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On November 1, 2017, Stanford Earth celebrated the addition of two new structures for teaching and gathering on the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm.
The new 4,000 square foot barn, made possible by a gift from Terry Huffington, '77, encloses a technology-enabled classroom, offices, processing space, and more.
Terry Huffington, '77 (third from left), pictured with (from L to R) Scott Fendorf, the Terry Huffington Professor at Stanford Earth; Professor Pamela Matson; and farm director Patrick Archie.
A space to gather and prepare food at the heart of the farm, the Welch Family Kitchen helps complete the cycle from seed to the nourishment of community.
Heidi, MBA '90, and Dave Welch with son Tom, '21 (left).
In addition to its own programs, the farm hosts classes from the entire university for field trips tailored to their teaching goals. These classes alone brought 250 Stanford students to the farm fall quarter.
"The farm is now set up as the learning center we have long been hoping for," said Matson, presiding over the event on her last day as the school's dean.
New Learning Spaces
Enhance Farm Program
Terry Huffington Barn and Welch Family Kitchen support the farm's academic mission
Guests gathered at the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm on November 1, 2017, to dedicate two new spaces for teaching, learning, and gathering: the Terry Huffington Barn and the Welch Family Kitchen.
The farm embodies Stanford Earth's commitment to addressing "big challenges" related to climate, energy, food, and water, said Pamela Matson, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Environmental Studies, presiding over the event on the last day of her 15-year tenure as dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. Speaking inside the new 4,000 square foot barn, she added, "This living laboratory will now be accessible 365 days a year."
The sustainably built barn, which encloses a technology enabled classroom, offices, processing space, and more, was made possible by a gift from Terry Huffington, '77, a longtime volunteer and board member of the school.
"The Terry Huffington Barn completes the infrastructure we need to realize our academic mission on the farm," said Patrick Archie, director of the Stanford Educational Farm Program, noting that the facility even holds a maker space for the development of "tools and systems to benefit small farms far beyond Stanford."
Huffington, who relishes the opportunity to "learn something new every day" in her second career as an organic farmer, hopes the barn will help the farm offer the same experience to others in and around the Stanford community. Citing the importance of hands-on learning experiences focused on sustainable practices, soil health, food systems, and more, she said, "When I heard a barn was needed for the farm to fully deliver its mission, I was on board before anyone asked."
Hearth and Healing
"It is by design that we saved the space at the heart of the farm for the fire," said Archie, speaking of the Welch Family Kitchen. The outdoor cooking and gathering space, connected to the barn by a small paved courtyard, was provided by a gift from Heidi, MBA '90, and Dave Welch (Parents '16, '17, '21). Two mature oak trees were relocated from other parts of campus to help define and shelter the gathering area.
"The kitchen brings us together, completing the cycle from seed to produce to shared meals," Archie said, allowing students "to learn about healthful nutrition and what it takes to sustain our bodies and our communities."
The Welch family has long been inspired by the farm's contribution to environmental education at Stanford, explained Heidi Welch, but the kitchen feels extra special because of her personal interest in food and its impact on health. "Food is more than just calories," she said. "My hope and dream is that the farm will reconnect us to our food and the power it has in healing."
With the new barn and outdoor kitchen in place, Matson said, "The farm is now set up as the learning center we have long been hoping for."
PHOTOS: Stacy Geiken