The Farm at Saint Michael’s College

Outdoor Classrooms

The Farm at Saint Michael's College

The Saint Michael’s College Organic Garden was established in the Spring of 2008. It began as a seed planted by two students, an English major and an Art major, with a vision to provide the campus community with a space to learn about how to grow food in an ecologically sound manner. Since it was founded, the garden has become the most popular program within the Office of Sustainability, with interest and engagement among students and faculty exponentially increasing.

With increased interest brought a need for more space and staff to support the program. During the 2015/16 school year, the Garden added the 1.7 acre Permaculture Site. The program now grows on 2 acres of college owned land, is home to a 26×72 foot hoop house, a fruit and berry orchard, raised beds, and 12 – 30×30 foot low-till, deep bed vegetable production field plots.

The Garden Program hosts weekly garden work sessions, a weekly community luncheon during the summer and early fall, and is used by several courses a semester as living laboratory and outdoor classroom. Countless other events and student groups access the food grown by student gardeners or utilize the space in the garden for their own programming.

To learn more, work in the garden, or develop courses, please read about the gardens, classroom and opportunities to get involved below or contact the Academic Program Coordinator:

Kristyn D. Achilich
kachilich@smcvt.edu
802.654.2730
Office: Saint Edmund’s 129
Campus Mail: Box 5

About the Program

History

St. Michael’s College has a long history of growing food on campus. In the 1980s the first formal garden program sprouted as the Hunger Gardens, where members of the Edmundites teamed up with students to grow food that was donated to local food shelves in Colchester, Winooski and Burlington.

The Garden Program blossomed in 2008 when the first garden site was established. Students on campus recognized the importance of organic gardening and with the help of Facilities, the Environmental Council, Green Up and the Student Association created the College’s Organic Garden. Food grown in the garden was sold at a weekly Farm Stand and the garden bounty continued to support the local community through donations to the Intervale Fair Share Program.

In 2015, the Garden expanded into a new 1.7 acre site behind the Observatory and became the Farm at Saint Michael’s College. 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 at the Farm is sold at the the weekly Farm Stand, a self-serve farm stand in Alliot Hall, and Sodexo to be served in the College’s dining services. Plus, food continues to be donated to the Intervale Fair Share program.

Mission

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.
Goals

  • 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

The Space

Permaculture Site

The permaculture site has a long history of growing. In the 80’s and early 90’s it was home to the Hunger Gardens and a tree nursery for the landscaping trees found around campus. In 2015, it saw a resurgence of student interest and energy as the permaculture site of the Garden Program blossomed.

Today, the permaculture site is home to pollinator gardens, vegetable production, a fruit and berry orchard, a 26 x 72-foot hoop house and a beautiful wash station. The summer of 2016 was the first true growing season at the site and the soil provided resilient fertility, the hoop house provided 90 pounds of salad greens in the early season, beautiful cucumbers and tomatoes in the height of the growing season and promises sweet potatoes, herbs and late season greens for the fall.

Students who engage with the Garden Program practice and study today’s best practices in small scale, sustainable agriculture. The gardens are cultivated under low-till standards often with hand tools and rarely with a small tiller. The annual vegetable production is done in permanent, deep raised beds and crops are spaced intensively. Cover crop, crop rotation and companion planting ensure soil fertility and are crucial to disease and pest prevention. The orchard is intercropped with nitrogen fixing species and is modeled after an agroforest system.

The permaculture site has undergone intensive development since the 2015/2016 academic year. There truly is no way to describe all that happens down there. One must experience it. Check out the events and open garden hours for opportunities to visit the site.

Check out the interactive campus map for the permaculture site’s location here.

Organic Garden

The organic garden is the original site of the garden program. This 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. The site was procured with help from Physical Plant and support from the Environmental Council, Green Up and the Student Association.

The site has a stocked tool shed, perimeter fence, a well with pump and cistern to water and is home to an organically managed permanent bed system with a rich organic soil horizon.

The site was able to rest during the 2016 growing season while the garden crew focused on launching the permaculture site. It remained in cover crop: a rye/vetch combination through the winter and spring and buckwheat in the summer.

Check out the interactive campus map for the organic garden’s location here.

Get Involved

Open Garden

The garden is open to all campus members during daylight hours Monday through Friday. However, it is crucial to the success of the crops and the safety of visitors that the garden be tended by experienced gardeners when visitors or volunteers access the site. If you’d like to access the garden during hours not listed below, please contact Kristyn at kachilich@smcvt.edu.

Work Study

The Garden Program participates in the campus work study program. Work study students are trained in the garden’s agricultural and food safety practices by the Academic Program Coordinator. These students grow into leadership positions with opportunities to lead their peers and community members in garden projects.

Work study students:

  • staff the garden during open garden hours,
  • preform garden maintenance,
  • lead the harvest, wash and pack process,
  • prepare for Salad Days,
  • staff the Farm Stand,
  • update social media and marketing opportunities,
  • assist in crop planning, and
  • collect harvest, sale and donation data.

Work Study students participate in a comprehensive application and interview process. This process mirrors that of a job interview post-graduation and includes a “working interview” during which the student works alongside current garden staff and the Academic Program Coordinator. This interview is an opportunity to display work ethic, follow through, attention to detail, willingness to learn, comradery and one’s interest in the skills needed to successfully run a small-scale organically managed and ecological farm. It is truly a “real-life” job opportunity on campus.

If you are interested in applying for a work study position or looking to transfer your current position to the Garden Program, please contact Kristyn at kachilich@smcvt.edu.

Community Gardens

St. Michael’s staff and students are fortunate to share our growing space with elders and veterans living in our community. The 2016 growing season fostered a new community partnership on campus with the help of HANDS, Vermont Community Garden Network, Charlie Nardozzi and local area military support services.

The program is titled: Hands in the Dirt. The goal is to provide more fresh food to elders and veterans in our community through teaching and education. The group of 10-15 veterans tend to their gardens three times a week. Once every two weeks, local garden guru, Charlie Nardozzi offers a garden lesson to build the skills and knowledge of the gardeners. The gardeners harvest and contribute to the food shelves at the Veterans Association and the temporary military housing provided by COTS. The program increases the food security for its members but also enriches our gardens with wisdom, history and authentic stories of experiences that broaden our students’ understanding of the world.

Salad Days

Salad days blossomed during the 2016 growing season and has continued to be a popular Wednesday destination. We expanded the event from an occasional gathering in the garden to a weekly event through the summer growing season. This year we will attempt to host salad days through September in hopes that more students, staff and faculty access the garden. The event promises a meal of the freshest salad prepared on site directly after that morning’s harvest. We also include bread and freshly made herb butter. We regularly have 10-20 people in attendance.

Please join us this September, Wednesdays from 12 – 12:30.

Donations

True to our Edmundite roots, the garden is a place of service and education. Groups of students, staff and faculty accompany our work study students to accomplish the heavy lifting. These groups come to us by way of athletic teams, staff community service days, the MOVE office and many others. As a result, we grow lots of beautiful food. Our food finds its way to the campus community through the farm stand and supports the greater community through the Intervale Fair Share Program, donations to the local area Food Shelves and to our campus program, Baked Love. We are proud to send our food to those who are less fortunate and hope that our education and community gardening programs will make an impact on our community’s food security now and into the future.

Outdoor Classroom

Students who work in the garden through an academic avenue often contribute to its development. Research findings contribute to growing practices, internships create new structures like the wash station, pollinator gardens and site plans and a capstone project for an art major can help define the dynamic functions of the different spaces in the garden.

In addition, many classes utilize the resources in the garden for class discussions, laboratory experiments and research. For a professor, the site offers the ability to study nature, agricultural practice or lead students in a reflective observation of place. Professors also engage their students in a work project to experience growing one’s food in order to ground discussions in gender, equity, labor or simply to build class morale and camaraderie.

Classes that have used the garden as an outdoor classroom include:

BI 110: Insects and Society
BI 247 : Plant Biology
CEL 205 : Critical Perspectives of Service
ES 106: Environment and Society
ES 201: Environmental Research Methods
ES 225: Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture
ES 305: Environmental History
PS 101: General Psychology

Please contact Kristyn at kachilich@smcvt.edu if you would like to arrange a class experience in the garden or set up an internship.

Resources

Take a tour of our Permaculture site with Kristyn Achilich, the Academic Program Coordinator for the Garden Program, and see all that we produce!

About the Program

History

St. Michael’s College has a long history of growing food on campus. In the 1980s the first formal garden program sprouted as the Hunger Gardens, where members of the Edmundites teamed up with students to grow food that was donated to local food shelves in Colchester, Winooski and Burlington.

The Garden Program blossomed in 2008 when the first garden site was established. Students on campus recognized the importance of organic gardening and with the help of Facilities, the Environmental Council, Green Up and the Student Association created the College’s Organic Garden. Food grown in the garden was sold at a weekly Farm Stand and the garden bounty continued to support the local community through donations to the Intervale Fair Share Program.

In 2015, the Garden expanded into a new 1.7 acre site behind the Observatory and became the Farm at Saint Michael’s College. 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 at the Farm is sold at the the weekly Farm Stand, a self-serve farm stand in Alliot Hall, and Sodexo to be served in the College’s dining services. Plus, food continues to be donated to the Intervale Fair Share program.

Mission

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.
Goals

  • 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

The Space

Permaculture Site

The permaculture site has a long history of growing. In the 80’s and early 90’s it was home to the Hunger Gardens and a tree nursery for the landscaping trees found around campus. In 2015, it saw a resurgence of student interest and energy as the permaculture site of the Garden Program blossomed.

Today, the permaculture site is home to pollinator gardens, vegetable production, a fruit and berry orchard, a 26 x 72-foot hoop house and a beautiful wash station. The summer of 2016 was the first true growing season at the site and the soil provided resilient fertility, the hoop house provided 90 pounds of salad greens in the early season, beautiful cucumbers and tomatoes in the height of the growing season and promises sweet potatoes, herbs and late season greens for the fall.

Students who engage with the Garden Program practice and study today’s best practices in small scale, sustainable agriculture. The gardens are cultivated under low-till standards often with hand tools and rarely with a small tiller. The annual vegetable production is done in permanent, deep raised beds and crops are spaced intensively. Cover crop, crop rotation and companion planting ensure soil fertility and are crucial to disease and pest prevention. The orchard is intercropped with nitrogen fixing species and is modeled after an agroforest system.

The permaculture site has undergone intensive development since the 2015/2016 academic year. There truly is no way to describe all that happens down there. One must experience it. Check out the events and open garden hours for opportunities to visit the site.

Check out the interactive campus map for the permaculture site’s location here.

Organic Garden

The organic garden is the original site of the garden program. This 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. The site was procured with help from Physical Plant and support from the Environmental Council, Green Up and the Student Association.

The site has a stocked tool shed, perimeter fence, a well with pump and cistern to water and is home to an organically managed permanent bed system with a rich organic soil horizon.

The site was able to rest during the 2016 growing season while the garden crew focused on launching the permaculture site. It remained in cover crop: a rye/vetch combination through the winter and spring and buckwheat in the summer.

Check out the interactive campus map for the organic garden’s location here.

Get Involved

Open Garden

The garden is open to all campus members during daylight hours Monday through Friday. However, it is crucial to the success of the crops and the safety of visitors that the garden be tended by experienced gardeners when visitors or volunteers access the site. If you’d like to access the garden during hours not listed below, please contact Kristyn at kachilich@smcvt.edu.

Work Study

The Garden Program participates in the campus work study program. Work study students are trained in the garden’s agricultural and food safety practices by the Academic Program Coordinator. These students grow into leadership positions with opportunities to lead their peers and community members in garden projects.

Work study students:

  • staff the garden during open garden hours,
  • preform garden maintenance,
  • lead the harvest, wash and pack process,
  • prepare for Salad Days,
  • staff the Farm Stand,
  • update social media and marketing opportunities,
  • assist in crop planning, and
  • collect harvest, sale and donation data.

Work Study students participate in a comprehensive application and interview process. This process mirrors that of a job interview post-graduation and includes a “working interview” during which the student works alongside current garden staff and the Academic Program Coordinator. This interview is an opportunity to display work ethic, follow through, attention to detail, willingness to learn, comradery and one’s interest in the skills needed to successfully run a small-scale organically managed and ecological farm. It is truly a “real-life” job opportunity on campus.

If you are interested in applying for a work study position or looking to transfer your current position to the Garden Program, please contact Kristyn at kachilich@smcvt.edu.

Community Gardens

St. Michael’s staff and students are fortunate to share our growing space with elders and veterans living in our community. The 2016 growing season fostered a new community partnership on campus with the help of HANDS, Vermont Community Garden Network, Charlie Nardozzi and local area military support services.

The program is titled: Hands in the Dirt. The goal is to provide more fresh food to elders and veterans in our community through teaching and education. The group of 10-15 veterans tend to their gardens three times a week. Once every two weeks, local garden guru, Charlie Nardozzi offers a garden lesson to build the skills and knowledge of the gardeners. The gardeners harvest and contribute to the food shelves at the Veterans Association and the temporary military housing provided by COTS. The program increases the food security for its members but also enriches our gardens with wisdom, history and authentic stories of experiences that broaden our students’ understanding of the world.

Salad Days

Salad days blossomed during the 2016 growing season and has continued to be a popular Wednesday destination. We expanded the event from an occasional gathering in the garden to a weekly event through the summer growing season. This year we will attempt to host salad days through September in hopes that more students, staff and faculty access the garden. The event promises a meal of the freshest salad prepared on site directly after that morning’s harvest. We also include bread and freshly made herb butter. We regularly have 10-20 people in attendance.

Please join us this September, Wednesdays from 12 – 12:30.

Donations

True to our Edmundite roots, the garden is a place of service and education. Groups of students, staff and faculty accompany our work study students to accomplish the heavy lifting. These groups come to us by way of athletic teams, staff community service days, the MOVE office and many others. As a result, we grow lots of beautiful food. Our food finds its way to the campus community through the farm stand and supports the greater community through the Intervale Fair Share Program, donations to the local area Food Shelves and to our campus program, Baked Love. We are proud to send our food to those who are less fortunate and hope that our education and community gardening programs will make an impact on our community’s food security now and into the future.

Outdoor Classroom

Students who work in the garden through an academic avenue often contribute to its development. Research findings contribute to growing practices, internships create new structures like the wash station, pollinator gardens and site plans and a capstone project for an art major can help define the dynamic functions of the different spaces in the garden.

In addition, many classes utilize the resources in the garden for class discussions, laboratory experiments and research. For a professor, the site offers the ability to study nature, agricultural practice or lead students in a reflective observation of place. Professors also engage their students in a work project to experience growing one’s food in order to ground discussions in gender, equity, labor or simply to build class morale and camaraderie.

Classes that have used the garden as an outdoor classroom include:

BI 110: Insects and Society
BI 247 : Plant Biology
CEL 205 : Critical Perspectives of Service
ES 106: Environment and Society
ES 201: Environmental Research Methods
ES 225: Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture
ES 305: Environmental History
PS 101: General Psychology

Please contact Kristyn at kachilich@smcvt.edu if you would like to arrange a class experience in the garden or set up an internship.

Resources

Take a tour of our Permaculture site with Kristyn Achilich, the Academic Program Coordinator for the Garden Program, and see all that we produce!