First Screening of the Kate Farm Film Series: Sustainable Event at the Campus Farm

In an effort to create a sustainable event and bring awareness to the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm, Sarah Jeffrey (‘20) organized the Kate Farm Film Series. On Friday Oct. 25, Jeffrey screened “The Last Honey Hunter,” a short documentary, at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Campus Farm using solar power to run the projector as part of the film series.

Jeffrey is an environmental studies major and said she “really wanted to do something on campus that would be inclusive and engaging for the whole student body.” With the help of environmental studies Professor Barry Muchnick, PhD, Jeffrey organized the event independently of any clubs but with the goal of bringing attention to the Gardening and Beekeeping Club as well as the Campus Farm. “I think St. Mary’s is lacking a little bit in sustainable, environmentally charged activities and I thought this would be a cool way to publicize the Campus Farm,” Jeffrey said she hopes the event will get more students and community members involved with the Campus Farm.

Professor Muchnick was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven according to an announcement on InsideSMCM. The grant money is to “support research, development, and implementation of new programming at the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm through enhanced partnerships between St. Mary’s College and Historic St. Mary’s City.”

Enso Kitchen donated donuts to be sold at the event, with profits from the sale going to the Campus Farm. On the day of the screening, Jeffrey had help from other students with setting up the event and selling donuts. The event itself was relatively easy to run. Jeffrey said she “just needed to get some equipment from the media center, make a flyer and we projected the movie onto the side of the barn.” The event was powered by the solar trailer that is used by the Tiny House on campus. 

Jeffrey plans to continue the series with more events coming in the future, adding “I think outdoor activities are something that everyone enjoys and this is the kind of outdoor activity that requires the least amount of effort, you’re just sitting and watching a movie.”

In upper level Environmental Studies classes, Jeffrey says “we talk a lot about what interdisciplinary sustainability is and how important it is for students to take the initiative and not just wait for something to happen.” She added that “students have a huge responsibility when it comes to getting projects like this off the ground and up and running, […] it is our responsibility to say ‘hey this is important’ and act on it.”

Jeffrey chose to screen “The Last Honey Hunter,” released in 2017, because it was short and engaging and has recently been released for free streaming. “The Last Honey Hunter” is about a man in Nepal who cuts honeycombs on the cliffs of the Hongu River valley.

The series is named after Kate Chandler, who was a professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) before she passed away in April of 2017 after battling cancer for two years. She helped found the Environmental Studies Program at SMCM and was the faculty advisor for the Campus Community Farm. The Campus Community Farm was renamed the Kate Chandler Campus Community Farm after her passing. Although Jeffrey said she didn’t personally know Kate Chandler, she said “the mark that [Kate Chandler] left on St. Mary’s was really profound. I think for someone that had put sustainability and environmentalism as a priority in their life and in the lives of students as well, I mean it’s the least we can do to include her name. […] It just made sense.”

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