GMC Farm Manager, Research Associate & Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Solar Harvest Center
One Brennan Circle
Poultney, VT 05764-1199
Email Address: email@example.com
I am basically a math and science guy who loves good food, is very concerned about social and ecological justice, and loves to teach. As Farm Manager and faculty member at Green Mountain College, I am able to pursue all of these interests simultaneously. In particular, I am enthralled with farming because of its importance to creating a sustainable and just society, the intellectual challenges agricultural systems pose, the unique pleasures of eating fresh vegetables straight out of the ground, and the sheer joy of laboring and sweating with students and other members of my community to feed ourselves.
I take great pride in what we are doing on the farm at GMC. We are placing farming squarely in the middle of the liberal arts tradition—where it belongs as an interdisciplinary endeavor with deep ties to our history and culture. The day-to-day challenges we face on the farm are germane to questions at the heart of the very feasibility of our race. If we cannot devise ways to grow vegetables and raise animals without using non-renewable resources and poisoning our environment, we will ultimately be faced with a choice between death by starvation and death through a trillion toxic cuts to our planet.
Ultimately, the real goal is to empower a new generation of farmers to be able to go out and “get it done.” This is my real source of professional pride. At GMC, we have a growing cadre of farming alumni that are proving that we can solve this problem. The food I grow may feed hundreds, but the food raised by the students I work with will ultimately feed thousands if not millions!
Farming may not be rocket science, but it is darn close. I am particularly keen on teaching students how to manage small-scale, highly-diverse agricultural systems. A great deal of scientific theory and evidence suggest that such systems can be highly productive with minimal outside inputs. However, managing such systems requires students to adopt a holistic, systems perspective and to be able to draw on knowledge from many different fields.
I believe in a close integration of classroom-based exposure to theory and field-based exposure to reality. I teach students to examine the relationships between the different components of an agricultural ecosystem and then to seek signs of those relationships while out in the field. No two farms are the same, and each presents its own unique management challenges. My goal is to have our students leave with a nuanced sense of how agricultural ecosystems function and the knowledge and skills to develop and manage their own systems.
I have been able to be part of a time of very exciting growth in the GMC Farm and Food Project. The number of students involved in the program has tripled; production has quadrupled; we went from two cattle when I came (our oxen) to eight cattle this past fall; and the number of students who come to GMC because they want to work on the farm increases every semester.
In 2009 we initiated Farm Life Ecology: A Field and Table Intensive at Green Mountain College, which I direct. This 12-credit summer program has revolutionized how we teach agriculture during the summers at GMC and significantly expanded our farm and food curriculum.
In fall of 2008 I taught a three-credit oxen course that was one of the most rewarding educational experiences of my life with many students thanking me after our field sessions. NPR did a story on the “driving test” final.
From 2006 until 2009, I worked as an economic consultant for the Vermont Natural Resources Council in a permitting hearing on whether to build a large Wal-Mart store in a corn field on the outskirts of a northern Vermont town. Read an article about the hearing.
From July of 2004 to July of 2005, I worked as a human rights and peace advocate in Sri Lanka for the United Methodist Church. My efforts protesting the deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire garnered the attention of the Sri Lankan government and a free ride home for me. Although I would have rather stayed, I believe the attention this raised made combatants on both sides more aware of civilian casualties.
2007 – Present: Farm Manager at Green Mountain College.
2006 – 2007: Post-doctoral researcher in mathematical ecology at Kellogg Biological Station. My research included modeling ecosystems as well as examining the impacts of biofuels.
2003 – 2006: PhD work at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. I defended my dissertation entitled The Stoichiometry of Resource Utilization in Living Systems in March of 2006. Mamie Beth and Thaddeus John both born during this time. (Careful of farms with math degrees: They can’t help but be fruitful and multiply.)
1999 – 2003: Mulder CSA and Bakery. My wife, Emily, and I homesteaded and made our living by farming and selling bread, eggs, milk, beef and vegetables. Obadiah James and Zekie Allen born here.
1996 – 1999: Math Instructor at Kalamazoo College and avid volunteer at Tillers International. I split my time between teaching math and systems thinking and learning how to farm with draft animals.
1995 – 1996: Human rights worker in Sri Lanka. This was where I realized the importance of agriculture—by living with people that were literally dying because of the destruction of their food culture.
1994 – 1995: Fulbright scholar in Budapest, Hungary. Researched math during the day, volunteered at a Red Cross refugee shelter on the weekends, and got my first taste of a true rural culture by spending time in the countryside.
1992 – 1993: My master work in mathematics at the University of Oregon as well as a stint as a code-breaker for a communications think tank.
1988 – 1992: Kalamazoo College, B.A. in mathematics: Where I went from being a West Point drop-out interested in chemistry to being a feminist mathematician.
1969 – 1988: Grew up in Ada, Michigan. Barely touched a vegetable let alone a weed.
Mulder, K., N. Hagens, and B. Fisher, 2010. Burning water: A comparative analysis of the energy return on water invested. In press for Ambio.
Costanza, R., O. Pérez-Maqueo, M. L. Martinez, P. Sutton, S. J. Anderson, and K. Mulder, 2008. The Value of coastal wetlands for hurricane protection. Ambio 37:241-248.
Mulder, K. and N. Hagens, 2008. Energy return on investment: Toward a consistent framework. Ambio 37:74-79.
Mulder, K., R. Costanza and J. Erickson, 2006. The Contribution of Built, Human, Social and Natural Capital to Quality of Life in Intentional and Unintentional Communities. Ecological Economics 59:13–23.
Mulder, K., A. Troy and R. Boumans, 2007. The Role of Built, Human, Social, and Natural Capital in Determining Land Values, and the Influence of Demographics Upon this Relationship. Spatial Economic Analysis 2(2):135-156.
Costanza, R., B. Fisher, K. Mulder, S. Liu, and T. Christopher, 2007. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: A multi-scale empirical study of the relationship between species richness and net primary production. Ecological Economics 61:478-491.
Hagens, N., R. Costanza, and K. Mulder, 2006. Energy Returns on Ethanol Production. Science 312:1746 -1746.