Food Systems Program

The Food Systems Program researches and analyzes locally sourced, sustainable food systems in order to promote economic growth and food security within the Finger Lakes region. It is the program’s goal to identify local food systems, investigate the regional infrastructure needed to support these systems, and compile a network of local food sources and resources accessible to the public.

Sense of Place
The Food Systems Program is a platform for developing a sense of place in the Finger Lakes through food and sustainable agriculture. Our regional historical farm practices, food marketing, and culinary recognitions are rooted in the land surrounding the Finger Lakes and can be traced from our cultural beginnings and gastronomic discoveries to today’s food-business incubators, young farmers, small food manufacturers, CSAs, and backyard/community gardens. Given that there is a deep history of farming and gardening on campus, which began as early as the 1970s by students, and in the region curiosities of our past have resurfaced with the establishment of the Sustainable Foods Club, Sustainable Foods theme house, HWS Campus Garden (2012), and HWS Fribolin Farm (2014).

Co-Curricular Community Impact
Co-curricular projects, such as Wake the Farm Alternative Spring Break, Fields of Food field trips, HWS Food Week, and annual campus farmer’s markets, complement faculty efforts to actively incorporate concepts of food and food studies into curriculum. The Food System Program encompasses the HWS Fribolin Farm in that it acts as a demonstration site and host of experiential learning, field work, research, reflection, and exposure to horticultural practices coordinated through the Program, such as the Tomato Patch Project, which provides fresh roma tomatoes to the campus’ Pasta Night event, and the Greens Growing Project, which grows a salad mix for the local community lunch program. The Program serves the general public, and visitors to the region, by inspiring local sourcing, food independence, transparency, self-sufficiency, culinary exploration and sharing. While supporting the Real Food Challenge and other farm-to-school initiatives, the Program provides an avenue for complimentary partnership between the FLI, students and campus initiatives and constructive community engagement.


Sarah A. Meyer
(315) 781-4382

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