Leaders from education and agriculture are collaborating on an innovative “movable feast” of study where undergraduate and graduate students advance from the classroom to the fields, forests, businesses, and offices that make the Vermont food system one of the most unique in the nation.
This June, the 21-day Vermont Food Systems Study Tour kicks off from the University of Vermont with three days on building an urban food system. Next, students head to Sterling College for an in-depth look at artisan cheese and rural revitalization. Vermont Tech will follow with an intensive on dairy and the carbon economy, after which students proceed to Vermont Law School to study food system advocacy in the context of GMOs. Conservation is the theme at Green Mountain College, and then the course of study returns to the University of Vermont for the Food Systems Summit on food justice. The Tour concludes at Middlebury with an immersion in climate change and global food systems.
With its invitation to students from around the country, the Summer Study Tour is the latest achievement of the Vermont Higher Education Food Systems Consortium, a six-school collaboration advancing Vermont as a leading center for the study of local and global food systems.
“The Consortium is tapping Vermont’s agricultural traditions, unrivaled educational opportunities, and entrepreneurism to introduce students to new ways of thinking and earning school credit in agriculture, science, community development, law, and policy,” noted Paul Costello, the project facilitator. “Vermont sets the standard for healthy food, innovation, beautiful and productive working lands, and food systems education.”
The Consortium’s Food and Farm Education website, vermontfoodeducation.org, provides details on the Tour as well as information on the six schools’ related academic programs and the broader Consortium initiative. The Consortium’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/vhefsc) reflects dynamic campus events, institutional achievements, and news from Vermont’s corner of the food systems education world.
“Together, the schools of the consortium are dedicated to making Vermont the ‘epicenter of food systems education’ in this country,” noted Costello.
The Vermont Higher Education Food Systems Consortium is comprised of six schools: Green Mountain College, Middlebury College, Sterling College, University of Vermont, Vermont Law School, and Vermont Technical College. The initiative is facilitated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development.
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