2017 UMass Amherst Permaculture Summer Garden Crew member Lizzy Keery on her experiences working in the gardens:
When I started applying for summer jobs I knew I wanted to do something different. The previous summer I’d scored a competitive internship at a public relations company. While I learned a lot that summer, and still consider that internship an invaluable experience, the biggest thing I learned was that I wanted to do work that mattered in a different way than public relations matters. I didn’t want to spend another summer in an office helping big companies sell products to people who didn’t need them. I wanted to have a direct impact on the community I was a part of.
It connects the people who eat at the dining halls to the earth and the crew in the garden to the staff at the dining commons. Working in the permaculture garden has made me understand the importance of knowing where our food comes from, how it is being produced, and made me passionate about engaging with my local community.
I believe that change starts with small, personal action. The permaculture gardens only makes up a fraction of the food supply at the UMass. But even small scale initiatives like this can make big change. I know that after experiencing the beauty, simplicity and satisfaction that comes with working in the garden, I think about food on my plate differently. If we can change people’s relationships with their food, we can make a large-scale difference in our community.
UMass Permaculture Crew Member Summer 2017
This week, the 23rd annual Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference hosted by UMass Dining has returned! The theme of this year’s conference is The Power of Food, which encompass all aspects of food, including nutrition, community, food security, and sustainability. The conference focuses on the unique power and influence that high-volume food service operators and campus chefs have on our flawed food system. Chefs have the power to make our food more fair, healthy, and sustainable through their tremendous purchasing power and their influence on the food choices of young consumers. The annual Chef Conference hopes to empower chefs to question norms and tradition, ask questions about where the food they are serving is coming from, and to push innovations in our food system forward one meal at a time. Hundreds of participants registered for the five day long conference, attending workshops, presentations, and competitions to improve their own culinary skills, waste reduction strategies, and sourcing practices.
Check out Seafood Watch’s Recommendations to see what species of fish you should look for or avoid!
Thanks so much to everyone who attended this year's conference for making it such a success!
Be sure to check out the Tastes of the World Chef Culinary Conference next year from June 3rd – June 8th, 2018!
Photos by Keith Toffling.
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.