The Farm at Butler University sprawls across an acre of the school’s Indianapolis, Indiana campus, creating a corner of biodiversity in the midst of the city.
Started in 2011 and managed by Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability (CUES), the farm serves as a place for students to get their hands dirty and much more. It’s an on-campus model for small-scale sustainable agriculture, a site for place-based experiential learning about food systems and sustainability, and, on Earth Day this April, the ideal place for a cooking demonstration led by the Bon Appétit at Butler team.
In collaboration with farm staff, the culinarians welcomed nearly 50 students, who made the trek across campus out to the farm. Campus Executive Chef Chad Melinger set up an outdoor kitchen and led the demonstration. He started by showing students and farm staff how to create healthy, locally sourced, and plant-forward bowls. They featured sorrel and arugula from the farm, with chickpeas, and agrodolce carrots, a sweet and sour variety that complemented the multi-layered flavors of the dish. The bowls were served to students with watermelon agua fresca and mango rice, garnished with farm-grown mint and cilantro. Leftovers were immediately packaged up and sent to Second Helpings, a local hunger-fighting non-profit.
Students also got to participate in a “pot a plant” event with farm staff. They were instructed on how to properly place seedlings into larger pots, which they could then take back to their residence halls. The Bon Appétit team, farm staff, and students then took a tour of the farm before returning to campus where more Earth Day festivities awaited them.