Sustainable Food Systems Minor

Wells College offers a minor on Sustainable Food Systems. Classes that count for the minor include: Introduction to Sustainability, Anthropology and Food Studies, Animal and Human Interaction, Sustainable Agriculture, and Culture and Gardens. The minor requires an internship, as well as the course work.

The minor also offers 7 week courses that students can take over and over again since the content and the instructors change every semester. The model is: three instructors (either faculty or staff) each responsible for two weeks of content. We have two 7 week classes that follow this model: Introduction to Gardening and Introduction to Cooking.

Introduction to Gardening has been taking place every semester (including through Covid) since 2016. Topics in that class have varied and have included Creating a Garden Plan, Plant Propagation, Bonsai, Tiny Gardening = Fermentation, Planting a Poet’s Garden (reading poems and planting the flowers and vegetables mentioned in the poems), Medicinal Plants, Making Essential Oils, Soil Testing, Growing Mushrooms, Introduction to Composting, Making Biochar, Caring for Fruit Trees, Growing from Seed, etc.

Participating instructors have come from the fields of Anthropology, Chemistry, Biology, English Literature, Theater, Sustainability, Womens’ and Gender studies, Psychology, etc.

The first set of raised beds students created in the Introduction to Gardening class
The raised beds in full swing!

The Gardening class often included some aspects of cooking and preparing food (Canning Peaches, Cooking with Apples, etc.).

This led to the other 7 week class: Introduction to Cooking! We received a small grant of funds from the Endeavor Foundation to purchase a few items (pots, pans, woks, professional grade electric burners, knives, cutting boards, etc.) to create a pop-up demonstration kitchen in the Social Science Lab (which is a space that has a sink). When Covid hit, we held off on launching this class, but plan on offering it this coming Fall 2021. The plan for the first offering is to focus on Food and Culture through Heritage Cooking. Like the Gardening class, future offerings of this class will involve a rotation of instructors who will bring their own style and knowledge of cooking to the students. Students might also suggest recipes and introduce their peers and professors to new flavors. We’re looking forward to creating some tasty meals. The final exam will be a feast for those in the class and several invited guests. Fun!