As a former Georgia Department of Transportation cement mixing site for construction of nearby I-75, Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) Hickory Grove Farm is an iconic case study in soil rebuilding. Though not toxic-laden, the ground was severely compacted and devoid of active microbial communities necessary for healthy soil. In 2013 the GDOT leased the 26-acre tract of land to KSU for farm use. Four years later, Hickory Grove Farm is the home to restored local ecosystems.
Committed to regenerative agriculture practices, Hickory Grove Farm is pesticide|herbicide free, uses no-till farming methods, rotates crops within fields, and plants cover crops when a field rests. The farm supplies 25% of the produce for The Commons, KSU’s Gold LEED certified dining hall that serves 6,000 students daily.
Southern Farm & Garden’s fall issue includes a seven-page, multiple-article An Icon in Sustainability and Hickory Grove Farm: Regenerative Agriculture Revives Soils & Local Ecosystems showcasing KSU’s sustainability commitment and Hickory Grove Farm soil regeneration.
The story and photography is by LAI Atlanta Chapter Board member Holly Elmore. A KSU farm tour with new Atlanta Chapter member Tim Trefzer, Georgia World Congress Center director of sustainability, is featured in a sidebar and photo.