Beginning of Semester Updates from the Farm

Greetings from the Farm!

As the summer winds down and the semester begins I wanted to check in and give some updates on what’s been going on at the farm and how to get involved this semester.

We had a bit of a tough summer with a couple bouts of serious heat and a pretty nasty squirrel infestation. As a result, a lot of our crops suffered, but ultimately we got through it! Unfortunately, though, we’ve now entered our most fallow period of the year. Almost all of the summer crops have reached their end and September is typically too hot to start fall planting so we wait until October to begin again. So, if you happen to find yourself down on the farm and the planting looks a bit sparse it’s just because we’re in transition. Come October, though, the farm should start to come back to normal again.

The first week of classes is ending and it’s been great to see familiar and new faces around the farm and campus. I’ve had a great time engaging with and meeting new students at a variety of events during orientation and am looking forward to welcoming new students to the farm.

With that in mind I’m happy to let you all know that our first community potluck of the year will be on Friday September 21st at 5:00pm so come join us for a nice meal down at the farm! Also before the potluck, at 4:30, we’ll be having our annual Farm Orientation where students who are currently involved with the farm will give tours and talk about the different ways to get involved.

There’s no need to wait for Farm Orientation to get involved, though. We’ll be having regular volunteer hours at the farm from 4-6pm on weekdays and 10am-12pm on Saturdays starting on Tuesday Sept. 11th. No need to sign up in advance or stay for the whole time, just come at any point in the two-hour window, find us on the farm (don’t forget to check the East Side!), and hop in.

I’m also looking for student volunteers to help take care of the chickens. It’s a super low time commitment and a great way to get some regular animal time in your life. If you’re interested let me know via email.

Finally, as always, plots on the West Side are available to check out and turn into your own garden. We have plenty of seeds, compost, and tools for you to use so all you need to do is bring yourself down to the farm! Again, let me know via email if you’re interested and I can get you set up with a plot.

As always, thanks for supporting the farm in whatever way you do and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to be in touch!

All the best,


Greetings from the New Farm Manager

Greetings friends of the farm!

My name is Peter and I’m the new farm manager and I thought I’d just send out a brief introductory email to let you know a bit about myself.

As Mary Alice said in her last email I just graduated from Pomona this May with a degree in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. I’m originally from outside of Boston and consider myself a real New Englander but I’m happy to be spending one more year in beautiful Southern California. Besides farming I love to cook (so keep an eye out for more cooking workshops this year!) and do crossword puzzles.

I’ve been working at the farm since my first semester at Pomona and I’m super excited to take on the challenge of being farm manager. Throughout my years at the farm I’ve witnessed the leadership of four great farm managers who have each brought a unique approach to managing the farm and I’m looking forward to building upon the work that they’ve put in.

As for the farm itself, summer produce is starting to get into full swing with our first tomato harvests this week (check them out on our Instagram! @pomona.farmstagram) and figs and mulberries are on their way. If you’re interested in getting a taste of our summer crops consider stopping by the Sagehen Café on campus for their lunch special with produce from the farm, available every Friday!

Throughout the summer we’ll be having our regular volunteer hours every Saturday from 10am-12pm so feel free to come on by and get your hands dirty! (NB: because of the heat I’ve decided to cancel volunteer hours this Saturday 7/7) And if getting dirty isn’t your speed just come on by and take a walk around the farm, see what’s growing, and say hi to our chickens!

For those of you in the LA area, stay cool out there, and thank you all for supporting the work we do on our little farm. I’m looking forward to a great year!



End of Year Updates 2017/2018

Greetings from the Pomona College Farm!

Another semester has come and gone, and we are in the full swing of summer at the Farm. We have been harvesting summer squash for several weeks now, along with green beans, apples, basil, and chard! We are also looking forward to tomato season and the figs and peppers to come.

This spring was bustling with activity around the Farm. The Environmental Analysis class “Food, Land, and the Environment” had lab down at the Farm every week, and we hosted several Friday night potlucks throughout the semester.  Farm Club also threw our annual spring Farm Fest in April. There were student performances, flower crown making, food, games and tie dye. It is always great to see so many new faces and spend the afternoon enjoying the space together! Thank you to everyone who was part of the Farm this spring.

This summer we have a smaller group at the Farm with most of the students being gone, but we still have a dedicated group of students working as part of our farm crew throughout the hot summer months. The summer is when the we get our largest harvest, and most of our produce is going towards our summer produce box program for faculty and staff of the college. The Sagehen Café on campus also continues to feature produce from the Farm every Friday as part of their lunch special.

I am excited to announce that Peter Staub will be our next Farm Manager starting July 1st! Peter just graduated from Pomona as a Linguistics major, and he has been working at the Farm for the last four years. It will be bittersweet to leave the Farm, but I know I leave it in good hands and am so excited to see what Peter does over the next year.

If you are in the area over the summer, feel free to come take a walk through the Farm and see what we have growing. We will also continue to hold open volunteer hours every Saturday morning from 10-12!

All the best,

Mary Alice


Spring Update/Farm Stand Today!

Hi Everyone,

Greetings from the Pomona College Farm! It is starting to feel like spring at the Farm with everything growing and flowering from the last few weeks of rain. The apple trees are blooming, and we are starting to transplant our first tomato plants into the ground for the summer season.

We will be having Farm Stand today in the Smith Campus Center courtyard from 4-5:30. We will be selling beets, collard greens, kale, snow peas, and loquats! We will also be selling tomato and basil plants grown in our green house. Come by to buy fresh produce grown right here on campus!

We continue to have volunteer hours every Thursday afternoon 4-6pm and Saturday mornings 10-12.

Hope to see many of you around the Farm in the next few weeks! Look out for an April e-mail with our end of semester events.


Mary Alice

End of Semester Updates

The end of the semester is upon us. The days are getting shorter, the chickens are going to bed earlier, and the students are departing for a well-earned month of rest.

I would like to thank everyone who came to the Farm for an event, for a stroll, or to volunteer this semester. The Farm would not continue without your support and love for the place. We are taking a break from volunteer hours during the college’s winter break, but we will return the week of January 15th. I am excited to announce that beginning next semester, we will have volunteer hours Thursday afternoons 3-5pm for students, faculty/staff, and community members in addition to our normal Saturday volunteer hours. We’ve had a lot of interest in volunteering this semester, and we want to make that opportunity more available to everyone.

Our beekeeping workshop last month was a huge success, and we hope to have another one in the spring, so stay tuned for e-mails and Facebook events. Also, if you have farm-related knowledge or a skill that you would be interested in sharing at the Farm via a workshop or talk, please e-mail me and let me know!

Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year! I hope to see many of you around the Farm in 2018!


Mary Alice

Farm Stand and Beekeeping Workshop

The semester has been flying by, and there has been constant activity at the Farm with student volunteers, employees, and chicken caretakers here every day. Even as the days grow shorter, winter crops are starting to spring up and be harvested at the Farm.  We have planted a lot of greens, broccoli, cauliflower, and beets this fall, and now we wait patiently for everything to be ready to harvest.

We have several exciting events before the end of the semester:

This Thursday November, 16th, we will be having the last Farm Stand of the semester. Farm Stand will be at the Smith Campus Center 4-5pm, and we will be selling persimmons, sapotes, sunchokes, arugula, and other produce, as well as Farm apparel!

Saturday November, 18th, we will be having a Beekeeping Workshop at the Farm from 1:30- 2:30pm. Come learn the basics of beekeeping from a local, professional beekeeper!

As always, we have Saturday volunteer hours every week from 10am- 12pm. We will not have volunteer hours the weekend of Thanksgiving, but we will be back the following Saturday, December 2nd.

I hope this finds you all well!  I know the end of the semester can be a hectic time for everyone, so please feel free to come down to the Farm to take a break and get away from campus for a bit.


Mary Alice

Greetings from the Farm!

As my first month of being farm manager comes to a close, I wanted to send out an update on everything that has been going on at the corner of 1st street and Amherst.

As of July 1st, we said goodbye to Aaron Cyr-Mutty who had been leading the Farm for the last year. We were all sad to see him go, but thankful for his year of leadership, which lives on in the thriving crops planted this spring.

Our produce is in full swing this summer, and we use most of our harvest for weekly produce boxes sold to faculty and staff of the college. We currently have an abundance of tomatoes, along with a fair amount of eggplant, chard, okra, and other crops. We also had a July pumpkin harvest, which is being stored for later this fall!

Even with most of the students being gone for the summer, there has still been a steady flow of people down at the Farm. The dedicated summer farm crew is working five days a week throughout the hot summer months, and they, along with student and community volunteers, make the Farm possible.

The Farm hosted Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) students in June and July. These PAYS students that chose to spend two afternoons a week down at the Farm learned about composting, plant identification, bed preparation, and other aspects of sustainable agriculture. They also helped us paint some of our wheelbarrows and harvested produce for an end of summer celebration!

As the summer winds to a close, we are doing some final projects to prepare for the year. We are re-mulching the paths, putting on a new coat of paint in the greenhouse, and expanding the kitchen area to have more room for potlucks this year. I am extremely excited for students to return later this month, but until then, I and the summer farmies will be soaking in the last few quiet weeks on campus before the student rush begins.

Hope you all enjoy the end of your summer! If you are in the area, feel free to come help out during Saturday volunteer hours every Saturday morning 10-12.


Mary Alice

Field Notes ’16

Hi All,

It’s been tough to find time to write a more comprehensive update about what has happened at the farm during the fall and summer, so given the rainy day and the relative lull of early January, I’ll give it a shot.

This summer was hot and dry. July and August were unrelenting, and the heat remained well into October. These conditions made for a difficult summer of growing, especially when we are growing in an area already stricken by drought. One of the easiest ways to manager heat stress in a plant is to water it from above in the midday heat – a technique you can see in use during the summer if you head south into Chino – but managing heat stress with water is not the most responsible move in southern California.

Luckily we did discover a great summer cover crop for our region – cowpea. Cowpea is a black eyed pea cultivar that does extremely well in the the summer heat, growing a thick enough canopy of foliage to shade out the soil. This helps keep that soil in good condition throughout the summer, losing less water through evaporation. Harvested young, cowpea greens can also be used as a heat tolerant spinach substitute. Other summer successes included our extremely long lived tomato plants, Italian basil that somehow refused to bolt, and the construction of a seasonal shaded nursery area (a project I hope to continue in the late spring).

By next summer, I hope to have installed a permanent shade structure for our nursery area, and a moveable tunnel shade structure to offer some shade to our succeptible summer crops. Though our greenhouse is great this time of year, in the summer our seedlings need cooler temperatures, and though plants like summer squash, eggplants, and bell peppers all enjoy the warm weather, they can all go dormant in the worst of the heat. With the help of shade cloth we can keep starting seedlings throughout the heat, and we may even be able to grow some summer greens!

The heat this fall also proved difficult, keeping us from planting our cool season crops as early as we would like. Much of what we grow during the cool season becomes heat stressed with temperatures over 85 degrees (think lettuce, peas, greens, broccoli, cabbage), and long periods of high heat can ruin the flavor and texture of certain veggies. This meant that intensive cool season planting couldn’t start until well into October. Certain plants, like our broccoli, have much lower yields due to this delay, and the lower levels of sunlight they receive during their growing season. Other plants, like greens, have been unfazed by the shorter days, and have shot up throughout the fall.

I find that I learn the most at the farm from mistakes and failures. Not just my own (though certainly that), but also past mistakes. I’ve learned more about fruit trees by watching our peaches slowly die than in any other time in my life, and though I hope to save a few with some early season care, they stand as a reminder of how not to treat a tree, and how a series of small stressors can ultimately lead to a tree’s demise. It’s not only the peach borers, or only the drought, or only the over-pruning, or only the cytospora – a healthy peach can handle all of these individually – but the combination of all these factors. Borers tend to attack drought stressed trees and cytospora infects the wounds made by the borers and pruning cuts. It makes me think a lot about stress. I’ll get back to you on that.

The more optimistic side of me says it’s all part of the cycle, and we have been planting new trees to replace the old ones as they go out. Some of our peaches are about 15 years old, which is old for a tree that has been bred to produce heavily. We’ve also been planting a ton of new native plants in the newly established grandmother garden and hope to continue to turn the garden into an educational space where people can learn, not only about California native plants, but also their uses by and importance to local tribal communities.

Speaking of cycles, the spring/summer season is already upon us! Early tomato and pepper seedlings have already sprouted up in the greenhouse, and our summer seed order is on its way. We’ll be offering a Spring Planting 101 workshop early in the season for anyone interested in learning more about what to put in the ground.

Peas and Carrots,


Claremont Food Justice Summit

Hi all,

This week kicks off the Claremont Food Justice Summit on Pomona’s campus! After months of preparation, the students organizing this event have put together a killer lineup of events and speakers spanning a wide array of topics. The Sunday of the Summit will mark the opening ceremony for the new Indigenous Heritage Garden on the north side of the West farm. The Summit is free and open to the public. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

This Wednesday from 4-6 the Farm will also be offering a workshop on propagating plant cuttings. We will be taking cuttings for the Indigenous Heritage Garden, our new pergola area, as well as for San Antonio High School. Bring a pair of pruners/scissors if you like, or we can provide a pair for you to borrow. You will be able to take plants home!

Claremont Food Justice Summit poster



Breaking New Ground

Hi all,

Spring has officially sprung and the Farm is in full bloom. Calendula, agrostemma, nasturtium, bachelors buttons, sweet peas, and more are painting the Farm in beautifully vibrant colors.

March is the time for planting so plants can establish themselves before the heat of summer kicks in, and we are excited to share that the Farm is expanding its boundaries for our new native plant garden. We are working with local Tongva elders to create an indigenous heritage garden including plants for food, medicine, spirituality, and fibers. Come help tomorrow at 4:15pm to put the first plants in the ground!

This Thursday we will be also be having a potluck at 6pm as a welcome back from Spring break!

RSVP here:

Indigenous Heritage Garden Planting

Back from Break Potluck

Peas and carrots,