By: René McCracken, NTCC Director of Agriculture
NTCC students and faculty are working persistently between rains to prepare the Sustainable Market Garden for the 2ndannual Springfest set for March 29-30th. “In response and celebration of National Ag Week (10-16), we are delighted to open our gates and share our farm with the community in hopes to instigate an appreciation for farming.” said Director Rene’ McCracken. “While we cannot hope to have a “perfect” farm we do strive to provide a living example of what is possible for small farm operators.”
Building a Sustainable Market Farm
Historically, at 2886 FM 1735 in Mount Pleasant a 400 acre farm bore the Northeast Campus in 1985. Later, with the completion of the Elizabeth Hoggatt Whatley Complex in 2011 and new Sustainable Agriculture Degree and Certification options were a first in the state and a vision of a Sustainable Market Farm was planned. Today, with every season and semester change, the 12 acres surrounding the ag complex transform gradually and naturally into the “living example” college leadership had in mind for a sustainable demonstration farm. Creative ideas continue to come from student and staff plus resources from grants and private donations to build the dream farm unit. “I enjoy working with our students to test out farming hacks found on the “internet” and determining if they actually work in an east Texas small farm” shared McCracken. Current projects include: Hugelkulture bed, keyhole garden, compost tea, meat goats, backyard chicken flock for egg production, weeding geese, cover crops for gardens and pastures, muscadine vineyard, greenhouse production of vegetable transplants and rainwater harvesting and run-off management. Each of these sustainable spaces will be open for free hands-on access to experience a living sustainable farm.
Celebrate National Ag Day NTCC Farm Open House:To celebrate national ag day – come out to NTCC Farm Open House – Fri, Mar 29th11 am to 5:30 pm and Sat, Mar 30th 9 am to 2 pm. Stop by and shop with our great booth spots, purchase plants, or just come and spend the day with us and check out the Sustainable Demonstration Farm, Purchase Transplants from our Greenhouse, set up a booth and sell your farm or yard sale items, $5 chicken spaghetti meal and/or learn about the exciting world of agriculture NTCC style! For more info: contact Rene’ McCracken at email@example.com 903-434-8267.