Farm Life Ecology: A Field & Table Intensive at Green Mountain College
The 13 week-long, 12 credit summer intensive program allows students to manage all elements of the farm’s operation while learning first-hand about sustainable agriculture. Four subject areas comprise the program’s academic core including organic crop and animal management; management of farm systems; development of agricultural technologies with a focus on human and animal power; and the social and cultural importance of regional foods.
Students will live in tents on the farm and prepare communal dinners made from produce they grow and harvest. In fact, the goal during the program is to eat only food that is grown or raised on the farm: no processing, no packaging – just fresh produce, eggs, honey, milk and meat.
“The experience helps students understand how consumption is tied to production, allowing them to explore issues about energy, agriculture and sustainability,” said Cerridwen Farm Manager Dr.
In their course work, students investigate the theory and practice of traditional means of food preparation. Activities like bread baking, cheese making and canning and preserving food are explored from historical and cultural perspectives. Each week a different student team researches and prepares the communal meals.
Students are expected to spend 1-2 hours per week developing a farm research project focused on the efficiency of human and animal powered technologies at Cerridwen Farm (GMC’s resident team of oxen, Lou and Bill, perform plowing and haying). They also devote seven hours per week to keep records on planting, germination, yield and management for a subset of the farm’s crops. And a farmer’s work is never done — students are expected to pitch in about 15 hours per week on farm chores.
“The production of food is the most fundamental way in which we relate to the environment,” said Mulder. “While it may be hard to imagine surviving without ipods, cars, and air conditioning, it’s been done before. But we must produce food, and the ways in which we produce food can either exacerbate problems such as global warming and energy shortages or it can become part of the solution. Cerridwen Farm is a place where students can take an active role in the current food revolution that is transforming farming and how we view food.”
More information on the intensive can be found at http://www.greenmtn.edu/farm_intensive.aspx