GVSU’s Farm Manager Promotes Diversity at the Sustainable Agriculture Project

Youssef Darwich is the Farm Manager of Grand Valley’s Sustainable Agriculture Project (SAP). The Sustainable Agriculture Project is a physical place, and a scientific station, where students can go to research plants, the environment, human-environmental interaction, systems thinking, and community. It is also a laboratory where students can learn quantitative and critical thinking skills relating to soil, water, plant life, climate change, and the environment. It is also a working studio space and gallery for artists, a field site with a ready-made community of people on a small working farm perfect for sociological study. Finally, it is a business that produces and sells food to support the activities of the SAP.

As Farm Manager, Youssef works to create space for students from all backgrounds and disciplines to feel welcomed and engaged. He explains that diversity among the students at the SAP promotes resilience and productivity, just as each species has a role on the farm, each individual has a set of talents they can use to fill a niche at the SAP. The SAP provides learning opportunities for students and community members while also producing fruits, veggies, flowers, trees, and bees.

Some of Youssef’s favorite local food businesses include Ken’s Fruit Market, New City Urban Farm, and Winkle Chestnut Farm.

Click here to read more about the Sustainable Agriculture Project.

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