By Jess Gerrior, Sustainability Coordinator, Franklin Pierce University

Posted April 29, 2015


Digging In, Serving Up at Franklin Pierce University

Reflecting on Sustainable Food and the Farm to Institution Summit

I’d like to give the spotlight to Samantha Bureau, a Franklin Pierce University psychology student and athlete with whom I had the pleasure of presenting at the first Farm to Institution Summit on April 9th at UMass Amherst.

Together with a team of Franklin Pierce University purchasing, dining, faculty and student leaders, we shared our project on “Digging In, Serving Up: How a Freshman Year Food & Sustainability Discourse Fostered Healthy Change in Campus Food Service.” Our presentation described how FPU’s Sustainability Center, New England Center for Civic Life, and Composition faculty are creating a more aware and active student population that is invested in food and sustainability decisions. These are Sam’s words of reflection on the experience:

“Before Franklin Pierce, sustainability was not really on my radar. I grew up in a family where buying local, recycling and conserving energy and water were all things that we did on a regular basis, but it was not something we put much thought into — we just did it. But with the help of the Digging In program at Franklin Pierce that was pioneered in my freshman year Composition II class, sustainability, and food in particular, became topics that I found myself thinking about quite often.

"Through this class, I began to realize that sustainability is more than just recycling and saving energy, just like food is something more than what we eat to survive. Food used to be solely a necessity; something we needed to function, but now, food is more of a social mechanism. Food brings people together and helps us create culture.

"The Digging In program helped us not only explore how sustainable different foods were, but helped us discuss and present our concerns about food to those who could make a difference. From these types of discussions we were able to improve the quality and nutrition of our food we consume regularly at the school cafeteria, and we have encouraged many students to support local farmers by buying local or even enjoying some fresh food from our campus garden.

"Now here I am, a junior, writing about my experiences my freshman year. Most people do not get the opportunity to publicly share the impact certain undergraduate classes had on them, but I was fortunate enough to get to share my experience and my research at the Farm to Institution Summit at UMass Amherst this April. Here, I was part of a panel that consisted of faculty, staff, and students, all with one common goal ­— to share what we have done in hopes that others may want to do the same.

"It is my opinion that our presentation was a success, and that what we shared helped plant a seed in others’ brains, encouraging them to take on a similar project within their own institutions. Sustainability is on the rise and I am excited to see what the future has in store for us not only at Franklin Pierce, but in communities all around us as well.”

Jess Gerrior is a sustainability educator currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Studies while directing programs that support community-centered learning and leadership. She lives in Antrim with her tribe and plays as a jammer and blocker with Monadnock Roller Derby.