Sustainable food program takes students to local farms

Sustainable Food Systems Internship Program The Sustainable Food Systems Internship Program at Linfield College gives students the opportunity to take a critical look at our current food system, and even put in sweat equity on local farms.

Students attend guest lectures, go on field trips and read books about the history, business and politics of food. They are looking at whether local, sustainable food systems are a viable solution to the problems associated with industrial agriculture.

Students also plant, tend and harvest crops on local farms, including Gaining Ground Farm, a family-owned organic vegetable farm, and Gourmet Hay, a 400-acre organic hay farm that also produces vegetables.

Recent Linfield graduate and student activist Collin Morris ’13 came up with the idea for a sustainable food program after conversations with Linfield Sustainability Coordinator Duncan Reid ’10. They kicked off the summer program with a Meet and Greet with local farmers.

Student intern Jake Baker ’14 says the experience has changed his philosophies and future plans. “I never even thought about starting my own garden or growing food, or about the wide-reaching implications of our food system. Our discussions have really opened my eyes to many of the deeper problems and contradictions of our food system.

“You don’t have to go into organic farming, start a farm-to-school program, or become a politician who advocates for food justice,” Baker says. “We all have the capacity to make small changes that would not only benefit ourselves, but those around us.”

“The internship program offers us the opportunity to take a liberal arts approach to farming,” Reid says. “The issues of sustainability are interdisciplinary.”

History Professor Lissa Wadewitz and Competitive Scholarship Advisor Tom Mertes serve as faculty advisors for the program, which is sponsored by the Linfield Center for the Northwest, Linfield Office of Sustainability, President’s Office and Grow International.



Front row: Students Jessica Baker ’16 and Sofia Webster ’15, Competitive Scholarship Advisor Tom Mertes. Back row: History Professor Lissa Wadewitz, program coordinator Collin Morris ’13, Linfield Sustainability Coordinator Duncan Reid ’10, and students Jesse Archambault ’14, Jake Baker ’14 and Conner Varnell ’14