Painted Turtle Farm

The Painted Turtle Farm is a campus-community hub for food justice. We are creating Campus and community partnerships to enable success and sustainability.

We are a Certified Naturally Grown campus-community garden where students and local immigrant families work together to:

Logo for certified naturally grown
  1. share food traditions, grow vegetables and create a discourse on sustainable agriculture
  2. increase the availability of fresh, culturally-desirable food
  3. be a center for community organizing and reflection for social and systemic change

The garden is located on roughly 3/4 of an acre northwest of campus, past the West Building next to the Observatory. Currently, a 4,000 square foot community garden is cultivated and there are plots for 16 families. In addition, one room in the Science Center greenhouse is reserved for the PTF to start crops in the early spring, grow herbs for their annual fundraiser, and to extend the growing season into the fall and winter months.

The Painted Turtle Farm, an organic student garden at Gettysburg College, was initiated during the 2005-2006 academic year as a senior project of student Freya Gibbon ’07 with the support of several other Gettysburg College students and Dr. Randall Wilson of the Environmental Studies Department. Grant funding was provided by the Mellon Grant for Faculty Student Research, the Center for Public Service, the Environmental Studies Department, and by the student environmental club, G.E.C.O. The farm is named after a small friend found at the garden site in 2005 after a heavy rainstorm.

Student volunteers have been involved in all aspects of small scale organic agriculture and manage projects year-round, including planning, planting, growing, and harvesting a variety of fruits and vegetables, to improving soil integrity and biodiversity in the local ecosystems, to reaching out and educating the student body, children and local community about the importance of local and sustainable agriculture. From the beginning, the Painted Turtle Farm has been committed to four key components: Outreach, Education, Research and Sustainability.

The garden also provides experience, research opportunities and internships for students within a variety of departments and especially Environmental Studies.

In March 2013, the Painted Turtle Farm transitioned into a community garden and training center to meet the growing interest and need for food justice in Adams County. It also became Certified Naturally Grown. By 2019, the farm hosted 30 plots for immigrant families, a 25 member Community Supported Agricuilture program and a high tunnel to extend the growing season.

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