Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.16
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Green Mountain College
IN-3: Innovation 3

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Philip Ackerman-Leist
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies,Director of the Farm and Food Project
Environmental Studies
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A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Green Mountain College offers a unique educational opportunity for students interested in studying about agriculture and sustainability. Housed in the newly renovated Solar Harvest Center, the GMC Farm and Food Project uses its 22-acre farm located on the Green Mountain campus not only to grow food for the dining hall, teach students how to raise animals and organic vegetables, but also to explore the concept of fossil-fuel free farming through sophisticated research methods in a new ten-year research project. Students learn to drive the team of oxen to till the fields, use solar energy to heat water, and explore the possibilities of passive building design. Students also voted to utilize $10,000 of their own campus greening funds to install a new walk-in freezer/fridge unit that will support the college's local purchasing efforts.

A key component of this program are the educational opportunities, including the new Sustainable Agriculture undergraduate major, a 12-credit summer farm intensive, and a new online Masters of Sustainable Food Systems program. These are described in more detail in points ER 10 and 11.

Innovative and new initiatives include research on the market potential and possible charitable food system use of flash-frozen products in the Northeast, thanks to the three-year donation of a state of the art mobile flash-freeze unit from the VT Agency of Agriculture. The research associated with the flash-freeze unit--linked to the processing capacity of the new certified commercial kitchen on the farm--is a collaboration between GMC, RAFFL (Rutland Area Farm & Food Link), and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District. This research is focusing on strategies to build the capacity and strength of the Rutland area food system and the local agricultural economy.

The Farm and Food Project has been recognized for its innovative efforts in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems, resulting in $400,000 in grants in the past three years, including funding from the Windham Foundation to research solar-thermal root zone heating for season extension; a grant from the Yavanna Foundation to research fossil-fuel agriculture; funding from Duke Energy and the Pierson Family Foundation to renovate the Solar Harvest Center commercial kitchen; an award from the Jane’s Trust to research the market potential for flash-frozen products; and funding to complete renovations of the Solar Harvest Center, including installation of an "lawn to garden" demonstration project.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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