Stanford Roots members Sicada Sloan (left) and George Rojano (right) harvest cherry tomatoes for donation. (Photo Credit: Lindsay Filgas)
Stanford Farmers club reinvents vision, changes name to Stanford Roots
The student group’s new name comes with a refocused mission to center the importance of human connection to land and indigenous knowledge in agricultural systems.
The student group formerly known as Stanford Farmers was officially created in 2017 to offer students more ownership in developing the student community at the O’Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm. Two years later, its members have rebranded the club as Stanford Roots, which emphasizes the connection to land and commitment to service that its members value.
The name change also accompanied a modification to its constitution to reflect a shift in the club’s vision. President Lindsay Filgas, ’22, said the new constitution includes “a lot more about the human connection to place, land, environmental justice, and the historic and cultural value of the land we use.”
Undergraduates founded Stanford Roots to provide opportunities for student engagement, stewardship, and leadership at the Stanford farm. Its members aim to connect people, primarily through experiential learning centered on food systems and their social implications – and the club’s events provide ample opportunities for those connections.
In October, the group held its annual Harvest Festival to celebrate the bounty of the Earth and kick off the coming holiday season. They will host “Earth Tones” in the spring, a gathering started by Earth Systems alumna Daryll Scott, BS ’17, MS ’19, which brings voices of color to the center of the environmental movement and celebrates the progress that movement has made. Club members also organize weekly harvests on Wednesdays to pick excess crops and donate them to people and organizations in need. The various opportunities have been created to expose the larger Stanford community to the farm and make it a space where everyone feels welcome.
Agriculture has not always had the high-input, industrial single-crop practices that are common today, and the club’s new vision reflects the importance of indigenous knowledge in agricultural conservation. Its members are also continuing to focus on emotional components of learning from the farm through cooking, art, and better understanding the agro-ecological system.
Filgas said the group worked to incorporate its growing membership during autumn quarter and she is excited about its ability to take on more projects. It was her first quarter in this new leadership role, an experience she described as stressful but fulfilling.
“There’s not a set path to follow, so you are kind of trailblazing,” she said. While Filgas expected reorganizing the club to be busy, she said she was pleasantly surprised by the excitement and incredible background knowledge the other members have brought to the group.
A sophomore majoring in Earth Systems,Filgas first became interested in the farm as a freshman. She had taken an environmental science class in high school and loved learning about soil and food systems. After going to the first couple of meetings for Stanford Farmers, she became increasingly drawn to its engaged community.
“I just kept coming back to the farm because it’s such a beautiful place … it’s work, but it’s so fulfilling,” she said. “It just feels good to be doing something with your hands and to know that you are harvesting this food that is going to feed someone.”