Middlebury

Michael Singer (American, born 1942)

Garden of the Seasons, 2003–2004

Granite, cast concrete, painted steel, aluminum, and plantings. Purchase of the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy. 2004.048

Location: Adjacent to the library

Michael Singer, who has been a resident of Vermont since 1971, is an internationally known sculptor who has redefined the practice of art and broadened its applicability to a surprisingly wide range of publicly funded and publicly maintained spaces. In addition to commissions for private residences, he has completed award-winning site-specific sculptural environments comprised of natural and man-made materials for airports, office complexes, college campuses, civic waste management facilities, waterfront recreational areas, and public parks. A graduate of Cornell University, he has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1996 he received the Vermont State Governor’s Award for the Arts from then Governor Howard Dean.

Singer was awarded the commission for a library garden at Middlebury following a competition in 2002–2003, which was sponsored by CAPP. An exhibition of three proposals was on view at the college Museum in spring 2003.

A popular destination as well as a seductive retreat for pedestrians and casual visitors to campus, Garden of the Seasons was conceived as a designated spot for study, contemplation, and refreshment of the senses. From the western and southern windows of the library one can enjoy a birds-eye view of the project. Even those who see the garden only from afar—in passing vehicles, for example—can enjoy its alluring conjunction of nature and culture. As its plantings mature and the seasons follow their courses, Garden of the Seasons is designed to affect and offer respite and pleasure to generations of Middlebury students, staff and passersby.

Michael Singer, Garden of the Seasons (full)

(Photo: Tad Merrick)

Occupying a space of approximately 30 feet in diameter, Garden of the Seasons is located to the south of the library building. Articulated both on the ground and above it, the garden space is defined by granite benches that form a semi-circular enclosure and also a stepped wall that runs parallel to the sidewalk between the building and Storrs Avenue.

From afar the garden can be seen by its signature planting screen, a six by fourteen foot rectangle made of mesh, aluminum, painted steel, stainless steel cable, and copper piping that rises above the ground. In warmer months the screen carries a variety of deciduous vines and foliage, which change color with the seasons. In winter months it supports a wall of ice. The circular seating area of the garden encloses a “floor” made of cast aluminum and concrete with textured copper that harbors various indigenous plantings—mosses, flowers, and ferns.

Michael Singer, Garden of the Seasons (detail)

(Photo: Tad Merrick)

The water that maintains the garden in the temperate seasons is furnished by a designated retention pool that holds run-off storm water. A swale of rocks and plantings extends from this pool, forming an arc around the garden that ends at the road at the perimeter of the library lawn. The entire area within this arc is planted with tall grasses and wild flowers. In the temperate seasons the water runs naturally; during the winter months a pump buried in the construction delivers water in upward pulses where it freezes on the planting screen.

Michael Singer, Garden of the Seasons (detail)

Michael Singer (American, born 1942) Garden of the Seasons [detail], 2003–2004 Granite, cast concrete, painted steel, aluminum, and plantings. Purchase of the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy. 2004.048 (Photo: Tad Merrick) Location: Adjacent to the library

Michael Singer, Garden of the Seasons (display)

Michael Singer (American, born 1942) Garden of the Seasons [detail], 2003–2004 Granite, cast concrete, painted steel, aluminum, and plantings. Purchase of the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy. 2004.048 (Photo: Tad Merrick) Location: Adjacent to the library

Michael Singer, Garden of the Seasons (full)

Michael Singer (American, born 1942) Garden of the Seasons, 2003–2004 Granite, cast concrete, painted steel, aluminum, and plantings. Purchase of the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy. 2004.048 (Photo: Tad Merrick) Location: Adjacent to the library

Get Involved!

 

Planting

During the school year, Middlebury students can attend MCOF meetings every Sunday. To join the club’s email list and stay updated about garden events, email mcof@middlebury.edu.

Student and community volunteers are welcome anytime at the garden to care for the site and help with the harvest. Feel free to contact us if you interested in getting involved at mcof@middlebury.edu or contact the student directors of the garden:

Katie Michels '15: kmichels@middlebury.edu

Ari Lattanzi '13: alattanzi@middlebury.edu

Spring and Fall semester employment opportunities:

Join the Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

In a CSA, community members pledge to support a farm in return for a share of the harvest.  Sign up to help out for four hours a week, solo or with a partner, and at the end of your shift handpick a bag of seasonal produce to take home with you. One of the past summer farm interns will be available to explain the day’s goals for the garden.

2011 Volunteer Hours

Monday – Thursday, 3:00 – 5:00 pm

No need to RSVP, just come on down!

Shop at the MCOF farmstand

Want to cook a meal this weekend and feature local produce? Need a snack? Want some flowers to decorate your dorm room? Look out for the MCOF farmstand every Friday in September and October from 4-6pm in front of The Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest


 


Farm Reports

 

Potatoes

The Garden Manager publishes a report at the end of each growing season.

Garlic

Please take a look at the latest report:

 

Also, see an archive of previous years reports below:

 

History of the Farm

The Middlebury College Organic Farm (MCOF) began with the vision and enthusiasm of a few students and community members. It has grown into a dynamic space for exploring the local and global food system. 


2002

  • Bennett Konesni '04.5 and Jean Hamilton '04.5 envision the garden and create the plan for it. The Middlebury College Organic Garden (MCOG) begins

2003

  • First summer garden (1/8 of an acre) run by Bennet, Jean, Chris Howell '04.5 and community volunteer Jay Leshinsky.
  • Garden shed is built, well and solar panel are installed

2004

  • First garden internships (two part time interns) and the first Children's Garden program (started by Erin Jensen '04 and Sophie Esser '04)
  • First honey harvest
  • First classes taught at the garden (Environmental Studies, Geology, Geography, Biology, Dance, Teacher Education and English)
  • Beginning of seed saving project

2005

  • Internship program expands to one full time and two part time students
  • Garden expands to 1/2 acre
  • Beginning of insectary project

2006

  • Garden expands to an acre and Internship program expands to four full time students
  • 8 Middlebury College Organic Garden (MCOG) members represent Middlebury College at the international Slow Food meetings (Terra Madre) in Italy

2007

  • Windbreak and classroom begins
  • Garden expands to 1.5 acres
  • Seed saving research done at garden

2008

  • Construction of new walking and biking path to the garden
  • Classroom building completed

2009

  • Garden expands to 2 acres
  • Pollinator research project begins at garden
  • Student CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program begins: more than 50 students participate.

2010

  • Education becomes a focus of MCOG: Students build gardens at the Aurora School and the Cornwall School;  run a summer program at MCOG through the Aurora School summer camp; and run a fall club at the Cornwall School
  • Students teach a winter term course on Food Justice in Vermont
  • Students start an on campus farmstand and sell to faculty, staff and students
  • Advisor committee forms and first meeting occurs in November
  • Organic certification process begins
  • Hoophouse is built at garden site and used for seed starting and hot-crops

2011

  • Name officially changed to Middlebury College Organic Farm (MCOF)
  • Students run a weekend summit for student farmers at NESCAC schools
  • Students and faculty propose Food Studies minor
  • Students design a barn and planning process begins
  • Students work with the Bronx Academy of Letters in NYC to start a roof top garden and help get the project off the ground

2012

  • EatReal student organization formed
  • First FoodWorks internships create new opportunities for learning about the food system

2013

  • Farm adds 12 egg-laying birds and 40 meat chickens thanks to funding from Environmental Council Grant

2014

  • Students build a pizza oven at the farm for community events

Middlebury College Farm

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.


Directions

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.


Our Crew

Jay Leshinsky, Farm Educator [Jay Leshinsky]
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. jleshins@middlebury.edu

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. sessercalvi@middlebury.edu 

Volunteers and  Interns

Summer 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.