Sustainable Food Systems

21 Jan

This Fall Smith’s Sustainable Food Concentration took six students to the Glynwood Institute for a weekend conference on regional food systems. Glynwood invited students and faculty studying all things food and farming from the Culinary Institute of America, Vassar and Williams College to their farm and estate in Cold Springs NY. The weekend included panels and discussions with farmers, financiers, food entrepreneurs, community leaders and land use consultants working hard in the Hudson River Valley to create a stronger, more sustainable food system. Representatives from Glynwood’s Keep Farming program presented on some of the innovative projects developing in the Hudson River Valley as well as in the Pioneer Valley.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend involved learning more about the Hudson River Valley’s Wild Hive Community Grain Project. Don Lewis is a beekeeper, baker and owner of Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corners, NY. Since 1983 Don has been working hard to bring high quality organic wheat back into regional, sustainable production. The Community Grain project has reached out to extension agents, farmers, processors, distributors, bakers, retailers, and restaurants up and down the valley to reconstruct the strong food system linkages necessary to support regional wheat production. This fantastic project has used a model Don calls “Consumer Driven Agriculture” to spur the rebirth (and subsequent growth) of the organic wheat industry in the valley. Now Don’s business processes 130 tons of grain annually, supports 80 acres of land in wheat production, and produces enough flour to make 1,000 loaves of bread a day. To learn more about the Wild Hive Community Grain Project, visit Don’s website at
Many thanks to Joanne Benkley, Paul Wetzel, CEEDS and Glynwood for making this stellar weekend a possibility! I had a fantastic time, ate superbly (thanks to very talented CIA students) and look forward to keeping in touch with both Glynwood and my fellow food and farming students at Vassar, Williams and CIA.
-Julia Jones, ’14, Environmental Concentrator: Sustainable Food


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