Thatcher Farm to hold virtual tour during upcoming Alumni Weekend

Thatcher Farm (Matthew Gorten)

A virtual tour of Southern’s Thatcher Farm will be going live during the upcoming Alumni Weekend which is less than two weeks away. The farm was started in the summer of 2012, and has been a unique part of Southern Adventist University ever since.

“The video came about because every year — usually for camp meeting and alumni weekend — I give an in-person physical tour of Thatcher Farm,” said Seth Shaffer, farm  manager and adjunct history professor. “And it’s been a huge hit. We can have upwards of over 100 people show up for the tour…[But] because of COVID, this year the University opted not to do an in-person Alumni Weekend, but instead to do it virtually.”

Shaffer, who teaches the sustainable agriculture class, said that while students can benefit from what they learn in class, it is crucial to put what they learn into practice. 

“In order to do agriculture, you can read all the books, you can watch all the videos you want—you’re going to get the theory down really good,” Shaffer said. “But unless you actually get out there and put that theory into practice, it’s just theoretical knowledge.”

According to Shaffer, students get hands-on learning at the farm to complement what they learn in the classroom. He said the farm ultimately serves as the lab portion for the class.

“We’re putting into practice everything we’ve learned in the classroom,” Shaffer said. “So, we’re seeding, planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. It’s all a cycle.”

Shaffer said the Thatcher Farm virtual tour will show viewers  how the farm works, its history and the various learning opportunities. This will be streamed on Saturday, Oct 31 at 3pm, via Southern’s Facebook page or at

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