Farm and Food
Saint Michael’s is an active participant in the local and resilient food economy. As a small liberal arts college, we have the privilege to think deeply and systemically about the food choices we offer students. As an institution, we recognize the role we play as a strong lever for food system change as a member of the institutional market. Read on to discover how we support student access to fresh, local food through a variety of food pathways.
The Farm at SMC
The Saint Michael’s College Farm holds a weekly Farm Stand inside Alliot Student Center during the fall semester (late-August to mid-October). Here, campus community members can see amazing variety of produce, herbs, and flowers on full display, chat with Farm Crew Members about how food is grown, where, and often pick up a few ideas on how to prepare it in their dorms, apartments, and town houses. There’s usually a delicious pesto or salsa to snack on while you shop!
In addition to the staffed, once-weekly Farm Stand, students, staff, and faculty can access farm-fresh food 5 days a week at the Self-Serve Farm Stand in the Leahy Center for the Environment’s Office, located in St. Edmund’s Hall 119. The office is open from 8:00am to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Friday. Often, but not always, a Farm Crew Member will be available for quick questions, but the honor system and long hours accommodate the myriad of flexible schedules on campus. Come in, shop, and use the new Square iPad system to make your purchase!
The Farm at SMC supports a 50-person, pre-buy CSA model. The community-supported agriculture model allows the Farm to receive income during the time of year it needs it most: the start of the growing season in spring. Campus members can “buy-in” to support the Farm, its production practices, and its values; in return, members receive their share amount in value goods throughout the growing season until food runs out in early November. Members of the CSA program can redeem the value of their share by using the In-Person Farm Stand, the Self-Serve Farm Stand in STE 119, or by placing an order through the weekly CSA-member email order form from Farm Program Manager, Christine Gall. In lieu of cash or card exchange at check out, they simply record their member name. Members can track their balance with a cloud-based spreadsheet. Student shares vary between $50 and $100, while faculty and staff options range between $150 and $300.
All campus Farm-based retail food opportunities accept cash, check, card, and KnightCard for student access and convenience.
Learn More about the In-Person Farm Stand At Saint Michael's
The Food Pantry at SMC
At SMC, we believe all members of the campus community should have access to food that supports their health and wellness. Founded on the Edmundite principles of social justice and positive social impact, the Food Pantry at SMC was started in the fall of 2023 to improve food security on campus. The Pantry, which is open to all in the Saint Michael’s community, provides food items as well as basic kitchen supplies and personal hygiene products. The intention of this space is to empower and support all community members so that they thrive, “Do Well, and Do Good.”
The Food Pantry at SMC is located in Alliot 204 and is open every Thursday at 12:00pm to Friday at 12:00pm. To stay updated on the Pantry and know when it is open during breaks, follow the Instagram account: @foodpantry.smcvt
Saint Michael’s food service provider, Sodexo, continually strives to incorporate local products into the main dining hall on campus, the Green Mountain Dining Hall in Alliot. In fact, Sodexo has made a statewide commitment, Vermont First, to support the local food system in the state. Click on the following link to learn more about the types of food local farmers and producers provide (when available and in season) to Saint Michael’s: Vermont First.
Sodexo continues to be a key partner in increasing access to food from the the Farm at SMC for the student body. Dining hall favorites such as tomatoes, salad greens, green beans, squash, sweet peppers, and carrots have been sourced from the Farm when there is an excess. In 2023, the Farm sold 983 pounds of food to Sodexo to be used for food in the Green Mountain Dining Hall. However, the partnership between Sodexo and the Farm extends beyond one of wholesale sales. Sodexo often sponsors farm events by preparing farm food for on-farm luncheons, sponsors student positions, and supports farm operations in cooler months with access to an indoor wash station and prep areas for processed goods.
Other sustainable initiatives that part of campus dining include:
- All seafood in the dining hall is on the Sustainable Seafood Watch list
- Fair trade bananas, coffee and tea are available
- All eggs are cage free
Read more about Campus Dining here.
Auxiliary Dining Options
Located in Dion Student Center, Einstein Brothers Bagel Shop provides breakfast and coffee from 7:30am to 2:00pm and converts into the Quad Grill from 7:00pm to 12:00am. Serving hot sandwiches and other grilled items, students can access food for late-night study breaks. Vending machines can be found throughout the academic buildings and in Cafe Cheray (1st floor Cheray Hall).
There are a variety of SMC-sponsored events that serve food, such as Coffee Hours, Residence Life weekend activities, the International Festival, Late Night Grilling, EarthFest, Green Up’s Real Food Meal, and much, much more. These events are often advertised on posters and on the TV screens around campus, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Where We Steward Farm and Food on Campus
Through the relationship the Center has with Sodexo, we are able to provide local, fresh, culturally-appropriate foods for our students whenever possible. The Vermont First initiative and wholesale purchasing from the Farm at SMC have been the primary ways that the dining hall provides fresh, local produce and meats.
A big part of managing a dining hall is managing food waste. All pre-consumer food waste is transferred to our on-campus compost pile located in the Natural Area by our Facilities team and is turned into soil over time. Post-consumer food waste is taken by our waste management contractor, Casella, screened for contamination (such as utensils, plastic wrappers, bottle caps, etc.), and composted into gases to be burned as energy.
Many people do not understand where food in the grocery store comes from and how it is grown. The Farm is the main location on campus where students and other community members can learn about and engage in agriculture through immersion. The mission of the Farm 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.
Read more about the Farm here.
Beginning as a curriculum project created by two students for Professor Kristyn Achilich’s Environmental Education course, the Raised Bed Garden was constructed in the summer of 2023 to help answer the following question: How can food be representative of our community? Three demonstration beds were assembled next to the Pollinator Gardens between Alliot and Joyce, tall enough and in an accessible location for those who use mobility aids.
Each spring, a survey is sent out the SMC community to gather suggestions for culturally-representative foods to grow in the three demonstration beds. The goal of these gardens is to show the community how a variety of crops are cultivated. Everything harvested from the Raised Bed Garden goes directly to THRIVE (the Food Pantry) so that the food is serving the community it represents.
THRIVE, formerly known as the Food Pantry at SMC, was created to address food security issues found on our campus after a 2018 research project revealed high levels of food insecurity within the student body. The physical space of THRIVE is a hub for food items, basic kitchen supplies, and personal hygiene products; these items are available for anyone who is a part of the SMC community-student or employee. It is located in Alliot 204 and is open every Thursday at 12:00pm to Friday at 12:00pm. The intention of the space is to empower and support all community members so that they THRIVE, “Do Well, and Do Good.”
To stay updated on THRIVE and know when it is open during breaks, follow the Instagram account: @foodpantry.smcvt
The Food Forest can be found in the SMC Natural Area. Created in May of 2022 by a determined student, Anna Beach ’22, with the help of Professor Trevien Stanger, the Facilities team, and volunteers from MOVE, the Food Forest is an area of diverse planting of edible plants that mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. The purpose of the SMC Food Forest is to enhance biodiversity and ecological processes, to cultivate a sense of place and an expanded sense of community, and to demonstrate how reciprocity with the natural world can help meet community needs. Apples, pears, plums, and perennial companion plants are slowly maturing over the years and will eventually produce food to help feed the SMC community.
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