Senior Alejandro Rincón boiled down more than 40 gallons of sap collected from trees on campus to make maple syrup on Sunday, March 7, as part of his environmental studies at Loomis Chaffee.
About the Program
Harkening back to the school’s farming roots, the Loomis Chaffee sustainable agriculture program teaches students about the importance of local, sustainable food systems. The program reconnects students with a sense of place and enables them to get their hands dirty while working the land and planting and harvesting crops.
Each year students help to prepare the campus’s community gardens, where faculty and staff maintain plots throughout the growing season, and students sow, maintain, and harvest the school’s nearly one-acre agricultural plot, where we grow a variety of vegetables and fruit. Produce from the agricultural plot is used in the school dining hall and donated to a local food bank. Students also enjoy using the harvested produce in recipes, making grape jelly from our Concord grapes, and concocting green smoothies, for instance. The agriculture program also partners with community service groups to teach local young children about cultivating vegetables and the important of growing healthy foods. Students can choose to participate in the agriculture program as an extracurricular interest or as an afternoon activity in place of a sport in the fall or spring.
Scientists from the Nature Conservancy and Loomis students and faculty planted disease-resistant American elm trees on campus as part of a project related to preserving the ecosystems of the Connecticut River floodplain.
The Loomis Chaffee community gardens served as both communal space and a much-needed escape during times of uncertainty for faculty, staff, and their families this summer.
About the Director
Gratia Lee attended graduate school at Antioch University of New England where she earned a masters of science in environmental education. After working on an organic farm in northern Michigan, she realized that growing food is what she wanted to do. She has worked on farms in both Michigan and Connecticut. Gratia manages all the gardens here on campus.