Duke Campus Farm Catalyzing positive change in the food system

Duke Campus Farm
Away We Go to Pittsboro!

Recently, manager Emily and I drove over to Pittsboro to join NC Extension Agent Debbie Roos’ weekly tour of the Chatham Marketplace “Pollinator Paradise” garden. We arrived early and decided to peek at the student farm at the Chatham County branch of Central Carolina Community College. Farm manager Hilary noticed us wandering around, and the three of us fell into conversation about managing student farms (and managing their many people- and plant-related challenges!) Hillary invited us to observe her farm’s buildings and structures– refrigeration units, CSA prep station, storage barn, office, and more. We hope to have our own soon at DCF!

A student-made chicken house (and some of its residents)


Hil was also gracious enough to talk us through the college’s extensive sustainable ag. curriculum. Through classes focused on everything from crop production to chicken care, students have built the farm from the ground up. We absolutely loved it!Emily and I walked away inspired by the program and full of new ideas for our own operation — our conversation with Hilary was a good reminder that the DCF plays a crucial role in Duke students’ immersion in food issues, whether or not a formal academic program exists (yet!) to underlie student interest.

We were so grateful for Hilary’s time and interest in our farm. She genuinely cared about our unique story and struggles, and asked questions that helped us think through both the production and educational sides of the Duke Campus Farm. We can’t wait to return the favor, and we hope to see her and the CC farm crew in Durham soon!


They also built a pizza oven, so they must be really cool, right?


After remembering the reason we went to Pittsboro, Emily and I hopped over to the Pollinator Garden at the Chatham Marketplace co-op. Since getting into farm and garden issues in North Carolina, I have heard Debbie Roos’ name come up in many conversations. After learning from her first-hand, I now understand why she is so well-known for her expertise. This woman knows it all, from the Latin names of every single plant in the Marketplace’s extensive garden to the cures for every possible plant disease or conundrum. Debbie and this garden gave us great ideas for our own flower and herb demonstration garden at the DCF (breaking ground soon!)

Debbie sharing her encyclopedic knowledge of plant life.


I walked away from the garden beyond impressed, and couldn’t more highly recommend Debbie’s free Wednesday evening tour. Bring your questions, no matter how obscure, because she most definitely has answers!

We hope to have one of these at the DCF some day…natives, herbs, and bees, oh my!


All in all, the trip to Pittsboro was wonderful for the conversations and education it offered. The town has much to teach us about sustainable agriculture and landscaping. Thanks, Pittsboro friends!

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