The Oakland Campus’s Fall Farm Festival Celebrates the Abundance of Autumn  

By Julia Laquerre with the Climate Justice and Sustainability Hub  

Oakland at Northeastern University hosted their annual Fall Farm Festival, bringing together students, faculty, staff, and local community members to celebrate the fall harvest. It’s an opportunity to foster stronger connections within the college and the broader community.  

Julia Dashe, the Director of Mills Community Farm, expressed, “we are celebrating the abundance of summer and we’re honoring the work that’s being done at the farm.”  

The farm offers students the opportunity to volunteer or work as part of the farm crew. Mornings are spent harvesting a variety of fall flowers, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, kale, thyme, lavender, rosemary, basil, apples, and squash. The farm’s bounty is made available for anyone on or off campus to purchase through their farm stand or through their Community Supported Agriculture program.  

The fall festival is a celebration of the hard work that goes into maintaining a farm in an urban environment and aims to share the abundance with others.  

Andrew Gonzales, the Sustainability Manager at the Oakland campus, emphasized their goal for inclusivity, “we welcome the local community and [want to] make the resources that we have here on campus available to everyone as much as possible. So, whether that’s knowing they can visit the farm or volunteer there we’re trying to raise awareness,” said Gonzales. “Inviting the general public to the farm builds the foundation for more meaningful and deeper collaboration in the future and we want everyone to feel welcome.” 

In the spirit of the season and sustainability, festival participants engage in various farm inspired activities with items harvested from the Mills farm, including making fire cider, flower crowns, lavender pouches, beeswax wraps, and playing a pumpkin scavenger hunt to win half a day of free golf cart rides around campus. 

And the Saturday after, everyone was invited to extend their community involvement with the  Coastal Cleanup Day. Students woke up early to clear away overgrown paths, making the creek that runs through the heart of campus more accessible. This hands-on effort aligns with California’s statewide initiative to environmental stewardship and community wellbeing.  

Chinonso Uzowihe, the Management Intern for the Environmental Services Division at the City of Oakland, helps communities organize sustainability events. He was excited to see a university so invested in cleaning up their neighborhood ecosystem, “to see the people that actually participated in the cleanup showed the potential that comes from recruiting volunteers, and sort of show the work that can be done when people work towards a common goal. And I think it’s vital to get students in green spaces.” 

The Fall Farm Festival and Creek Cleanup provide a holistic experience of connecting with both nature and community. For those interested in replicating the Farm Festival activities at home, here are step-by-step guides.  

Fire Cider: If you feel a little tickle, take a spoonful of your new homemade fire cider, “the combined ingredients in this tonic are a helpful preventative to getting sick during the cooler fall and winter seasons,” said Dashe. 


What you need! 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar!  
  • Onion 
  • Ginger 
  • Garlic  
  • Honey 
  • Your choice of spice: Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric, Hot Pepper  
  • Your choice of herb: Burdock, Astragulus, Peppermint, Catnip Rosemary 
  • Large Jar 
  • Strainer (after 4 weeks)


How to! 

  • Fill your jar with all solid ingredients 
  • Top it off with apple cider vinegar  
  • After 4 weeks of steeping strain out the solids 
  • Store in the refrigerator  
  • Enjoy!   



Lavender Pouch: Smell is a powerful sense and lavender has a calming effect on our mind and body. A little pocket of lavender under your pillow will soothe you to sleep or hanging in the shower will relax your mind after a long day. 

   What you need!  

  • Dried Lavender 
  • Reused Fabric Squares from Donated Clothes 
  • Scissors  
  • Ribbon  

   How to!  

  • Cut up old t-shirts or any reusable fabrics  
  • Gather Lavender buds from stem  
  • Lay the fabric square flat and put lavender buds on top 
  • Tie the square full of lavender into a pouch with a ribbon  
  • Put it in your closet, a drawer, under your pillow, in your bathroom, in your car  

Beeswax Wrap: Plastic wrap is around for 500 years before it fully decomposes, but “beeswax wraps can be used over and over again for about a year, and are made with 100% cotton cloth, so they can be composted at the end of their life,” said Gonzales.  

 *recipe by Deanna Talerico 


What you need!  

  • 100% cotton fabric (an old t-shirt or other reused fabric)  
  • Scissors  
  • Paint brushes  
  • Hangers  
  • Parchment paper  
  • Beeswax pellets 
  • Pine resin 
  • Jojoba oil


How to!  

  • Cut up the 100% cotton fabric into your desired shapes and sizes 
  • combine 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles, 2 tablespoons of pine resin, and 1 tablespoon of organic jojoba oil in a double-boiler on the stovetop 
  • Heat until melted and fully combined.  
  • Use a brush to apply an even coat of the mixture across the surface of the fabric- enough to absorb and saturate the fabric  
  • Hang immediately  



Written by Julia Laquerre – 11-09-23

Flower Crown: Fairies wear them, so why can’t we. Celebrate the unique fall flowers by making a crown to display them to all your friends.

What you need!  

  • Long stemmed flowers 
  • Scissors  
  • Wire or thick flexible stick/ vine 


   How to!  

  • Collect or buy long stemmed flowers (lavender, rose, rosemary, dahlias)  
  • Shape your wire to the size of your head  
  • Arrange flowers by looping the stems around the wire or stick