Duke Farm Celebrates First Birthday With a Hoop House

By Sarah McGowan, Marketing Manager

Putting up the hoop house

The student-run campus farm at Duke University in Durham, NC, had a successful first year. Students got involved to plant and harvest and the team at Bon Appétit has enjoyed watching and cheering the progress of the farm — and of course, loved cooking with the beautiful produce — but one thing was clear to everyone at the end of the first year: a longer growing season would be wonderful.

A hoop house — a lightweight, mobile greenhouse — is one way to extend the season, increase variety, and provide protection against pests and elements. So a group of Bon Appétit folks, including Nate Peterson, resident district manager; Emanuel May, Great Hall managing director; Mike Moroni, director of residential operations; Sarah McGowan, marketing manager; and Nicole Tocco, food service manager, spent a gorgeous Saturday afternoon out at the farm digging, hammering, and harvesting. By the end of the day, the entire hoop house frame was in place!

The managers at Duke always enjoy helping out at the farm, but perhaps the most rewarding part of the experience was seeing the growth of knowledge and experience among the student farmers over one year. Their enthusiasm makes it great to be part of the Duke community!