Great Outdoors: UMD Land Lab

DULUTH, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Duluth Land Lab was recently voted one of the top college farms in the country.

The UMD Land Lab is a thirty acre farm off of Jean Duluth Road. It started in 2009 and has been expanding ever since.

Now, more than a thousand students visit every year.

“Being able to have such a hands–on learning experience where you get to eat your homework and get out of the classroom and really create something has been really valuable,” said student worker Cole Grotting.

The site features a landscape scale classroom for students, enriches the community through engagement programs, and serves as a research lab to study sustainable food, water, and biodiversity.

“Sustainability is the key goal of this twenty–first century in Duluth and everywhere else on the planet,” said Randal Hanson, the land lab director.

Twelve student workers, a farm manager, and many volunteers keep the farm running all year.

Food grown on the farm is even served by UMD Dining Services.

“It’s cool to see all the work you’ve been doing make an actual impact on the campus,” said Grotting.

Students and volunteers get their hands dirty while figuring out better processes for the university and the globe.

“The world is unsustainable and many of our human infrastructures, food and water and transportation and housing are going to have to be evolved to more elegantly interact with how the planet functions,” said Hanson.

In 2016, the land lab produced about 40,000 pounds of produce.

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