This spring semester, Hiram students taking the Social Entrepreneurship course, have pulled on their boots and brought their entrepreneurship teachings to the Hiram Farm, which is located just down the street from the College’s campus. David Strukel, Ph.D., director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship at Hiram College, has enjoyed this experience and teaching his students about how to effectively market social ventures.
“The Hiram Farm is an excellent example of hands-on experiences that are necessary to run a social venture,” said Dr. Strukel. “The Hiram Farm supports people with special needs in five surrounding counties and provides varying tasks for the “farmers” including taking care of the animals, helping out in the greenhouse, and making crafts.”
Each week, students discussed on campus, how to hire a driven team, the credentials to look for, problem-solving, and how to effectively promote a social venture. Outside of the classroom, students worked on the farm and applied the knowledge and skills from their lessons through various tasks. Students have created TikToks of Hammy the house pig, taken photos and social content of general farm maintenance and tasks, as well as feature content for the farm’s already existing social media accounts.
“Students are learning what attributes it takes to be a social entrepreneur. Sure, you have to have adversity and deal with challenges and have a ‘go-getter’ mentality, but for a social entrepreneur, you are doing what you do because you want to help others,” said Dr. Strukel.
The Hiram Farm is a community project that was created through the desire to provide inspirational and meaningful work for the individual growth of people with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. It’s also an organic farm, and is located on 120 acres where participants work on animal care, vegetable gardening, crop harvesting, and general farm maintenance. Dr. Strukel approached the farm hoping to create a connection with his class and the administration, and staff were eager for the relationship as they continue to work on building a strong network with the College and the Hiram Community.
“We are always looking for ways for the farm to be seen and for others to get involved with our mission,” said Sheri Burke, manager at the Hiram Farm.
As part of their final project, the class has organized a fundraising event at the Farm that will take place on Sunday, April 2 from noon – 4 p.m. Hiram College and the Hiram community are encouraged to attend this free event as there will be games, a sponsored chicken race, and free pizza, while it lasts. Visitors will be able to check out the hydroponic garden, purchase fresh eggs and other items for sale, take photos with the animals at the farm, and play cornhole, spike ball and kan-jam.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity for my students to work with the staff at the farm. They have learned a great deal of problem-solving with the staff and are really looking forward to finishing up their class with the Hiram Farm Field Day,” said Strukel.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Hiram Farm! Click here for more information about the Farm, or follow them on Facebook!
If you would like to donate to the Hiram Farm through Venmo, they can be found at @hiramfarm
By Elyse Pitkin