Student Life

Long Live the People’s Farm

The student organization for sustainable agriculture gets a new name.

Students work in a garden

At the People’s Farm last October, students gathered potatoes that they then distributed for free on East Campus Mall. Bryce Richter

It sounds like a call to rebellion: The King has fallen! Power to the People!

But you can put away the red banner of socialism — it’s not a revolution but a rebranding. Since October 2023, the organization formerly known as the F. H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture has been called the People’s Farm.

The student organization began in 1979, based at the Eagle Heights community garden in the northwest corner of campus. It initially took its name from Franklin Hiram King, a professor of agricultural physics at the UW from 1888 to 1902. King was something of a prophet of organic farming techniques, and he did groundbreaking — forgive the term — studies of soil physics and soil fertility. He’s also remembered as the father of the cylindrical silo, a staple of farm architecture across the Midwest.

In 2023, the student organization’s governing board voted unanimously to change its name — not as a knock on King but as a reflection of the group’s current goals.

“This name change is by no means an attempt at erasure of the contributions F. H. King made both to the field of agriculture and the UW,” says Connor Reilly x’25, farm director for the organization. “Rather, it is purely to make our name more inherently aligned with what we do. Everything the organization has done since 1979 has been for the people, not in the name of F. H. King.”

The King legacy will live on within the group, which, according to Reilly, will devote part of its website to telling King’s story and plans to add plaques or signs to highlight his many accomplishments.

Long live the people!

Published in the Spring 2024 issue


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