UMD Students Hard at Work at Land Lab

UMD Land Lab is a research center located just five miles away from UMD's campus.

DULUTH, Minn. – UMD Land Lab is a research center located just five miles away from UMD’s campus.

“It’s kind of a hub for student learning and community-based learning around sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and building a hub for food systems and local farming around here,” said Cole Grotting, a farm manager at UMD Land Lab.

Students come and do hands-on projects with anything from soil to plant ecology and native pollinators. It is also a place where people are taught where food comes from.

“I think it’s a really good way for students to get their hands dirty and actually kind of do something tangible with the course material that they have,” said Grotting. “Also, I think the connection to the food system is really huge.”

Workers say it’s important to know where your food comes from and the impact you have on the environment.

Mealat Worku is an intern at the Land Lab and started there this past summer. She’s excited to be working at the lab, specifically with compost.

“I’m really excited to be out here over the summer,” said Worku. “Due to the pandemic, not everyone can be out and about doing stuff but I consider this to be an essential service. You know, we do have to provide food and we do have to provide ways where we have to provide food for the future.”

The farm typically produces 20 to 30,000 pounds of food normally, but they’ve had to scale back a lot this year due to the pandemic after opening about a month ago.

Participants say it feels good to be working on projects at the Land Lab.

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