Green Mountain College participated in the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) higher education case study project conducted earlier this year and was one of three that were recognized for successful and diverse approaches to values-based and local/regional food purchasing in higher education.
These case studies were inspired by the Vermont Farm to Plate Report, “Opportunities and Barriers to Greater Local Food Procurement in Vermont Higher Education Food Service,” in which 12 of the 21 higher education food service operations in Vermont were interviewed about strategies that enable them to utilize local foods. Based on the report, NOFA-VT and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets wanted to dig in further to college operations that were successfully purchasing and utilizing local foods.
Through the interview process it became clear that each institution was so unique that simply explaining a single practice used to procure and serve local food would not tell the whole story. As such, we expanded the scope of each case study to offer a more holistic view of each institution’s local food program. It takes more than a single conversation with one person on a campus to understand a food program holistically and as such, we spoke with dining directors, faculty and staff members, and college administrators to learn the local food stories of each campus.
The results are case studies that are partly stories – of how each campus progressed to their current local food purchasing and practices – and partly illustrations of best practices that are key to their success and could be implemented on other campuses. Mostly, these case studies are an opportunity for Vermont’s colleges and universities to learn from and inspire each other’s local food programs.
Bennington College: Connecting Campus Values to the Dining Hall
Green Mountain College: Incorporating the Dining Program into Sustainability Education
Middlebury College: Farm & Food Relationships Matter