Case Study

Yale Farm: Engaging New Haven Children

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Abstract

The Yale Farm was founded in 2003 by a group of students who wished to see the dining halls serve more organic food. With support from the university, they started a pilot project to introduce local, seasonal food into the menu of one of Yale's undergraduate residential colleges.

The experiment was a success with both students and dining hall staff, and helped inspire the Yale Dining Hall to move toward more organic and locally grown food sources (though the vast majority of the food comes from sources other than the Yale Farm).

Within a few years the founding group had expanded beyond the dining hall menu issue and had become the Yale Sustainable Food Project. They obtained financial and operational support from the university, transformed a neglected acre of land on the north side of the campus into a large garden, and started a series of educational programs related to food.

Today the Yale Farm is a large educational initiative within the university. The farm grows some 200 varieties of vegetables, fruit, flowers, and herbs, which is sold in a farmer's market or donated to local food banks. The farm's staff of four manages community work days and organizes educational programs, including lectures by well-known chefs, cooking demonstrations, and classes on sustainable agriculture.

The Farm works with groups within the university and beyond, and it would like to increase its participation with the New Haven community. Your assignment is to develop a program through which the Yale Farm will encourage New Haven children to increase their involvement with growing, cooking, or eating healthy foods.