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Supporting Local Food

In our dining hall, supporting sustainable agriculture is as simple as ordering an omelet. Every morning, we serve eggs produced on our campus garden, the Cerridwen Farm. Recently the dining hall also offered lamb meat and other produce from the farm, and aside from our supporting our own farm, about 13 percent--or $60,000--of our annual food budget goes to local foods.

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 exploring new ways to offer local and organic food options. The fall 2006 block course, entitled"Food, Agriculture, and Community Development in the Northeast," culminated in a class-written draft of sustainable purchasing guidelines for the dining hall. The class proposed that the dining hall expand local food offerings by 5 percent (about $24,000) per year over the next three years.

The Farm & Food program has also been involved in the creation and development of the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link (RAFFL), an organization that connects agriculture with food suppliers and consumers in the area. In spring of 2006, a GMC class helped design a local food guide for the farms, co-ops, and farmer's markets of the surrounding county. (Click here to see the RAFFL Locally Grown Guide.)

Our efforts don't end there. Just this fall '06 semester, Chartwells and the Student Campus Greening Fund hosted a "Five Farms in Five Days" event, featuring goods from five local farms over the span of a week. The event gave students a taste for the difference local agriculture makes, on their palates and in the community. Students conducted surveys and gathered opinion data on the event, gauging the demand for more local food in the future.

Local Food programs at Green Mountain College are quickly expanding. Check back later for more developments.