Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Organic Gardens

The "Dirt Army" at Work

Nic Auwaerter, Tyler Plante, Kelsey Lerback, and Rachel Packer

In the early spring (2009), four F&M students composed a memorandum describing themselves as the “Dirt Army”. In the memo they articulated how they would integrate growing organic vegetables within an overall framework of sustainable food production in Lancaster County if the College could provide them with a suitable plot of land.

Within weeks, a plot was cleared, tilled, fenced, and planted by the group, working under the umbrella of an internship program funded by Dean Trachte.


Organic compost was donated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and neighborhood children were invited to plant their own mini gardens. Weeding is the never-ending chore.


  • garden3
  •  Tyler Plante

  • garden4
  •  Kelsey Lerback

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  •  Rachel Packer