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Back to the roots: Students celebrate Harvest Festival

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This is the first article in a series The Daily will be publishing this week on environmentalism, showcasing various sustainability efforts across campus.

Stanford Roots hosted their annual Harvest Festival on Friday, welcoming students to the O’Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm in order to celebrate the land and promote sustainable agriculture on campus. Stanford Roots, formerly the Stanford Farmers, is a student-led organization that promotes community involvement through experiential learning and collaboration with the Farm.

“The Harvest Festival celebrates the work that goes into the farm, and shows how meaningful food systems are to the community,” said Lindsay Filgas ’22 a member of Stanford Roots and co-organizer of the event. 

Filgas, who volunteers at the farm with both organizational and manual work, said she appreciates the space as a breath of fresh air from the Stanford routine. 

“Working on the farm reminds me of the world beyond Stanford,” she said. 

Filgas expressed hope that through the activities offered at the festival, guests will consider the integral role of food systems in everyday life. 

“One huge way that you individually can have an impact on the climate is through what you eat,” Filgas said. “Eating a little bit less red meat, a little bit less chicken will go a long way.” 

Through events such as the Harvest Festival, Stanford Roots hopes to raise awareness for the relationship between human systems and environmental systems. Filgas cited that roughly 10% of U.S. CO2 emissions comes from agriculture, and hopes the festival will prompt students to be reflective about their relationship to food, consumerism and the environment.

The festival included a range of activities to engage visitors, many of whom had never visited the farm before, with sustainability and agriculture. Guests were encouraged to pick marigolds in celebration of the Mexican holiday of Dia de Los Muertos and participate in autumnal arts and crafts such as herb planting and watercolor painting.

Guests could also make homemade pizzas and pancakes using a selection of organic ingredients harvested on the farm. 

“I hope that students consider the impact of each of their daily actions,” said Tanvi Dutta Gupta ’23, a student who attended the festival. “Even just buying a coffee at the store, it’s important to consider the industrial chain behind every act of consumption.”

The festival also showcased live music from student performers including Eisenach, Pass by Catastrophe and Sister Supply. 

“It’s important to bring people together around issues relating to the environment,” Jacob Eisenach ’22 said. “Music has the power to do that.”

Filgas emphasized her intention that the festival would introduce students from many different parts of campus to the farm, and exemplify that Stanford Roots was as much about building community as planting and harvesting. 

“This was my first time at the farm, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the number of communities at Stanford that I have yet to discover,” Miriam Wallstrom ’22 said. “I definitely want to return to the farm, which felt like a peaceful haven from the bustle of other Stanford spaces.”

Contact Brooke Beyer at bbeyer ‘at’ stanford.edu

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Brooke Beyer '22 is a Desk Editor for the News section. She is originally from Los Altos, California but grew up in London and Singapore. Brooke is studying International Relations and English, with a focus on history and human rights.
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