“It’s all about connecting to place.” says Professor Jon Andelson ’70, Director of the Center for Prairie Studies.
The Center for Prairie Studies is strongly committed to bringing together scientific and humanistic perspectives on the natural and cultural aspects of our region, past and present. On Grinnell’s campus, local foods are a perfect meeting place for interlacing those perspectives. The Grinnell Local Foods Alliance (GALFA) works to encourage local institutions and individuals to buy locally-produced food to increase the connection between where we live and who we are. Grinnell is proud to offer two different Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share programs, a local foods co-op, as well as a student garden and a community garden, which distribute local fresh produce to low-income families. The student and community gardens are staffed by Grinnell College students for 8 weeks during the summer through an apprenticeship program now in its 11th year.
This summer, the two GALFA apprentices, Jackie Blair ’12 and James Yox ’12, focused on local foods and community building. As apprentices, they hosted local foods cooking classes, did youth outreach, worked with the MICA food pantry, and maintained the two gardens culminating in the first annual Student Garden Harvest Festival. Their vegetarian feast used over twelve kinds of vegetables from the student garden and allowed Blair and Yox, as well as Andelson and Jordan Scheibel ’10, who served as grill-masters, to share their harvest and their love of local foods with students, new and returning. Originally expecting 50-75 people, Blair said, “We were extremely pleased that so many people, around 200, came out to support local foods and the Student Garden!"
In addition to GALFA, many student groups are looking to make sustainability a way of life on campus. EcoHouse, a project house, focuses on sustainable living practices. The Student Environmental Committee (SEC) is a weekly Student Government Association standing committee that works to inform and educate the student body on the environmental policies and practices of the College.
With President Kington signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Grinnell is demonstrating its promise to creating a sustainable future and a reduced carbon footprint.
Learn more about Environment and Sustainability at Grinnell.
by Mona Ghadiri ’11