Cultivating leadership using an educational approach comprised of systems thinking, experiential learning, and cohort living, and built around academic content and context in food studies.

What does it mean for you?

  • The chance to touch, taste, and work with all aspects of the local food system.
  • A comprehensive view of the local food system and its role in urban and rural economic development, including direct contact with experts.
  • Engagement in a learning community around food studies, as students live and participate together.
  • An online component that allows FoodWorks Fellows to connect across sites and compare rural and urban food systems experiences.

"FoodWorks showed me the social, environmental, and economic value of farms beyond purely producing food. I want to connect more people with their land, environment, and food systems in a meaningful way. My cheese making operation will be open to Middlebury students as a place to learn about small-scale, sustainable farming and I hope to one day welcome FoodWorks interns!"

-Linnea Burnham '14.5

(Linnea received a Watson fellowship to study cheese around the world, before returning to VT to make cheese at Double Star Farm.)

Our Course "Experiencing Food Systems"

In this course we explore ways that activities across the food system from production (and fish capture) through waste disposal affect ecological integrity, individual health, community well-being, and society’s potential to meet human needs for food and adequate nutrition now and in the future.  The course is closely integrated with weekly field-trips to observe these food system activities, including innovative projects to improve environmental, social, economic and health impacts.  Students will form cross-site working groups that match the topic of the internships they choose through the Middlebury FoodWorks Fellowship Program; these Topical Teams will contrast and compare experiences across sites.

Students will have assigned readings each week to complement their field-trips and to encourage probing into questions of equity, discrimination, working conditions and remuneration.  Students will be expected to contribute twice during the summer to a course blog, work with their teams on contrasts and comparisons across sites, and develop a video about each site’s shared experiences.  

Our Internships

While there are several internships with a traditional focus on food & agriculture, many of the opportunities appeal to students interested in the following career fields and/or skills and interests: Retail & Merchandising, Government and Policy; Communications & Media, Economic Development, Education, Research, Science & Technology, Architecture & Planning, Non-profit, Business and Consulting, Social Entrepreneurship, Health, Community Organizing, Event Planning and Coordination, and more. You recieve a list once you have been accepted. 

Our Locations

Middlebury Vermont Fellows will be housed on the Middlebury College campus, which lies in Vermont’s Champlain Valley. The valley features small towns, working farms and forests, and borders the vast Green Mountain National Forest. Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, is an hour away. Lake Champlain, the sixth largest lake in the U.S., forms the western edge of Vermont and the valley, and is fed by many local rivers and waterways. People from all over the world come to study the strong local food movement, driven by community based agriculture. 

Washington D.C. (ON HOLD FOR 2017) fellows will be housed at George Washington University located in the exciting Foggy Bottom district. The apartment are across from the Metro for easy transportation to internship sites. There is also a weekly farmer's market across the street and several fun restaurants. You will meet the movers and shakers of D.C.'s dynamic urban food system.

Louisville, Kentucky (ON HOLD FOR 2017)Fellows will be housed in apartments at The Province located near the University of Louisville. Lousiville was just voted the number one food city by National Geographic. This location has had a vibrant revival of local food and is a hop and a skip from the Berry's Center, where fellows spend their final 5th day with the renowned Wendell Berry! Check out the photos of last summer's cohort.

Who We Are


Professor Molly Anderson 

Molly Anderson was hired recently by Middlebury College to develop a new program in Food Studies and teach about hunger and food security, fixing food systems, sustainability and system dynamics. She is especially interested in multi-actor collaborations for sustainability, sustainability metrics and assessment, food system resilience, human rights in the food system, food security and the right to food in the US and other industrialized countries, and the transition to a post-petroleum food economy.  She is also interested in bridging the interests and concerns of academicians and community-based activists.  She is involved in food system planning at the state and regional scales, participates in the national Inter-Institutional Network for Food, Agriculture & Sustainability and the regional Food Solutions New England network, and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, organized by Olivier De Schutter and Olivia Yambi.  She has worked as a private consultant for domestic and international organizations, with Oxfam America, and at Tufts University, where she was the founding Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Graduate Program in the School of Nutrition Science & Policy and directed Tufts Institute of the Environment for 2 years.  Molly earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Systems Ecology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. and M.S. in natural resource management and a certificate in Latin American Studies from Colorado State University.

FoodWorks Team


802-774-8324 and 802-443-5068

Sophie Esser Calvi, FoodWorks Director

Esser Calvi is thrilled to be back at Middlebury College '03.5, returning many years after an internship at the College Organic Farm. She has spent most of her life in the wider world of food and wine, working for wineries and various food and farm organizations. Esser Calvi has a master’s in Food Culture and Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. As the Associate Director for Global Food and Farm Programs, she works closely with students, faculty, staff, as well as with the broader food community, on numerous food initiatives. Strengthening communities excites Esser Calvi and is a big part of why she’s thrilled to be directing the Middlebury College FoodWorks program.