FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2010
Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications
Duke Energy Foundation Awards $12,000 Grant to GMC
POULTNEY--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. It contains office and classroom space for the Farm & Food Project, a GMC initiative that supports GMC students who take courses, conduct research, or volunteer their time in service-learning projects. The SHC is also an important resource for the community of farmers in Rutland County, providing office space for a VISTA volunteer who coordinates programs with the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link (RAFFL).
"Food is centrally important to everything we do here," said Philip Ackerman-Leist, associate professor of environmental studies and director of the Farm and Food Project. "Having a commercial kitchen facility is a natural fit with our educational and outreach objectives."
The new kitchen will be used by students in the College's new sustainable agriculture and food production major, and the Farm and Field Ecology Intensive, a 12-credit, 13-week summer program. It will also serve as a demonstration space for educational workshops and testing methods for food processing and preservation. Cerridwen Farm is currently the home of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture's mobile quick freeze unit which has been granted to the College and RAFFL. The freezer's extended stay in Poultney will serve as a case study for the potential success of mobile quick freeze units across the state and is expected to increase the ability of Vermont farmers' to market seasonal products throughout the year.
The new commercial kitchen will streamline and organize space for large-group workshops and improve access for independent or group projects, according to Eleanor Tison, adjunct professor of anthropology and environmental studies. "The farmhouse kitchen space is integral to that course-we have weekly labs using the facilities to process the Cerridwen Farm harvest," said Tison, who teaches a food preservation course at the College.
The Duke Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy. Along with employee and retiree volunteers, the Duke Energy Foundation actively works to improve the quality of life in our communities, lending expertise in the form of leadership and financial support through grants to charitable organizations. Employees in Duke Energy's Rutland office focus on growing the company's commercial wind power business, which has invested more than $1 billion to bring nine large-scale wind farms on line throughout the U.S.