The Farm and Food project consists of a variety of programs to keep students engaged in hands-on learning.
Green Mountain College’s Farmhouse includes offices, teaching spaces and a commercially licensed kitchen where some real exploratory learning begins. What does this mean for students? It means hands-on learning in courses like Food Preservation, Food Safety and The Sustainable Table program. It means inviting food experts to our table, and benefiting not only from their lively talks but from their kitchen demonstrations.
We love food waste. No, really! Student workers and volunteers pick up food waste from the kitchen, dining hall and residence halls each day, carting it down to the farm for the eventually and highly satisfying end product of beautiful, rich and clean compost. The super clean stuff that we get from the kitchen (“pre-consumer”) goes to the pigs, which then produce their own fantastic contribution to our soil. Dining and dorm scraps go to the compost piles (“post-consumer”), where the chickens patiently wait for their time to dine. Of course, human hands also get involved with pile turning and, over time, what some had once considered lowly refuse has decomposed into a fantastic fertilizer, added to the garden beds throughout Cerridwen Farm.
Even the landscaping crew contributes to our composting initiative, distributing leaf litter in the compost piles when extra nitrogen or heat is needed, or breaking it down further into mulch for use around our campus hardwood trees as a way of adding nutrients back into the soil.
From serving squash and tomatoes grown on the campus farm to collecting food scraps at the dining hall for composting back at the college’s Cerridwen Farm, Green Mountain College’s Farm & Food Project is dedicated to closing the loop of the local food system. 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.
The Sustainable Table
The Sustainable Table is an intensive 10-week, full-season program based at Green Mountain College’s diversified Cerridwen Farm. Gain hands-on experience in a range of skills, from caring for soil, crops and pastured animals on our farm, to feeding the community and nourishing yourself and others with food grown locally. Learn not only culinary skills and how to manage an integrated farming system but how to bring the ingredients together to create a more just and socially sustainable food system.
Research in Sustainable Agriculture
- Since its inception, the Farm and Food Project has attracted over $350,000 in funding for research in sustainable agriculture and food production. Research projects include:
- Research in fossil-fuel-free and renewable energy based food production systems on GMC’s Cerridwen Farm
- Assessment of local and regional food processing technologies in collaboration with the Rutland Area Farm and
- Food Link and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture
- Assessment of the college’s regional food purchasing initiative in collaboration with Chartwells, the college’s dining service