allows them to learn about the many nature exploration and research opportunities at the Farm. The activities at Farm Harvest Festival also engage attendees in the various sustainability initiatives there and on campus.”

As past sustainability initiatives, such as switching the plastic bags often used at Grab It and Bag It to reusable ones, show CWRU students want to be greener. Chenevak explained that location sets the Farm Harvest Festival apart from other initiatives: “[The location] allows for attendees to interact with nature and enjoy our beautiful environment…. Our event is zero-waste: nothing at the event goes to the landfill. Everything is either recycled or composted.”

Even though this event has been going on for the past six years, it has never been the same from year to year. There are a lot of changes to be expected, as SSC has collaborated with many new organizations. These events include lessons from Judo Club, tea with Tea Club and swapping out harmful microbead products and making your own organic and natural scrubs with the Advocates for Cleveland Health. Humanitarian Design Corps will be installing new solar modules at the farm.

The activities start when people are waiting for the shuttle at Thwing. Fourth-year student Cara Fagerholm said, “Rather than just wait around, people can hang out and do some crafts and play with bubbles, along with University Programming Board’s plans for a photo booth.”

One of the biggest changes to the event this year’s Farm Harvest Festival is price. This is the first year admission is free.

“Typically, issues of environmental degradation hit the hardest for those who are economically disadvantaged, so I am particularly happy that we can be inclusive of our entire community in this celebration of sustainability,” Fagerholm said.

The sponsors for the event include The University Farm, Undergraduate Student Government, Residence Hall Association, Human Resources, the Division of Student Affairs, the Great Lakes Energy Institute, the CWRU Medical School, Support of Undergraduate Research & Creative Endeavors, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Case Alumni Association, the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, Graduate Student Council and the Alumni Association.

At it’s core, the Farm Harvest Festival hopes the guests get a clear message from the event. Chenevak said, “[The mission] is to educate CWRU…. When people leave the festival, we hope that they have become more aware of the culture of sustainability and that they feel compelled to contribute to that culture.”