Over the past few years, Goucher College’s Agricultural Cooperative (Ag Co-op) has grown in leaps and bounds. The first changes included a large and costly renovation of the garden, expanding it from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet. This expansion was complete with 7 dump truck loads of topsoil and a new wooden fence. The group also expanded their operations in the greenhouse to include a new hydroponic system and rebuilt several greenhouse beds.
Naturally, with all the expansion and growth, the costs of keeping up with what has been built have increased. The cost also became more immediate. Maren Stunes ’15, President of Ag Co-op, expressed, “If a hydroponic pump breaks, we can’t wait to fix it. It needs to be done immediately.” This was the main motivation Ag Co-op leaders had for separating from Goucher’s Student Government. Stunes indicated that Ag Co-op will have access to their ac
counts and funds through a newly formed Board of Faculty and Staff.
The Board of Faculty and Staff is a new feature of the revamped Ag Co-op leadership structure. The group of faculty and staff will provide a “range of long term supporters that can represent Ag Co-op in other areas of Goucher College,” indicated Stunes. The Board will consist of 3-5 faculty or staff members, serving three year terms. This long term commitment of the Board members will ensure smooth transitions of student leadership. The faculty members also give academic legitimacy to Ag Co-op, as seen in the summer research project with the hydroponic system. Ag Co-op’s Board of Faculty and Staff also serve the purpose of holding the four Executive Board leaders accountable for their responsibilities.
Yet another feature of the restructured Ag Co-op is the addition of three Vice President positions. Erin Snyder ’15 is the VP of the Greenhouse, Katrina Kniss ’15 is the VP of Finances, and Max Heller ’15 serves as the VP of Facilities. The purpose of these positions is to “spread out the responsibilities and hold each other accountable,” according to Stunes. Stunes also made the point that four people can make more connections than just one. Spreading out the responsibilities also allows for more people to accomplish things.
Stunes mentioned several hefty goals she hopes to accomplish within Ag Co-op this year. “I want to leave a strong sense of community,” stated Stunes. She also indicated the importance of following through with the ideas and traditions laid out by Ag Co-op’s previous leaders. These presidencies include keeping the majority of the garden a malleable space where each generation can grow and plant what they want to while also including permanent areas that will “thrive for a long time.” Stunes also hopes to finish big projects like the garden shed mosaic and construction of several new arbors.
Ag Co-op Green Tip: Save water by showering with a buddy!