Penn State Behrend was chosen for the Sustainable Food Systems Program expansion because of food systems programs already in place at the college. Among them is the student garden, started by the Greener Behrend student organization in 2016. The college’s Housing and Food Services office has been using an Urban Cultivator for its "Dig It" kitchen program, which allows dining staff to grow and cook with fresh herbs, vegetables, and microgreens.
The program provides students with integrated, interdisciplinary engaged scholarship and leadership opportunities that are “comprehensive and useful”—comprehensive in both the modes of learning and topics across the food system, and useful in students’ professional and personal growth.
The program also falls in line with a growing trend in higher education. Today, more than 350 United States universities and colleges maintain a campus farm or garden.