Current Initiatives - Food
Local Foods Survey and Research | Skidmore Farmer's Market |
Dining Hall Strategies | Skidmore Student Garden
- Local Foods Survey for Farmers and Distributors: Sustainable Skidmore, the Sustainability Office at Skidmore College, located in Saratoga
Springs, NY, is interested in enhancing the Farm to College program on campus, in
order to improve upon our current local, healthy, and sustainable food initiatives.
We are interested in developing more partnerships with local and regional farms, but we need more information about what farmers are looking for in order to identify what is possible for our campus. You will find links below, or printable/mailable versions in the menu bar on the right, of a list of questions modified from Cornell’s Farm To Cafeteria toolkit – could you provide us with your input? Responses should take no more than 5 – 10 minutes and will help us pinpoint opportunities to improve our local foods program and support more local growers. If you have furthers comments, questions, or information to share with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and we look forward to hearing back from you!
Distributors: take the survey online, or download a copy
Producers/Farmers: take the survey online, or download a copy
- Skidmore Local Food Research: Sarah Arndt '14 is working on a summer internship with Sustainable Skidmore that
focuses on local and regional foods purchasing and networking. This is an extension
of a project throughout the 2011-12 academic year where she worked with the Real Food
Challenge, a national organization, to calculate the percentage of Real Food on campus
at Skidmore. She worked with the Environmental Action Club on this project. She
also was a part of a new internship program in Dining Services at Skidmore that allows
students to complete research and other projects related to local food in the dining
hall. Sarah joined Eva Fillion '12, Ros Freeman '12, Jewels O'Brien '15, and Laura
Mindlin '15 in these internships which resulted in local foods education and marketing
for the dining hall, redesign of the Dining Services website for sustainability, an
herb garden between the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall and Jonsson Tower, and research
related to how other campuses are approaching local foods purchasing. Will Dowling
'12 also worked on an Environmental Studies Capstone project related to the feasibility
of a community supported agriculture (CSA) program offered to students and others
at Skidmore and Alexandra (Z) Steinhauer conducted research alongside Will, and as
an independent project, related to the creation of a CSA as well.
- Skidmore Farmer's Market: Every Friday, Saratoga Apple comes to Skidmore to sell their products. This not only serves as a way to bring more local products to campus, it also is a great venue for community building. Look for the Saratoga Apple table outside of the Skidshop on Friday afternoons during the academic year!
Dining Hall Strategies
- Murray-Aikins Dining Hall Renovations: Thanks to the dining hall's 2006 renovation, the new dining program has reduced its
food waste by an estimated 20%.
- Food Waste Reduction Strategies: Proper food handling can reduce wasted food significantly by making sure that food
does not have to be thrown out because of avoidable mistakes. Skidmore Dining Services
works hard to ensure their staff is properly trained, first and foremost to ensure
the safety of the students and their staff, but also to reduce the amount of food
that is thrown away. The trayless dining program in Skidmore's Murray-Aikins Dining
Hall reduces the amount of wasted food. People are less likely to take more food than
they can eat when they don't have a tray to carry it back to their table. By not having
trays to wash, the dining hall also saves water and energy. Dining Services staff
members go through knife training, which reduces the amount of food wasted during
food preparation. In addition to knife training, all staff and management are Servsafe®
Certified. Servsafe ® is a course that instructs dining service staff about proper
food handling—mishandled food = food that often needs to be thrown out. Servsafe
® covers systems such as "First in, First out", which ensures the oldest product is
used before the newest and proper storage temperatures for various types of food.
To reduce over serving students, staff members use scales and portion controlled scoops
and spoons to manage serving size. And lastly, dining services staff members are
encouraged to be creative in their use of leftovers for soups or other daily chef
- Expanded Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Through the generous support of a college trustee, Skidmore opened Emily's Garden, which offers fantastic vegetarian and vegan options. Emily's Garden has also expanded the amount of local, organic produce on campus as well.
- Partnerships with Local Farms: Skidmore's dining services has created several partnerships with local farms. They
have worked extensively with Saratoga Apple, receive a larger amount of their flour
from a NY based grain producer and flour mill (North Country Farms) , buy their shell
eggs from Thomas Poultry, sell milk in their retail locations from Battenkill Farms,
and provide local milk via Stewart's in the Murray Aikins Dining Hall.
- You can read more about these initiatives on the Dining Services website.
Skidmore Student Garden
In April 2009, the volunteers from the Environmental Action Club, with the support of Facilities Services, broke
ground to create the Skidmore College Student Garden. The garden supplies local food,
grown using organic practices, to Skidmore's dining hall. The garden facilitates
a connection to and appreciation for the food the students eat in the Dining Hall and offers
hands-on learning opportunities for the Skidmore community. The garden provides an
outlet for students interested in environmental issues, social justice, and economic
sustainable development to learn about the local food movement and the ecology of
food. In its first season the garden produced over 1,100 lbs of food and the the
students hosted a "harvest dinner" that served over 150 students food that was either
produced by the student garden or donated by The Saratoga Farmer's Market. Please
click here to learn more about the Skidmore Student Garden.
- 2012 Season - The Skidmore Student Garden is already underway for the 2012 summer
season! Volunteers have helped throughout the spring and summer to plant, weed, harvest,
and provide assistance with other activities! In addition, Camp North Woods, which
has kids from 1st grade through 6th grade, also came to the garden on July 25th to
help out and learn about what grows there and what some of it tastes like! There
are many beds in the garden, planted with items such as: carrots, rainbow swiss chard,
zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs.
- Read the Student Garden blog - Can Ya Dig It?
- Check out the Skidmore Student Garden Brochure.
- Students in the Environmental Action Club's Food Group put together an amazing Local Foods Cookbook. Special thanks to Jewels O'Brien '15 and Laura Mindlin '15 for putting a lot of
time and effort into this project.
- To stay connected to the happenings of the Skidmore Student Garden please join us
- Previous Skidmore Student Garden Seasons