As part of a larger effort to enrich environmental studies on campus, Sarah Lawrence College and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture are embarking on a partnership to promote sustainable food practices and production. At a special event introducing the collaboration, President Karen Lawrence highlighted the potential benefits of such a partnership: it would not only help engage students with sustainability issues in ways in which a traditional curriculum cannot, but it would also strengthen the College’s connections to the Westchester community.
Stone Barns is an 80-acre farm and education facility located just 15 miles from campus. At the October 13 event, Jill Isenbarger, executive director of the center, and three farm managers explained the facility’s mission and practices. A four-season and pastured livestock farm, one of the goals of Stone Barns is to grow crops best suited to the local environment and to raise animals their pastures can support.
The farm operates primarily as an educational resource for the community. The center receives more than 100,000 visitors per year. It also partners with Blue Hill, the on-site restaurant that features the farm’s products.
This year, a dozen students volunteered at the center’s Harvest Fest and plan to volunteer for farm work days in the spring.. President Lawrence shared one student’s feedback from the experience: “It was inspiring to feel connected to agriculture that takes place so close to campus. The farm work made me think more about what I put in my mouth.”
A tasting of sustainable local foods from the Hudson Valley followed the talk. Samples included fresh cheese made from local goat’s milk, apple cider, squash soup, and mini-burgers from sustainably raised cattle.
—Sophia Kelley MFA ’10