Sustainability

Blog

Reflections from Abigail Rampone ‘17, Zilkha Center Writer-in-Residence

by Abigail Rampone ‘17 After a summer spent working as the Writer-in-Residence at the Zilkha Center, I’ve learned that it’s difficult to build self-discipline, Williamstown is more complicated than I’d ever imagined, and summer isn’t really long enough. The position initially attracted me because I’m interested in art as activism. As a novelist, poet, and more »

Food at Lunch

purple potato

What is Food at Lunch? Discuss food themes over lunch this fall! Food at Lunch features two meals a month that focus on topics that range from environmental issues to food preparation and food technology. When and where are the meals? Meals are the second and fourth Thursday of the month. All meals take place more »

Revisioning Sustainability Conference 2014

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by Haley Mahar ’16 and Sasha Langesfeld ’17 The motto for the Revisioning Sustainability conference is “Campuses as Catalysts for Regenerative Food Systems.” Hosted at UMass Amherst, this yearly and internationally known conference immerses attendees in workshops, sessions, talks and dinners, allowing those interested to learn exactly what regenerative food systems are as well as more »

On/An Offering: What Can Dance Offer Sustainable Practice?

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by Malik Nashad Sharpe ’14 What linkages can we form between experimental art making and practice, discourse on environmental sustainability, and action against anthropomorphic climate change? Throughout my practice in performance making, I’ve long been concerned with the question: What can dance do? Certainly, it can’t do everything—in fact, it might be silly to think more »

How does the way we express Real Food influence food consumption and purchasing?

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by Isaac Maze-Rothstein ’14 At Williams College, a working committee of staff, faculty, and students use Real Food Challenge guidelines to determine how much sustainable food we are using at the college. Students decided that rather than use the online Real Food Calculator to evaluate a few months or a previous year of purchasing, we more »

2nd Northeast Silvopasture Conference

Photo by Brett Chedzoy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schuyer County

by Eric Hagen ’14 Earlier this winter I made a very good decision. I decided to drop by Brent Wasser’s office to seek advice. He didn’t know I was coming, and neither did I until fifteen minutes before I knocked on his door, but he graciously invited me in and gave me his time. I’ve more »

UMass Amherst Permaculture Conference 2013

Lucy Bergwall ’15, Sara Clark ’15, Robin Gimm ’14, and Josh Morrison ’16 learned about permaculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in June, 2013.

by Lucy Bergwall ’15, Sara Clark ’15, Robin Gimm ’14, and Josh Morrison ’16 On a Tuesday in late June, Zilkha Center interns Lucy Bergwall ’15, Sara Clark ’15, Robin Gimm ’14, and Josh Morrison ’16 along with Brent Wasser, manager of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program, piled into a college van and headed more »

Gardening With A Purpose

Parson’s Garden on our first day

By Josh Morrison ’16 June 14, 2013: Momentarily banished from the garden by the steady onslaught of cold rain that has been hovering over Williamstown all week, I have a chance to explore other less typical aspects of gardening, like blogging! To begin with, my name is Josh Morrison and I am one of six more »

Annual Update 2013

Students ride to visit Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown on a sunny May morning. Real Food Williams, a student group advocating sustainable food, organized the event.

Read about the past, present, and future of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. Annual Update 2013 (PDF) Download this 12-page document to read about our partnerships across campus, energy projects like the Lansing-Chapman Rink renovation and building weatherization, and student engagement programs like Winter Blitz and cooking classes. This year’s report is full of more »

Biology 422: A Trip to the Field

Topher Sabot '99 surveys the pastures with students.

400 pounds of seed potatoes waited for students in Professor Henry Art’s Sustainable Agriculture course when they arrived at Caretaker Farm on a warm and sunny April morning. Farmer Don Zasada demonstrated with a small hand tool how to put the cut tubers neatly to bed in the soil. “Which way do the eyes face?” more »

Just Food 2013 Conference Report

Just Food Conference panel discussion

by Andrea Lindsay ’13 As an Environmental Policy major and Latina/o Studies concentrator, I have spent most of my time at Williams exploring the connections between sustainability and social justice through the lens of food. The 2013 Just Food conference in New York City provided an incredible opportunity to connect my studies and activism at more »

Musings on Gammelgården Creamery

Stina Kutzer, owner of Gammelgården Creamery in Pownal, VT, hangs bags of Skyr to drain. Her Skyr is available at the EcoCafé in Morley Science Center.

by Hannah Smith’15 This semester I have had the opportunity to work at Gammelgården Creamery in Pownal, VT, which is owned and operated by Stina Kutzer. Most college faculty and students probably know the farm for its Skyr, a thick Icelandic-style yogurt. My love for Skyr is what drew me to the farm, and working more »

150-Mile Meals on April 22

150 Mile Meals

It won’t be business as usual in the Williams College dining halls on April 22nd this year. In support of No Impact Week, an initiative led by Lexie Carr ’13 and Thursday Night Grassroots, a special breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu will put our region and staff to the test on Earth Day. If planning more »

Diane Purkiss: “The Most Underrated Food in Europe, or Eating Well in England”

Stinking Bishop: “It smells like sweaty trainers, doesn’t it?”

by Celeste Berg ’13 Dr. Diane Purkiss, Fellow in English and historian from Oxford’s Keble College, opened her presentation on February 28th, 2013 with a question to the audience. “How many of you have eaten English food?” she asked. Many hands raised in the audience of community members and students. The aroma of fragrant English more »

A love letter to wind turbines

I can see several of the wind turbines in the Hoosac Wind project from my desk chair at home.  My two year old son and I see them every day as we drive to and from day care, and we talk about how they look and whether they’re turning.  One afternoon in the darkest time more »

Fresh Fest Film Series: March 9th & 10th, Images Cinema

More Than Honey

The third annual Farm and Food Film Festival features engaging films and speakers: Saturday, 3/9 10:30 a.m. Growing Hope Against Hunger • A Sesame Street special • Post-film speaker: Ali Benjamin 1:00 p.m. Edible City • Post-film speaker: Aleisha & Brian Gibbons of Berkshire Organics SEEDS • Featuring soup from Wild Oats! • Storey Publishing more »

Philip Ackerman-Leist Speaks on Scaling Up Sustainability

Ackerman-Leist's new book, Rebuilding the Foodshed, offers case studies of regional foodsheds and principles for developing enduring food systems.

by Celeste Berg ’13 Philip Ackerman-Leist is all about the practical. On the evening of Wednesday, February 13th, the author, farmer, and professor delivered a talk on his recent book Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems. Roughly 25 attendees, an even mix of students and community members, gathered in more »

Students Learn That Culinary Skills Extend Beyond the Kicthen

Students make bread with Lead Baker Michael Menard.

Three weeks was just enough time. By January 24th, the ten students in the winter study course Elementary Cooking Techniques were ready to emulsify, sauté, braise, and poach their way through preparing a grand final dinner. As they cooked for students in Peter Pedroni’s wine tasting class, the skills they had acquired during intensive cooking more »

Rental houses weatherized

Six rental properties have been weatherized this winter under the Mass Save program.  Cellulose insulation is densely packed into empty wall cavities and under attic floor boards.  Loose-fill cellulose is added to attics to achieve an insulation value of R-60.  The cellulose is manufactured locally (National Fiber in Belchertown) from recycled newsprint, and is treated more »

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Williams College Building Guidelines

These guidelines were adopted in June, 2011 by the Williams College Board of Trustees. Background In 1991, the College’s physical plant measured 1.9 million square feet; by 2007 it had grown about 24% to 2.4 million square feet.  At the same time, its energy use per square foot increased 20%. The student population stayed roughly more »

Collectively Eating Sustainably

In January 2007, Williams committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to adopting the principles of sustainability. Since that time we have significantly reduced our energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions associated with direct consumption of energy on campus.  We are currently striving to evaluate and reduce the environmental impacts associated with the production, distribution, more »

Beaver Wood Energy Withdraws Permit Application

On April 18, 2011 Beaver Wood Energy submitted a petition to the Public Service Board of Vermont notifying the Board of its intention to withdraw the permit application submitted under section 248. Click here to read the full document. At least, for time being, Beaver Wood Energy will not be continuing to its plans to more »

Gender and Food Activism: Dr.Carole Counihan

As part of the ongoing series exploring gender and food, the Williams College Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program & The Williams College Women’s and Gender Studies Program present:  Gender and Food Activism:Dr. Carole Counihan. Monday, March 7th, 7 pm Paresky Auditorium, 39 Chapin Hall Drive Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267 Open and free to the more »

Thoughts on the Moomaw/Booth Biomass Talk

On February 10th, Professor William Moomaw, Tufts University and Mary Booth, Massachusetts Energy Alliance shared their thoughts on using woody biomass for electricity production to a packed house in the Paresky Center.  Bill described how forests provide us with several usefull services: biodiversity, water quality and flood control, carbon sequestration, air quality, timber, soil production and erosion more »

Williams to Host Second Biomass Discussion Featuring Bill Moomaw and Mary Booth

Williams College will host a presentation titled “Getting Biomass Right: Should We Be Generating Electricity from Trees?” on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium on the lower level of Paresky Student Center. The event, free and open to the public, is the second in a series of forums addressing issues of biomass. more »