Middlebury College FoodWorks Leadership Program

  • VT


14 Old Chapel Rd
United States

About Us

Middlebury FoodWorks is an innovative summer leadership program combining academic and experiential learning in food systems. The mission of FoodWorks is to provide summer internship opportunities for college students that enhance student learning and engagement regarding food studies, adding educational value that complements and reinforces formal course work during the academic year. Each student works four days a week in a job focused on a different aspect of the local food system, from cultivation and harvest, to public health and nutrition, to community organizing, policy, and advocacy, to economic development and social enterprise. On the fifth day, students participate together in a curriculum designed to meet targeted learning objectives regarding food studies, in sustainable agriculture; food systems; community and economic development; nutrition and health; and other topics such as food security and justice, policy, culture and traditions.

About the course: Experiencing the Local Food System combines background readings and exercises about the environmental, social and economic problems that people face because of systemic food issues, combined with field trips each week to sites that are implementing solutions to some of these problems.  Students in Middlebury, Vermont, Washington, D.C. and Louisville, Kentucky, will establish the same groundwork through readings; but students in each site will meet with the innovators in each region—non-governmental organizations, policy-makers, municipal agency staff, and business entrepreneurs— who are putting solutions in place. Students will share what they are learning through reflective blog-posts and form teams across sites with others who are working on similar issues in their internships, such as improving access to healthy food for low-income families, creating urban gardens and farms, food hubs, and local or regional policy.  By comparing what they see and experience across the very different sites, student will gain a deeper understanding of the barriers and opportunities in each problem area of the food system.  The course will run for 9 weeks and students will receive 3 credits.  Each site will produce a final video that shows what students have learned through the summer course, with assistance from Middlebury and its partners.  Each site will be supported by a Teaching Assistant who sets up field trips, accompanies students and helps with any issues encountered in internships.  The course professor will meet with students at each site through the summer, assign readings and hold video-conferenced discussion sessions with each site, and work with issue teams.