"Food Matters: Case Studies from The Hotchkiss School"
An interactive webinar on February 25, 2020
During the 2008-09 school year, Hotchkiss hosted the 2009 Americas Region Conference, and began an initiative to integrate our farm and dining hall as spaces for learning about the food systems and the choices we make. Since then, both the Fairfield Farm and the Hotchkiss Dining Hall have become centers for powerful experiential education for the entire School:
- Some 25 students in the fall and in the spring spend their afternoons at the farm working on projects, sharing their knowledge with local school children, and planting and harvesting food that is served in the dining hall
- Other student groups and classes engage with various aspects of our program such that almost every student develops some connection to the farm.
- Science, English, philosophy, and history classes integrate time at the farm into their curricula
- all new first year students spend time at the farm as part of orientation
- we have an annual harvest festival for the whole school
- host concerts and a for credit course as part of the Summer Portals
- and all of the dormitory proctors spend a day at the farm as part of their training
- The Grange at the farm has a kitchen that is used to teach students and adults how to prepare the food that is freshly harvested from the farm
- The head of dining services works with classes on the science of cooking, as well as to talk about the role we play in the food system.
- We have made a concerted effort to buy as much sustainably and humanely grown and raised food as we can locally (60% of our purchases), and the dining program has been recognized for the innovative purchasing decisions they have made, including their whole animal program