Learning from Yale’s Sustainable Food Program Report
During June 22-25, 2015, a group of Sewanee members traveled to Yale to meet with organizers of Yale’s Sustainable Food Program and Dining Services. Since 2000, Yale’s Sustainable Food Program has developed to encompass a college farm, university composting, increased education around food and agriculture, community engagement and outreach, and a dining program that emphasizes sustainable food purchases and preparation. The purpose was to bring back to Sewanee concepts and practices that have made Yale’s Food Program dynamic and successful.
During their Yale visit, they met with several Yale staff members and students, who shared their experiences and recommendations around food, community, and sustainability at Yale. At the Yale Farm, they met with Jeremy Oldfield, Manager of Field Academics; Sophie Mendelson, Assistant Farm Manager; Jackie Lewin, Programs Manager for Professional Experience; Bella Napier, Lazarus Fellow in Food and Agriculture; and several summer farm interns. Associated with various aspects of Yale Dining, we met with Michael van Emmenes, Director of Business Intelligence & Optimization; Betty Soosai, Sustainability and Sourcing Coordinator; and Dan Flynn, Director of Hospitality & Maintenance. “We are deeply grateful for their insights, conversation, and willingness to share information about successes and lessons learned.”
The outcome are recommendations that will connect dining, food production, educational opportunities, and food waste management at Sewanee. These connections will decrease Sewanee’s carbon foot print and increase our self-reliance, while providing rich opportunities for teaching, research, and community engagement. The Sewanee Farm lies at the center of these proposed innovations, enabling the university to further capitalize on one of its greatest assets: the land that is the Domain.