GMC to Launch New Graduate Program

GMC has announced that it plans to offer a masters degree in sustainable food systems (MSFS). The College is seeking accreditation for the program this year in advance of its launch in January, 2012. The new major builds on the surging interest in food and agriculture issues in the U.S. and abroad, and the success of the College’s undergraduate major in sustainable agriculture.

“There is an ever-increasing need for graduate-level education in today’s work force and we are positioned to meet the demand in areas of particular academic strength at Green Mountain,” said GMC President Paul Fonteyn. “The major is a natural outgrowth of our emphasis on the environmental liberal arts and the success of our undergraduate programs in food systems.”

Currently more than thirty students focus their academic work on food systems. Four grants over the past three years totaling over $250,000 have significantly enhanced facilities and faculty research capacity at GMC. The Green Mountain College Board of Trustees voted to approve the major during its January meeting.

The primary objective of the MSFS is to educate leaders in the burgeoning food movement with a graduate level interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable agricultural production and a deep knowledge of the economic, ecological, and social forces driving food systems. Students will conduct in-depth interdisciplinary investigations into the complex arena of their own bioregional food systems. Such study will be enhanced and broadened through in-class comparisons offered by students from different bioregions in the U.S. and a guided exploration of the national and international food systems.

“Agriculture is an essential component not only of our economy but also of our life-support systems,” said Philip Ackerman-Leist, director of the GMC Farm and Food Project and associate professor of environmental studies. “We have evidence that there is significant demand for interdisciplinary programs related to food, and we have built the capacity to offer a strong graduate level program.”

In 2006, the College initiated two online graduate programs, an MS in environmental studies and an M.B.A. in sustainable business. Currently over 100 students participate in these two programs.

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