About The Program
St. Michael’s College has a long history of growing food on campus. In the 80’s, the first formal garden program sprouted. The Hunger Gardens were a project of Fr. John Stankiewicz. Fr. Stankiewicz, retired by the 80’s, had a notorious green thumb and was known to start the victory garden after World War II. Our own Fr. Mike Cronogue worked alongside Fr. Stankiewicz in the 80’s and early 90’s, then a student, dedicated many hours to cultivating that garden with his peers and often the hockey team. The majority of the food moved off campus to support the surrounding communities of Colchester, Winooski and Burlington through the Food Shelves.
The Garden Program blossomed in 2008 when the first garden site was established. The Organic Garden site was established in the summer of 2008 thanks to a group of students who recognized the importance of having space for the campus community to practice the art of organic gardening. With initial help from Facilities and support from the Environmental Council, Green Up and the Student Association, the Organic Garden became a fully established program on campus and is now under the Office of Sustainability. Food grown at this site reached the campus community through weekly Farm Stand in front of the Chapel. True to its roots, the garden bounty continued to support the local community through donations to the Intervale Fair Share Program.
Excitingly, student and faculty interest in food, farming and food systems mirrored state-wide growth in these areas. In 2015, the Office of Sustainability launched the development of a new 1.7 acre site behind the Observatory. Coincidently, this site was the site of the Hunger Gardens from the 80’s! The program has come full circle, become a site of current best, small and resilient agricultural practice, and continues to expand opportunities for students, staff, faculty and the community to engage with a food, farming and food systems on campus.
Today, food grown on campus moves to our weekly Farm Stand, our self-serve farm stand, campus programs and to the Intervale Fair Share program.
The mission of the Garden Program is:
- To enhance the educational experience of the campus community by providing an outdoor classroom for hands-on, experiential learning opportunities as it relates to food systems and sustainable agriculture.
- To support existing programs on campus and carry on the Edmundite tradition of social justice and service as it relates to food issues in our surrounding community.
- To serve as a living classroom for academic courses and research
- To increase experiential and service learning opportunities on campus
- To increase the presence of locally sourced food on campus
- To foster a connection between applied and academic skill sets required for food systems inquiry