Academics at Book & Plow

Book & Plow is a student-centered farm that grows vegetables well. Nearly 300 students visit the farm each year for experiences ranging from social events and 1-hour farm tours to work study and summer internships. Together with the students, we farm seven acres of Amherst College land, producing a diverse offering of vegetables for the campus dining services and a fall vegetable CSA program for staff, faculty, and community members. We also organize and host social and educational events, and offer community and team building opportunities on the farm. There are few ways Book & Plow can be an academic resource to you and your students: 

Use the farm as your classroom space--we have a shaded area and picnic tables available. Maida Ives, our Manager of Farm Education and Operations would be happy to check that the tables are available for you (Recommended notice: one week) 

Connect aspects of Book & Plow to your course, either on farm or in the classroom.

Maida would be happy to work with you to plan a section of a course where the Farm can serve as a case-study or test subject, including, but not limited to topics such as food justice, sustainable agriculture, environmental humanities, ecosystem ecology, or plant biology.  (Recommended notice: four or more weeks. A copy of the course outline/reading material is appreciated)

Click here to sign up for an academic collaboration with Book & Plow! 

Students gathered in greenhouse in a circle having a class discussion

These are just a few of the courses that have collaborated with the farm in the past:

  • GEO 112 Surficial Earth Dynamics: Climate, Environment, and Life with Dave Jones
    • Farm Tour with Lecture and Discussion on the importance of Cover Crops to soil aggregates, and carbon sequestration.
    • Lab activity analysing Farm Field's soil type.
  • CHEM 100 Molecular Gastronomy with Pat O’Hara
    • Lecture about the Farm Season and Crop Planning for the Dining Hall
    • Guest Judge at Cooking Lab
  • ECON 111E with Kate Sims
    • Test the production function with a greenhouse seeding experiment--what was the optimal team size to do the job?
    • Virtual lecture/discussion about the ecological and political impact of GMO crops.
  • BIOL 104 with Rachel Levin
    • Virtual lecture on the farm's sustainability practices.
  • DAN 216H Contemporary Dance Technique with Jenna Riegel
    • Tour of farm and conversation about body mechanics and how farming can both nourish and deplete the body.
  • SPAN 101 with Sarah Piazza
    • Farm tour and conversation about a typical farming season in Spanish
  • ENST 226 Unequal Footprints on the Earth with Hannah Holleman
    • One on-farm and one-virtual discussion about B&P, Farming and Climate Change, and Food Insecurity in Western MA
  • ANTH 325 Protest! with Hannah Holleman
    • Virtual discussion on farm-workers' movement for justice.
  • ENG 162 Black (On) Earth with Rhonda Cobham-Sander
    • On farm tour and discussion about anti-Blacl racism in US agricultural history.
  • FYSE 101 The Soviet Experiment with Cathy Ciepiela
    • On farm tour and conversation about social interactions developed while farming together.
  • FYSE 110 Encounters with Nature with Nicola Courtwright
    • On farm tour and cherry tomato harvest.

We are also happy to support student assignments and projects, including providing space on the farm to grow plants or develop a project, one-on-one interviews, and connecting students with area farmers and food systems resources.