The Middlebury College Farm and Food Project provides students, staff, faculty, and community members the opportunity to participate in and learn about agriculture.
Our mission is to promote awareness of issues surrounding food production by:
- Providing instruction and hands-on learning at the farm
- Facilitating events, speakers, farm visits, and screenings related to food issues
Staff from Environmental Affairs oversee the farm in collaboration with the Middlebury College Organic Farm (MCOF) student organization. There are community and student opportunities to volunteer and intern at the farm.
The farm is located on a knoll in the field behind Bicentennial Hall. To get there, walk or drive down the hill from the college west on College Street (Rte. 125) for a half-mile. Take a right at the wooden sign that reads "Middlebury College Organic farm." If you are driving, you can leave your car at the sign and walk the short dirt road to the farm.
Jay Leshinsky, Farm Educator
Jay has a master's degree in Education and Human Development from the University of Maryland. While there, he began an organic market garden influenced by his visits to the Rodale Organic Research Center and Walnut Acres organic farms in nearby Pennsylvania. After moving to Vermont in 1975, Jay continued to expand the market garden business and combine it with his work for private and public educational programs in Vermont. He 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 has advised the Farm since it's beginning in 2003.
Sophie Esser Calvi ' 03, Global Food Studies Coordinator
Sophie holds 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. She is thrilled to be back at Middlebury, ten years after starting a children's garden at the college farm. 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. She directs the FoodWorks program and works closely with students, faculty, staff, as well as the broader food community, on numerous food initiatives.
Volunteers and Interns
The farm is dependent on student volunteers and interns for all activities, from tomato starts to fall harvest. Although this work is coordinated by two student interns, volunteers do the bulk of the labor. Visit the "Get involved" page for more information on volunteering and applying for the coordinator positions. We love visitors! Come by any time to help out.
From mid-May to September the farm is maintained by four summer farm interns who see to the production and sale of food crops as well as participating in weekly farm visits. This popular internship program is funded by the previous year's crop sales and generous alumni gifts.
My four years cooking, managing, and eating as part of Dolci stand out as some of the most important parts of my Middlebury education, and the memories that seem to most resonate whenever I return to Vermont or pass by a bustling restaurant kitchen.
Spending my Fridays in the basement kitchens of Chateau, FIC, and finally Proctor led me to many of my closest friends at Middlebury, taught me how to lead and teach peers (not without some bumps and bruises, as well as a few burns), and introduced friendships with the exceptional men and women of Dining Services who work tirelessly to serve an often under-appreciative student body. Learning how to balance the pressure of preparing a truly gourmet meal for nearly 100 people with the overarching reality that this was something we did for enjoyment remained one of the greatest challenges I faced at Middlebury, and one of the lasting lessons. Plus, it was just really, really fun (not to mention a great thing to talk about on my resume).
As was always true when we were forced to migrate to a new dining-hall home, these most recent changes will create both new challenges, as well as new opportunities (perhaps 51 Main will allow the broader town community to experience the pleasures of Dolci). And yet, I hope that some things stay the same: notably, that the organization remains well-connected with dining services, and that Dolci continues to bring together students and Midd Dining staff to collaborate, learn, make great food, and become friends.