Experiential Learning

Experiential learning and hands-on practice is central to our program. We encourage our students to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty! Over the years, SFF students have initiated countless hands-on learning projects that have become central to their learning experience here at UMass. Below are some of the projects and initiatives created and run by students that they can earn academic credit for participating in.  


UMass Student Farm

The 2018 UMass Student Farm crew.

The UMass Student Farm is a full year academic program that offers students an opportunity to gain hands-on year found farming and marketing experience. Now in their 13th growing season, the UMass Student Farm was recently ranked the 5th best college farm in the U.S. Student farmers manage 14 acres of land, have a 125-member CSA share, and sell to four Big Y locations, UMass Dining, and student businesses on campus.

UMass Permaculture

Harvesting herbs from the permaculture garden outside of Franklin Dining Commons.

UMass Permaculture was created by a group of Stockbridge students in 2010 to provide empowering hands-on education and leadership training, community engagement, and fresh, local, organic produce and herbs to the UMass campus. The initiative builds and maintains highly productive, highly educational edible gardens right on campus designed using permaculture principles.

Food For All Program

Over 500 lbs of gleaned sweet potatoes to be donated to local relief organizations.

Food For All works to address food insecurity in Amherst and educate our community about food justice. They have produced and recovered organically-grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers to donate to local relief organizations Not Bread Alone Soup Kitchen and the Amherst Survival Center since 2014. In 2018 they donated over 10,000 pounds of food!

Amherst School Gardens Project

Planting a tree at Wildwood Elementary in Amherst.

Students work with K-6 teachers to help design, install, and maintain community gardens outside of local elementary schools. These gardens act as living classrooms where youth can get their hands dirty, learn lessons from nature, and apply their knowledge gained in the classroom. UMass students get the opportunity to work with the youth and design and implement curriculum that adhere to the MA learning standards.


See more of our student projects and activities!

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