I'm glad to see I'm not the only one whose corn fell over in the storm!I'm glad to see I'm not the only one whose corn fell over in the storm!
Vegetable garden with farm buildings in the backgroundVegetable garden with farm buildings in the background
Yellow squashYellow squash
ZucchiniZucchini
Cuc!Cuc!
How clever. Using cattle panel as an archway for cucumbers to grow on.How clever. Using cattle panel as an archway for cucumbers to grow on.
This photo captures about 3/4 of Bradford's vegetable plotThis photo captures about 3/4 of Bradford's vegetable plot
That is one determined melon plant!That is one determined melon plant!
Prairie blazing star, one of my favourite native plants. Definitely going to be growing this in the future.Prairie blazing star, one of my favourite native plants. Definitely going to be growing this in the future.
I don't know what those purple cattail things are, but how cool is that!I don't know what those purple cattail things are, but how cool is that!
Bradford grows a huge variety of tomatoes and peppersBradford grows a huge variety of tomatoes and peppers
Hoop house where they primarily grow tomatoesHoop house where they primarily grow tomatoes
Poster showing Bradford's zero carbon footprint systemPoster showing Bradford's zero carbon footprint system
Who doesn't love a good wagon ride?Who doesn't love a good wagon ride?
  • I'm glad to see I'm not the only one whose corn fell over in the storm!
  • Vegetable garden with farm buildings in the background
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Cuc!
  • How clever. Using cattle panel as an archway for cucumbers to grow on.
  • This photo captures about 3/4 of Bradford's vegetable plot
  • That is one determined melon plant!
  • Prairie blazing star, one of my favourite native plants. Definitely going to be growing this in the future.
  • I don't know what those purple cattail things are, but how cool is that!
  • Bradford grows a huge variety of tomatoes and peppers
  • Hoop house where they primarily grow tomatoes
  • Poster showing Bradford's zero carbon footprint system
  • Who doesn't love a good wagon ride?

As part of my real job, I’ve spent the last two days providing a training for nutrition educators who came in to Columbia from across the state. Initially we were going to have the training on campus, but with increased interest in the training the room we had booked eventually became too small.

We ended up booking the meeting center at Bradford Research and Extension Center instead, and wow, I am so glad we did. What an amazing place!

Bradford is a research farm owned by the university, so I expected research fields of corn and soybeans. And they do have that, but they have so much more!

What really impressed me when we first visited was the huge plot where they were growing vegetables. And not just for field trials – but to eat! They’ve recently connected with Campus Dining, and are now growing vegetables to be used specifically in the university’s dining halls. This makes so much sense!

Bradford also noticed that Campus Dining generates a lot of food waste. Like, a LOT of waste. Unfortunately food waste is a normal part of food service-type businesses. Bradford realized they could capture the waste and turn it into something useful. They’re now collecting the food waste, mixing it with horse manure and sawdust from the university’s horse farm to get the ideal carbon/nitrogen composting ratio, and creating fertilizer. The fertilizer is used to grow more vegetables.

And it doesn’t stop there. Campus Dining also generates a lot of waste vegetable oil. Bradford is capturing the oil from the waste stream, and is going to turn it into biodiesel. The biodiesel will be used to fuel the trucks that transport the vegetables to campus, and the waste back to the farm. It’s a closed loop system.

I get really excited about this type of stuff. This is the type of stuff that makes so much stupid sense it’s hard to believe our food system was ever built the way it was. How did we get so far removed from local foods?

Tim from Bradford even gave us an awesome wagon ride tour and showed us different parts of the farm related to vegetable production. They have a ton of cool stuff going on.

Keep an eye out for their Tomato Festival coming up on September 9. Amazingly, it is free to the public! I will definitely be putting it on my calendar. It looks like they haven’t posted details about this year’s event yet, but here’s the information from last year.

I also chatted with Tim a little bit about my corntastrophe. He told me to just leave the corn where it fell over, because trying to stand it back upright could potentially break the fragile stalks. He said they would eventually start growing back up towards the light, and would probably still make full ears just fine.

One day later, and they’ve done just that. The stalks are starting to curve back upright, and are holding their tassels up high and proud. Thanks, Tim! Here’s hoping we still get corn.

6 Responses to “Farm Spotlight: Bradford Farm”

  1. Megan
    23 July 2010 at 8:17 am #

    The purple cattail things are “Purple Majesty Millet”. Grown as an ornamental annual.

  2. CoMo Homestead
    23 July 2010 at 9:10 am #

    Awesome, thanks!

  3. What Pigs Don't Know
    23 July 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    Thanks for this post. I love reading about initiatives such as what’s going on at Bradford. And how great is it that you have a job where you can make a positive impact on so many kids?!? I think it’s awesome. -Carrie

  4. CoMo Homestead
    24 July 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    Carrie, thanks! I am easily distracted by day-to-day challenges and issues, so it is good to have a reminder of what we’re all trying to accomplish. Thanks for the upper!

  5. Jessica
    1 August 2010 at 1:33 am #

    Haha, always a small world. I work for Plant Sciences, and have projects at Bradford with the professors I design for. I love the place and if you ever want to go over just to check things out, let me know. The wealth of knowledge in that department astounds me.

    And definitely let me know if you want to hit up the Tomato Festival, I’d love to go again!

  6. CoMo Homestead
    2 August 2010 at 9:12 am #

    I just realized I have something else going on on September 9 and won’t be able to make it to the Tomato Festival. Bummer. Next year!


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