Our Sustainable Food Solutions Program research engages GMC’s undergraduate and graduate students in developing new methods of food production, processing and distribution that are less reliant on fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, reduce the impact of our food systems on the environment, and ultimately create the foundation for a thriving and healthy agriculture. Check out the detailed descriptions of our research projects below and check back frequently for updates and reports.
Long Term Ecological Assessment of Low Energy Farming Systems (LEAFS)
GMC, through the generous support of the Yavanna Foundation, has initiated a unique research program assessing the viability of three energy-efficient vegetable production systems, two of them—human-powered and draft-animal-powered—being fossil-fuel-free.
Integrating High Tunnel Crop Production & Renewable Energy Systems
GMC faculty, staff, and students began construction of two high tunnels, one with root-zone heating supplied with “solar hot water” and a backup propane system and the other with no supplemental heating. Construction of these high tunnel systems was completed in October 2010, followed by the first seeding in what will be three years of documented and disseminated research comparing the production, efficiency, costs, and net profits of both cool season and warm season crops in each high tunnel, as well as a final assessment of design and structural considerations.
Researching the Viability of Flash-Freezing Technologies for Enhancing Local Foods in the Institutional and Charitable Food Systems
In June 2010, FFP was granted use of the state of Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s mobile flash-freeze unit for three growing seasons in order to pilot the flash freezing of products for institutional and food pantry use. FFP is currently using the flash-freeze unit and the College’s resources for research and education, in conjunction with FFP’s new “Community Food Lab,” a commercial kitchen facility dedicated to teaching and research, located immediately adjacent to the parking location for the mobile flash-freeze unit.
Sustainable Purchasing Initiative at Green Mountain College
In the 2009-2010 academic year, GMC’s Chartwells dining services purchased $6,425 dollars worth of produce and meat from the college farm to be served in the GMC dining hall.In addition to sourcing ingredients from the college farm, Chartwells spent another $84,974 in support of Vermont businesses. These sources included Vermont-based producers such as Thomas Dairy and Champlain Orchards and Vermont-based distributors and suppliers such as Black River Produce and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. These purchases represented about 14% of the College’s total food purchases.