Students engage in sustainability

Does anyone know what sustainability looks like?

How do you know when something is sustainable and when it is just “green washing”?

Sustainability has become a word that is overused and has lost meaning for many folks.

To better understand what sustainability actually looks like in our community, we need to focus on one of our life supporting systems: food, energy, transportation, waste or water.

Let’s look at food for an example.

Our current food system relies heavily on fossil fuels for fertilizer inputs, pesticides and herbicides, transportation and packaging.

To rely on this fossil fueled system for our food is simply unsustainable. Sustainable agriculture is produced with local natural inputs, grown without the application of toxic chemicals and distributed locally with minimal packaging.

We are fortunate to live in McMinnville where we have an abundance of fresh, local produce at our fingertips.

Local farmers are also realizing the benefits of organic or bio-dynamic practices, which result in healthy and chemical free produce.

Linfield students are realizing the benefits of sustainable foods as well.

Approximately 10 percent of the student body showed up for the campus farmer’s market a few weeks ago and there has been an uptick in interest in the Linfield Community Garden, located on the Renshaw field.

Several students have chosen to get their hands dirty on local farms through the Sustainable Agriculture Internship program, the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and as volunteers in local community gardens.

Students are asking questions about where their food comes from and are increasingly concerned with the quality and sustainability of their food choices.

There are many opportunities to engage with sustainable food in our community.

On an individual level, you can visit the McMinnville farmer’s market on Thursdays from 1-6 p.m.

If you are on the meal plan or eating out, simply asking your server where ingredients come from is a good way to connect with your food and express your interest in sustainable food.

If you would like to get active with a group on campus, there is the Garden Club ( or Greenfield (

Also look out for applications in the spring for the Sustainable Agriculture Internship program through the Office of Sustainability.

No matter how you choose to get involved, just know that you have the power to act.

The transition to a sustainable food system starts with individual choice.

What will yours be?

Duncan Reid / Sustainability Coordinator

The Office of Sustainability can be reached at