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 main program areas: The Educational Garden, the Outdoor Kitchen and the Serenity Garden. These are used by faculty, staff, students, and our local community for classes, research, and events.

  • The Educational Garden serves as a place for students to learn about gardening. Volunteers are welcome to join us for open Volunteer Hours led by garden staff. We also support paid internships for current students during spring, summer, and fall.
  • The Outdoor Kitchen is a medium to cultivate community. We host pizza nights and celebrations for campus partners. Interns learn to cook with the wood fired oven and make pizzas with vegetables from our gardens.
  • The Serenity Garden is a plot of land on the western slope of The Knoll. This garden is a collaboration with the Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life. In 2012, His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessed a large round marble bench. We also constructed a labyrinth to celebrate 15 years of The Knoll in September 2018. 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. We also host events, speakers, farm visits, and screenings related to food issues. The majority (by volume) of the produce grown at the Knoll is donated to our local food shelf at HOPE. We also sell small quantities to Dining Services and to a few local restaurants; our goal is not to compete with local growers.

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.

Megan O. Brakeley '06, Food & Garden Educator

Megan manages the educational garden, supports interns, and helps organize events at the Knoll. At Middlebury, Megan studied Spanish and Environmental Studies. She holds a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is also a third-year Posse mentor. Megan is passionate about the power of observing and listening to the natural world, and she enjoys bread baking, flower arranging, skiing, and exploring with her young family. mbrakeley@middlebury.edu 

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 degree 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. sessercalvi@middlebury.edu 

Jay Leshinsky, Former Farm Manager and Educator

Jay has advised The Knoll since its 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. Jay retired at the end of the 2017 growing season after 15 years. 

Seasonal Interns

From starting seedlings in the spring to harvesting in the fall, the farm staff is dependent on student volunteers and interns. Volunteers and interns help with the production and sale of food crops as well as participating in regular farm visits to learn more about our local food community. 

Visit the Knoll

The physical address of the Knoll is 152 Vermont Route 125, Cornwall, VT.

We love visitors! Student and community volunteers are welcome in the summer from 2-4pm, Monday–Friday. We are located on the knoll just west of McCardell Bicentennial Hall.

To drive, head west down the hill 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.

To walk, please note the following safe routes to the Knoll.

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
  • Please pack out what you pack in

Interested in hosting an event and/or using the fire pit? Click here for a burn permit.

Learn more about hosting an event at the Knoll.

*Film by Pamela Tanner Boll '78