During the course of the MSFS program, students participate in two on-campus residencies – one at the beginning of each year. The residencies take place at the college campus in Poultney, Vermont in February and feature a nationally renowned leader in food systems as the Scholar in Residence. Green Mountain College faculty and the Scholar in Residence work intensively with students during the residency to develop an academic experience that meet each student’s professional goals.
The residency provides students with opportunities to interact with one another, their faculty, and the Scholar in Residence. This intensive personal interaction helps to start relationships that are then further developed in the online environment. We encourage student and alumni involvement in the residency planning and participation.
The on-campus residency begins on a Monday and spans four days, featuring a mixture of academic, social, and recreational sessions.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Barbara Gemmill-Herren
Dr. Barbara Gemmill-Herren, until she retired in 2015, was Delivery Manager, for the Major Area of Work on Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). She was previously director of Environment Liaison Centre International, international environmental non-governmental organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. Within the FAO, she built and coordinated a global project on Pollination Services, implemented in Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, India, Pakistan and Nepal. In her last five years at FAO, she has been responsible for FAO’s work on Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Production, and has been central to FAO’s new focus on Agroecology.
Since leaving FAO, she has been a contributor to the UN initiative on “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food” – exploring True Cost Accounting in Agriculture – and has led the “Beacons of Hope” initiative of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. This initiative seeks to develop a framework bringing together evidence and stories of transitions towards more sustainable food and agriculture systems. She is currently a senior associate of the World Agroforestry Center. She and her husband Hans live on their small farm in Capay Valley, California where they aim to intercrop an indigenous breed of sheep with wine grapes.
2017 Scholar in Residence: Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, a.k.a. the Food Sleuth®, is an award-winning writer, speaker, and nationally syndicated radio host, with more than 35 years of experience in clinical, academic, and public health nutrition. Recognizing the power of media to influence food choice, Melinda created and directed the Nutrition Communication Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and blazed the trail blending media literacy with nutrition education. She wrote a weekly newspaper column for 25 years, and hosted “Food Sleuth TV” on community access television. Her weekly Food Sleuth Radio program, in its 8th year, is syndicated through Pacifica and Public Radio Exchange, and ranks among the nation’s top “green food radio shows.”
In 2004, Melinda was awarded a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellowship, which allowed her to connect the dots between food, health and agriculture. Today, her work uniquely focuses on food system literacy, encouraging critical thinking about food and farming media messages.
Melinda is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Union of Concerned Scientists Science Network, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a leader within the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition practice group, where she created and chairs the annual “HEN Film Feastival.” In 2014, Today’s Dietitian Magazine named her one of the nation’s “Top 10 Dietitians Making a Difference,” and in 2015, she received the “Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Leadership” award from her Academy peers.
Melinda serves on the Boards of Beyond Pesticides and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services. She writes regularly for Organic Valley’s Rootstock Blog, and ACRES USA, where she explains the health benefits of organic food and agro-ecological farming methods.
While Melinda embraces nutritional science, she also believes in the power of art and storytelling to influence opinion and shape public policy. Her grandfather was the WPA artist, David Karfunkle; his mural, “The Hoarding of Wealth and the Exploitation of Labor,” was painted in 1936 in the Harlem County Courthouse. To further illuminate the human condition and promote social and environmental justice, Melinda and her photographer husband, Dan Hemmelgarn, created “F.A.R.M.: Food, Art, Revolution, Media – A Focus on Photography to Re-Vitalize Agriculture and Strengthen Democracy.” Their project combines compelling images with farmers’ stories, and contrasts food and farming media spin with rural realities.
Melinda received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition from Florida State University, and earned an M.S. in Human Nutrition and Food Systems Management from the University of Missouri. She completed her dietetic internship through Cornell University/New York Hospital, in New York City.
Considered a trusted consumer educator, and “good” food advocate, Melinda credits her former patients, and organic farmers as some of her most influential teachers. She and her husband are most grateful for their two grown children. Avid nature enthusiasts, they enjoy canoeing, biking, hiking and camping in state and national parks.
“In a nutshell, you could say I’m a “Dietitian on a Mission” to “E.A.T:”
- Empower citizens and inspire consumers to “think beyond their plates”—to understand how food and farming affects personal health and our global environment.
- Advocate for media literacy, and apply critical thinking skills and strategies to food and farming media messages. (Promote food system literacy.)
- Translate nutrition research and connect the dots between food, health, agriculture and our environment.”
2016 Scholar in Residence: Philip Howard
Phil Howard is an associate professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University where he focuses on “mapping” trends that help illustrate the rapid evolution of food systems. His new book Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat?, explores how mergers and acquisitions in the industry has placed 40% or more of the market in the hands of four major companies. Howard demonstrates how a handful of companies dominating markets can drive up prices for consumers, reduce innovation and result in negative environmental and human health impacts.
Howard holds a PhD in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, GOOD, The Ecologist, and Mother Earth News. He is president of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society from 2015 to 2016, and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems.
2015 Scholar in Residence: Natasha Bowens
Author of the book The Color of Food, Natasha is prominent voice in putting issues of food justice front and center in the evolution of sustainable food systems, Bowens has spent the past four years gathering stories from Black, Native, Asian and Latina farmers and food activists who are revolutionizing the food system and preserving cultural foodways around the country. Natasha started the multimedia project in 2010 after exploring the intersection of race, food and agriculture on her blog, Brown.Girl.Farming. and for Grist magazine. Her work has garnered national media attention—she has been featured by The Atlantic, CNN, Bill Moyers and Colorlines. You can see stories and portraits from the project at thecolorofood.org.
2014 Scholar in Residence: Douglas Gayeton & Laura Howard Gayeton
Since the early 1990’s, Douglas and Laura have created award-winning films, information artworks, websites, and branding campaigns for a variety of clients including HBO, AOL, MTV, Napster, National Geographic and PBS.
The couple is currently at work on “The Lexicon of Sustainability,” an multimedia effort to tap into the meaning of sustainability as interpreted by thought leaders around the country. The first part of the project is “Food and farming in America.” They describe Lexicon as a “. . . multiplatform project based on a simple premise: people can’t be expected to live more sustainable lives if they don’t know the most basic terms and principles that define sustainability.”
2013 Scholar in Residence: Helene York
Helene York is the director of purchasing strategy for Bon Appétit Management and director of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation. “Helene and the Bon Appétit Company share many of the same goals and values as GMC,” said Philip Ackerman-Leist, MSFS program director. “She is a strong advocate for combining culinary expertise with a commitment to socially and environmentally responsible purchasing practices. Her background in weaving sophisticated sustainability practices into the fabric of what is arguably the most progressive food service corporation in the country will help our students understand leverage points for change in the corporate sectors of our food system.”
“Good animal welfare isn’t just about the animal’s,” York wrote in a recent column that appeared in Civil Eats. “It’s about starting to dismantle a system that has enormous costs for our society, including the loss of medically important antibiotics, the pollution of our air and water from animal waste, and horrible working conditions in factory farms.”
2012 Scholar in Residence: Fred Kirschenmann
Fred Kirschenmann is president of Kirschenmann Family Farms, a 3,500-acre certified organic farm in Windsor, North Dakota, where he also was president (1990-1999) of Farm Verified Organic, a private organic certification agency.
He is a leader of the organic/sustainable agriculture movement, and has served on many boards and advisory committees of such organizations. He has completed a five-year term on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards Board, and has chaired the administrative council for the USDA’s North Central Region’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. He recently completed work for the North Dakota Commission on the Future of Agriculture, and was a charter member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society in 1979.
He has been a member of the board of directors for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture since 1994, and was president in 1997.
“My academic background in philosophical studies has trained me to always ask the questions behind the questions. This discipline has been very useful to me on the farm, too, and my involvement in national organic agriculture organizations. We make assumptions about things but we don’t look at what those assumptions are based on. I will question assumptions and make sure that the fundamental ideas that we may be trying to adopt and operate by are sound and valid. I don’t think we do enough of that in sustainable agriculture,” he says.
He earned degrees from Yankton College in South Dakota, Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago, where he earned numerous awards including a Rockefeller Fellowship. He was the first chair of the Department of Religion at Yankton College, and was Dean of the College at Curry College in Boston. He has authored or co-authored numerous articles and book chapters dealing with ethics and agriculture.