news-iconLocal News: The Outback Farm

Below are sustainability-related news items throughout the Western Washington University and Bellingham-area. These items correspond to The Outback Farm.

Keep Calm And Plant On

January 26, 2015|
The AS Review
It’s no secret that many students want to grow their own veggies at home, but even just thinking about gardening amongst all of our studying and work is enough to make you push the plans aside to next year. If you have ever been worried about lack of space or time, you can take a deep breath because growing your own garden at home is not nearly as intimidating as it seems.

Even though it’s still winter in the Pacific Northwest, now is the perfect time to start planning out your garden and the Outback Farm is a great resource for getting some help. “This time of year is kind of the time to start looking at seed catalogues and what kinds of plants you want to be growing,” Outback Coordinator Liliana Morgan said. “There’s a lot of seed catalogues that are specifically tailored to this area and will have all sorts of details about what kind of soil you need to have and drainage and whether it would be appropriate to plant in the space you’re in.”

Check In With The Environmental And Sustainability Programs

January 20, 2015 |
The AS Review
With a new quarter underway, the Associated Students Environmental and Sustainability Programs are preparing a series of events for this winter to raise awareness of problems facing the environment and to encourage students to learn ways in which they can become engaged in environmental activism. ESP Director Sadie Normoyle emphasized an interest in exploring the intersection between social and environmental issues. To this effect, the office is collaborating with other groups on campus, including the Ethnic Student Center and the Social Issues Resource Center.

“Later in the quarter we’re planning to do an indigenous resistance event,” Normoyle said. “Our vision [for 2015] is a continuation of what we worked on since we started our jobs...being more inclusive in our programming and in who we reach out to.” On Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. Dhar Jamail, a journalist known for his coverage of the Iraq War, will speak in Commucations Facilities 110 on the issue of climate disruption. His talk, “Are We Off the Climate Precipice?” will focus on the science of climate disruption and mass extinctions that are currently in progress.

Outback workshop teaches seed-starting to students

April 11, 2014 |
Western Today
Western students prepare for the spring showers by learning the proper mixture and process to plant seeds in the outdoor classroom at The Outback Farm. Outback farm worker Sam Carlos led the seed-starting workshop Tuesday, April 8, as part of The Outback Farm workshop series.

The workshops happen every other week and are focused to give students a chance to be engaged in an outdoor learning environment. For Carlos, this was his first chance to lead a workshop, and was excited to share his knowledge with other students.

Outback Farm leaps into spring with planting workshop

April 7, 2014 |
The AS Review
Winter is over and the sun is finally out in Bellingham, creating the perfect weather for planting seeds. Gardening may seem impossible for those living in cramped dorm rooms and apartments, but Western’s five-acre farm and wetland restoration site, the Outback Farm, offers students the opportunity to contribute to a community garden.

To get students started, the Outback Farm is offering a free seed starting workshop on Tuesday, April 8 at 3 p.m. Associated Students Outback Assistant Coordinator Grace Coffey described the workshop as a hands-on introduction, aimed at those without a lot of experience. The workshop will educate people about starting seeds, transplanting and which soils to use.

Western’s Outback Farm wants happy chickens, new coop

January 17, 2014 |
The Western Front
Tucked away in the Associated Students Outback Farm among students’ gardens and trees are fat, fluffy chickens eating bugs in a triangular coop. A plan for a chicken tractor is in the works for the Outback Farm.

During spring quarter 2014, Western freshman Cassy Brown hopes to build a movable chicken coop, called a chicken tractor, which allows the chickens to roam around the garden. The chickens help with the labor by eating the bugs and dead plants and till the soil.

New outdoor classroom for The Outback Farm

July 11, 2013 |
Western Today
The new outdoor classroom at The Outback Farm provides space for classes such as botany and sustainable agriculture to be outside even on drizzly days.

The classroom, a structure with a roof and no walls, was completed by Facilities Management in 2012 with funding from the AS Board of Directors. The space is also used for meetings and workshops as well as club gatherings.

Welcome To The Outback Farm

October 8, 2012 |
The AS Review
The Outback Farm has been an official Associated Students program for six years, yet it's been a productive agricultural site for the community since the 1920s.

It was originally homesteaded by the Burn family where the farm sits today. Western later obtained the land and used it for the construction of school facilities and resident halls.

Students grow food for Food Bank at Outback Farm

August 31, 2012 |
Western Today
For more than 40 years the Outback Farm has been a student-run hub of hands-on agricultural education at WWU.

This year the Outback established a new community partnership with the Bellingham Food Bank. With seeds and crop guidance from the food bank, the Outback created a dedicated production effort. Every Wednesday morning, students meet to harvest vegetables and send the week's bounty to the food bank for distribution to the local community.

Western's green thumbs

September 19, 2011 |
The AS Review
When heading south beyond the Fairhaven stacks or going north through the meadow and plum orchard lays a 5-acre gem called the Outback Farm. The Outback was founded in 1972 after being an equipment storage site for Fairhaven construction; it was originally named "The Outback Pig Farm," a place where students could live and learn the ways of sustainable growing and land use. At one point there was even a fire-fueled hot tub. Volunteers ran the Outback until 2006 when the Associated Students officially sponsored the program.

Outback Farm seeks new pavilion

May 23, 2011 |
The AS Review
Over the past year, students and faculty have been developing plans for a new Outback Farm pavilion to provide stability and a safe learning environment. Now that the Outback's proposal for a new pavilion to replace the current one is nearly complete, construction could potentially start this summer, and the pavilion may be ready for use beginning fall quarter.

The Outback is a joint program of Fairhaven College and the Associated Students that maintains five acres of land between the south end of Fairhaven College and the Buchanan Towers residence hall. The Outback is entirely coordinated and maintained by students in an effort to teach sustainable growing and land use methods to other students, faculty and the Bellingham community.

Fresh and Filthy: How young people are growing their own crops

April 26, 2011 |
The Western Front
The long, dark winter has turned into only a slightly warmer spring. But it's planting season and the bleak weather won't stop those who are itching to get their hands in the dirt.

Anyone can get involved with the emerging fresh farm produce on campus at the Outback Farm and in Whatcom County at nearby farms.