Farm Foundation President Neilson Conklin Speaked at GMC
Week of February 19, 2013
Dr. Neilson C. Conklin was a guest speaker at Green Mountain College Tuesday, February 19, from 3-4 p.m. in the Gorge (Withey Hall). His speech “Developing a Workforce for 21st Century Agriculture” was open to public.
Conklin has served as president of Farm Foundation since January 2008. Previously he served as director of the market and trade economics division of USDA’s Economic Research Service. In that role, he initiated the ERS research program on the economics of bio-energy and directed the development of new modeling frameworks on global trade policy analysis.
Farm Manager Kenneth Mulder's presentations at the NOFA-VT Conference
Farm manager Kenneth Mulder recently gave two presentations on agriculture, energy, and the prospects for reducing fossil fuel inputs into food production. In February, 2013 he presented at the NOFA-VT conference on the topic: “Farming Without Fossil Fuels: Humans, Animals and Systems.” In March, he co-presented with research and production assistant Ben Dube at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service winter conference on the most recent results of the LEAFS production system trials. LEAFS (Long-term Ecological Assessment of Farming Systems) is an ongoing research trial comparing the land, labor, and energy costs of using human, animal, and machine power for vegetable production.
Ackerman-Leist Releases New Book
Week of February 11, 2013
Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist’s (sustainable agriculture) new book, Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems, was released by publisher Chelsea Green on January 31, 2013. Ackerman-Leist explores the distinctions between local and regional food, and navigates the contemporary issues involved in establishing a sustainable food system, asking readers, “Can we build and support smaller-scale, locally oriented food systems that are more likely to be just, ecologically appropriate, accessible, and resilient than food systems of larger scales?” He responds in the affirmative. However, through asserting the complications that face the local agricultural and, indeed, the global agricultural community, Ackerman-Leist makes it clear that the methods to achieve this goal are various and multifaceted. He writes, “We Americans are well versed in volunteerism, supporting nonprofits, and transforming religious ideals into action. In sum, we do a pretty good job in responding to problems. But we don’t always seem to be so good at fixing problems—not even one as basic as ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious, culturally appropriate foods. The first step in addressing a problem is defining it. And the more complex the problem, the more challenging it can be to define it.”
Vermont Agency of Agriculture Quick Freeze Unit Comes to GMC
Week of June 12, 2012
After a whirlwind tour of various farms around Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s mobile quick freeze unit has a home at Green Mountain College and the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), with support from the Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District (PMNRCD), until December of 2012. The freezer’s extended stay in Poultney is a case study for the potential of mobile and stationary quick freeze units across the state. These units are expected to increase the ability of farmers to market seasonal products throughout the year. The quick freeze unit was designed and built for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in 2008 and traveled throughout Vermont before making its temporary home at Cerridwen Farm at Green Mountain College in July of 2010. Philip Ackerman-Leist, director of the GMC Farm & Food Project, noted “We are quite grateful to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture for their willingness to partner with us in exploring the potential both of how best to utilize quick-freezing technologies and of the merits and challenges of putting these technologies into a mobile unit. The farm at Green Mountain College is perfectly situated to accommodate the quick freeze unit and facilitate its use by farmers and students.” GMC has upgraded the kitchen in the “Solar Harvest Center,” a newly renovated farmhouse recently purchased by the College, in order to meet commercial kitchen standards and certification.
Green Mountain College Lawn-to-Edible Garden Project Unveiled
Year of 2012
From the White House south lawn to vacant city lots, more and more acreage in the U.S. is being devoted to vegetable gardening. Whether it’s saving money in the face of a slow economic recovery, growing local produce to encourage healthy eating, or supporting the local agricultural economy, Americans are finding plenty of reasons to raise their own vegetables. Green Mountain College has moved the traditional home vegetable garden—often relegated to the backyard—in front of the Solar Harvest Center (SHC), a farmhouse purchased by the College in 2009. With the support of several grants, students and faculty recently completed the Lawn-to-Edible Garden Project which converted the SHC front lawn into a permaculture landscape of vegetables and perennial fruits. Lettuce, peppers, onions, tomatoes and many other vegetables grown in the 12 new raised beds will find their way to the plates of students studying in the current (2012) Summer Farm Intensive Program on campus, and on the shelves of local food pantries. Blueberries, grapes, elderberries, and other small fruits will diversify the offerings in coming years. The entire installation was completed by students taking a semester-long Edible Landscaping course in a culminating week of construction and planting.
Food and Philosophy at GMC
From the GMC Journal
Week of September 19, 2011
Raymond Boisvert, a leader of the new “convivialist” movement blending food with philosophy, gave a public talk at Green Mountain College on Thursday, September 22, at 4 p.m. in the East Room. The topic of his talk was “Convivialism Explored: How the Sick the Weak and the Parasitic Became new Paradigms for Philosophy and Evolution.” Raymond Boisvert received an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a Ph. D. from Emory University. A specialist in American philosophy, he has two books on John Dewey and many articles on Pragmatism.
Keith Presents Paper at American Philosophy Meeting
From the GMC Journal
Week of April 11, 2011
Prof. Heather Keith (philosophy) presented her paper "Pragmatist-Feminists Gone Wild: Addams, Noddings, and a Relational Approach to Environmental Ethics" at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy in Spokane, Wash., March 10-12.
Cerridwen Farm set to Receive $93,000 Grant
Green Mountain College’s Farm & Food Project has received a $93,000 grant from the Yavanna Foundation. The funding will be used to further develop the College’s fossil-free agriculture initiatives, including the hiring of a full-time post-doctoral researcher for two years and the associated purchase of research equipment. Read more.
Chickens Move into New Sustainable Home at College Farm
Week of April 9, 2009
With 130 feet square feet of living space it’s not palatial, but you can’t beat the price. The entire building cost roughly $2000 to construct, about $15 per square foot. And the views of surrounding farmland are terrific!
The house was just completed by faculty, staff and students at Green Mountain College, a four-year liberal arts school that emphasizes environmental sustainability throughout its curriculum. And it’s just the right size for the current inhabitants: 100 six-week old chicks.
Support from Duke Energy and Pierson Foundation Aids in Kitchen Revamp
Green Mountain College has received a $12,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation which will be matched by funding from the Pierson Family Foundation to renovate kitchen facilities at the College's Solar Harvest Center. The Solar Harvest Center (SHC), a farmhouse next to the College's Cerridwen farm, was acquired by GMC in 2008. Read more.
Windham Grant Helps GMC Study New Agricultural Methods
While greenhouses lengthen the production season for vegetable farms, heating these structures with gas-fired or electric air burners is expensive and energy intensive. Research at Green Mountain College, funded by a $15,000 grant from Vermont's Windham Foundation, will explore new ways to sustainably grow vegetables by integrating a solar-powered hot water system in "high tunnel" greenhouses. The three-year study may reveal inexpensive ways to produce higher yields while consuming less energy.
Green Mountain College announces Master's in Sustainable Food Systems
In April 2011, Green Mountain College announced a distance-learning master's degree in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS), which builds on the surging interest in food and agriculture issues in the U.S. and on the success of the College's undergraduate major in sustainable agriculture. The MSFS program has received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and GMC plans to launch its first cohort in January, 2012. Over thirty undergraduate students already focus their academic work on food systems at the College. Four grants over the past three years totaling over $250,000 have enhanced facilities and supported faculty research capacity at the College's Cerridwen Farm and the adjoining Solar Harvest Center. For more information on the MSFS program, click here.
College Receives $100,000 grant from Jane’s Trust
The Green Mountain College Farm & Food Project was awarded $100,000 from Jane’s Trust in May, 2011, to research the market potential for flash-frozen products, using a mobile flash-freeze unit provided to the College and several regional collaborators by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Last June, the Farm & Food Project was granted use of the flash-freeze unit for three growing seasons in order to pilot flash-freezing of products for institutional and food pantry use. Flash-freeze units are expected to increase the ability of farmers to market seasonal products throughout the year. The College is currently using the unit for research and education, in conjunction with the Farm & Food Project’s new “Community Food Lab,” a commercial kitchen facility on campus dedicated to teaching and research.
Grow-a-Row Benefits from GMC Volunteers
On September 10 2010, 14 GMC students partnered with Jane Nicklaw, the “tomato lady” of Castleton, to harvest 670 pounds of tomatoes from her garden for the Grow-a-Row program. Sponsored by Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), the Grow-a-Row program encourages farmers to either grow extra food with the intention of donating it to the program, or to invite RAFFL volunteers to glean extra produce that they are unable to harvest or market efficiently. The tomatoes from Jane’s garden were donated to Rutland area charities including the Community Cupboard and the Open Door Mission, a shelter for veterans. This was the second gleaning this month. On September 6, nine students harvested over fifty pounds of tomatoes at the Old Gates Farm in Castleton operated by two GMC alums, Adam Stevenson and Kris Jacoby-Stevenson.
RAFFL’s Grow-a-Row program helps eliminate hunger and malnutrition in Rutland County low-income communities by increasing access to fresh, healthy, locally grown food. So far this year the program has donated over 10,000 pounds of produce to local charitable agencies. With help from the GMC community, many more thousands of pounds will be donated before the end of the growing season. Contact Garland Mason, VISTA Local-Link Coordinator, to receive information regarding future gleanings and other events.
GMC Represented at Terra Madre Conference
Year of 2008
Ten delegates from Green Mountain College traveled to Terra Madre 2008 to present the GMC Farm & Food Project as a model for teaching stewardship of the land to young people. The conference - a biennial meeting for the Terra Madre Network - drew over 7,100 people from 153 countries.
Students Ryan Dixon, Kerrilee Knights, and Bobby Walden were joined by alums Jane Engelman ’08 and Lyra Leigh-Nedbor ‘08, along with faculty members Philip Ackerman-Leist (environmental studies), Kenneth Mulder (Cerridwen Farm manager), and Eleanor Tison (environmental studies). Dave and Cindy Ondria from the College’s Chartwells dining services also attended.
Read Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist's introduction titled "Stewardship of Land from One Generation to the Next."