The Knoll

Celebrating 15 Years at The Knoll

The Middlebury College Knoll, Global Food and Food and Farm program uses food as a medium to cultivate wellbeing in people, place and the planet. 

Our goal is to have people interact in different ways at the Knoll. We have three different areas involved in our programing. The Educational Garden, the Outdoor Kitchen and the Serenity Garden. These are used by faculty, staff, students, and the local community for classes, research, and events.

  • The Educational Garden serves as a place for students to learn about growing food. We have spring, summer and fall paid internships lead by our Garden staff. Volunteers are welcome!
  • The Outdoor Kitchen is used in part to cultivate community. We host several pizza nights and festivals including our Spring Planting fest, Summer Solstice and Fall Harvest. Interns learn to cook with the wood fire oven and make pizzas with vegetables from our gardens.
  • The Serenity Garden is a plot of land to the west of the knoll. This garden is a collaboration with the Scott Center for Spiritual Life. In 2012 His Holiness the Dali Lama blessed a large round marble bench. A labyrinth is being built to celebrate 15 years of The Knoll this September. Perennial gardens will continue to be cultivated.

Environmental Affairs oversees The Knoll in collaboration with the Middlebury College Organic Farm student organization. 

The Knoll promotes awareness of issues surrounding food production and offers instruction and hands-on learning at The Knoll, as well as events, speakers, farm visits, and screenings related to food issues. The Knoll also sells food to Dining Services and local restaurants and donates to local food shelves. Students can work as interns during the fall, spring, and summer seasons. Check out the intern-run blog!

Our Crew

Staff from Environmental Affairs oversees The Knoll in collaboration with the Middlebury College Organic Farm student organization.

Jay Leshinsky, Farm Manager and Educator

Jay has advised The Knoll since the beginning. He has a master’s degree in education and human development from the University of Maryland. There, he began an organic market garden, and after moving to Vermont in 1975, he continued to expand the market garden business and combine it with his work for private and public educational programs. He has collaborated with foundations and schools to develop programs for school gardens, agriculture-centered curriculum, and staff training to more effectively use local food products in Head Start nutrition programs.

Sophie Esser Calvi ‘03.5, Associate Director of the Global Food & Farm Program

Sophie works closely with students, faculty, and staff, as well as the broader community, on numerous food initiatives. She has a master’s in Food Culture and Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and a BA in International Studies from Middlebury College. As a student at Middlebury, she started a children’s garden at The Knoll. She then ventured out into the wider world of food and wine, where she has worked for wineries and various garden, farm, and food organizations. 

Eva Fillion

Eva is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator in the Office of Sustainability Integration and works as an assistant manager during the summer months at The Knoll. She first began working on farms during her time in college in upstate New York, then interned in Maine and on an urban farm in New York City where she taught school children about growing food. Eva has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Skidmore College and loves helping at The Knoll here in the summertime!

Seasonal Interns

From planting tomatoes in the spring to harvesting in the fall, the farm staff is dependent on student volunteers and interns who help with the production and sale of food crops as well as participating in weekly farm visits. 


We love visitors! Students and community volunteers are welcome from 3–5 p.m., Monday–Friday. The farm is located on a knoll in the field behind Bicentennial Hall. To get there, walk or drive down the hill from the west on College Street (Route 125) for a half-mile. Take a right at the wooden sign for the farm. If you are driving, you can leave your car at the sign and walk the short dirt road to the farm. Please be respectful of our few rules while visiting:

  • Please keep dogs on leashes
  • Stay on paths and out of beds
  • Please ask us if you'd like to try something!

Interested in using the fire pit? Click here for a burn permit.

*Film by Pamela Tanner Boll '78