"Is Sustainability Dead?" was the title of the open dialogue, hosted in the Norton Family Center for the Common Good during the community free period on February 12.
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, planting and harvesting crops, and helping to tend the school’s flock of laying hens.
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.
Beginning in the fall of 2015, all sophomores began to learn about the importance of growing local, healthy food, thus benefitting their own health and the world at large, as a module in their Fitness and Wellness classes. Through agriculture, students will learn about personal wellness on both a physical and mental level and will have the opportunity to reconnect with the rich landscape and agricultural history of Loomis in a way that is healthy for both them and the earth.
Ag-proctors Gunnar Simons '18 and Julianna Lee '19 launched their handmade cider press developed with support from a Gilchrist Environmental Fellowship.
On October 11, 2017 Loomis' Class of 2021 connected with the local community and added context to their Freshman Seminar discussions of altruism, philanthropy, and service during Freshman Service Day.
Summer is a very busy time in Loomis' Sustainable Agriculture Program. Gratia Lee, program director, summarizes some of the Island growing season activities.
A carload of Loomis-grown fresh produce was delivered to a local food bank on August 16, to share with the school's neighbors.
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 and the chickens here on campus.