Williams College is situated in the Northern Berkshires and sits in the middle of a vibrant regional farming community that encompass most immediately the Berkshires, the Hudson Valley, and Southern Vermont. According to the Williamstown Agricultural Commission, “Twenty-eight local farm families grow and sell fruit and vegetables, flowers, annual and perennial plants, corn, hay, and straw. They raise horses, pigs, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, alpacas, chickens. They produce maple syrup, cheese, butter, lumber, firewood, and more.”
There are a number of great farms nearby with whom Williams (Dining, student groups, professors) has some sort of relationship. Caretaker Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, Mighty Food Farm, Peace Valley Farm, East Mountain Farm – just to name a few in Williamstown.
The college also has a number of gardens on campus. There is Parsons Garden near Parsons House that has blackberries, annual vegetables, asparagus, and some well-built compost bins. At the Environmental Center, you will see gardens on all sides – perennial beds in front with asparagus, rhubarb, and strawberries; annual garden beds and a berry patch in the back, herb beds near the kitchen, low-bush blueberries in a variety of locations, and a small fruit tree orchard in front. The produce is loved by all but it is also is a Living Building Challenge requirement that 35% of the site must be in food production. The Williams Sustainable Growers student org manages Parsons and the beds on the north side of the Environmental Center (next to Goodrich House) during the school year. The herb beds and perennial beds on the south side (towards Sawyer Library) as well as the fruit tree orchard, low-bush blueberries, and high bush berry patch are maintained by a ZC student landscaping and garden intern during the school year. All the gardens are maintained by Zilkha Center garden interns during the summer time.
The Williams College Children’s Center also has its own garden.