At Green Mountain College, farming is a passion, a science and an art. We take food issues seriously, and through the GMC Sustainable Food Solutions project, the centrality of food permeates virtually every aspect of our campus. It takes root in the fields and greenhouses of Cerridwen Farm, grows in classroom, dorm room and hallway discussions, and ripens in the campus dining hall where we proudly enjoy the bounty of harvest, being mindful to waste little, compost much and return our scraps to the soil to start anew.
The GMC Sustainable Food Solutions Project is all about reclaiming what matters about nature, nurture, and nutrition – by way of learning why it matters. How we as individuals relate to food is usually a pretty good indicator of how we relate to the environment, our society, other cultures, and other animals. How we relate to food and agriculture as a community is indicative of the interests and priorities of that community. We don’t shy away from the complexity of issues surrounding how we sustain ourselves, our environment, and our culture.
On the Farm
The college farm makes it all real and gives everyone a chance to experience the challenges of farming. The sustainable purchasing initiatives in our dining hall challenge all of us to find ways to build a more sustainable campus food system. Our Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems undergraduate major and Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems programs enable students to tackle the complexities of what happens on the college farm and in the dining hall with a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach—providing students with the skills and understanding they need to practice the craft of farming while also ensuring that they have the tools to comprehend the ecological, economic, and policy arenas in which any given farm exists.
Taking ‘Buy Local’ to the Next Level
From serving squash and tomatoes grown on the campus farm to collecting food scraps at the dining hall for composting, our Sustainable Food Systems Project is dedicated to closing the loop of the local food system. The educational result is that students understand that the choices they make, even about a morning omelet, affect the farmers, people, and environment around them.
Along with Chartwells dining services, students and faculty are always exploring new ways to offer local and organic food options. Students have an incredible track record of effecting change on campus, including drafting sustainable purchasing guidelines for the dining hall and partnering with the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link (RAFFL) to design and produce a local food guide for the farms, co-ops, and farmer’s markets of the surrounding region. Green Mountain College is an active partner with many local food organization like Vermont Farm to Plate.