Luther College is proud to produce locally grown, organic food throughout the year for its Dining Services locations on campus. Approximately an acre of land, the farm is situated just west of Luther’s main campus. A team of Luther students plant, weed, and harvest a variety of products through sustainable practices in cooperation with Luther’s Dining Services provider, Sodexo.
In 2014, Luther Gardens constructed a 2,880ft² high tunnel to extend its production season. This free-standing, covered structure uses passive ventilation for air exchange and cooling, as well as an irrigation system for crop production. With more moderate temperature fluctuations and a protected environment, the high tunnel allows the Luther Gardens staff to grow produce earlier in the spring and later in the fall. This hybrid between open field and greenhouse production has provided Luther students with a unique educational opportunity in the field of sustainable agriculture.
Also called "low tunnels," quick hoops work to modestly extend the growing season by providing a slightly warmer climate at the beginning and end of the growing season. These constructions are a much simpler version of a hoop house and are becoming very popular with many gardeners as an inexpensive and fairly easy way to lengthen the season.
This technique is helpful for extending mixed greens and head lettuce into the fall and works well to protect crops in the Spring when they are vulnerable to late frosts. This procedure has many benefits to both farmers and the people who buy from them. Not only do the quick hoops help extend the season and increase yields, they also help to reduce pesticide use, keeping vital nutrients in the soil. They also work to increase the availability of locally grown food in a conservation-friendly way.
Luther has two edible landscapes on central campus. The goals of these edible landscapes are to demonstrate the beauty of diverse vegetables and edible flowers, reconnect people with food plants and inspire visitors to consider including edibles in their own home landscapes. One garden is located between Valders Hall of Science and the Valders Greenhouse and the other can be found between Ylvisaker Hall and Miller/Dieseth Halls.
The fences around the gardens are there to keep the deer and rabbits out. Don't let the fences deter you! Walk on in to explore, eat and take notice of the beauty of the flowers and vegetables around you. The gardens are managed by Luther Grounds. Every year you will find new and different varieties planted but you can almost always find some of your favorite standbys like tomatoes, peppers, basil and beans.
Luther's community garden allows community members to learn more about gardening first-hand and offers the following services: