Environmental Opportunities at Dinner

By Middlebury Campus

Author: Oren Frey

In the past several days, you may have noticed the transition of the table tents in Proctor and Freeman from blue to yellow. These new placards announce an event that most of the student body will experience this Thursday, Nov. 15: the Environmental Fair, a collaborative effort of MiddDining and the Environmental Council (EC). Those dining in Proctor will be treated to an amazing Thanksgiving feast that will highlight locally and organically grown and produced foods, ranging from venison from a ranch in Shoreham to buttermilk from Weybridge and potatoes from Colchester.

Though the link between the local foods and the environment may not be explicitly demonstrated at the fair, the EC hopes that one of the event’s outcomes will be that students will think about how these issues are related. Consider that the average bite of food in America originated 1,300 miles from where it is consumed, and that supporting locally grown foods can greatly reduce the air pollution, acid rain and global warming-causing fossil fuel emissions that result from transporting food for thousands of miles on trucks and planes. Generally, local growers use far fewer evil pesticides than large commercial farms, and because their products are eaten sooner after harvesting, preservatives, wax and ripening agents are often unnecessary, with foods tasting better and being fresher and free from mysterious carcinogens. Supporting small regional farms strengthens the local economy, helps to save open space from development and makes us less detached from the sources of our sustenance.

Keeping this in mind, look forward to a host of environmentally-concerned and connected groups being present for the duration of dinner in Woodstove Lounge, just steps away from the good food. Groups attending will include campus and community groups and will run the gamut from activist groups to Career Services, whose staff will have information on careers tied to the environment. Spirit in Nature, Forest Watch, the Institute for Social Ecology and Actions for Community and Ecology in the Regions of Central America (ACERCA) are among the off-campus groups that will be manning tables alongside members of Weybridge House, the Middlebury Mountain Club and other student groups. The College Book Store will display a range of recycled products and eco-related books it sells, the Vermont Book Store in town will be selling some of its bestselling nature writing texts, and the College’s own electric truck will be on display outside for all to check out.

Returning this year as a favorite from previous years will be staff from Facilities Management, who, with various entertaining demonstrations, will teach you how to use your heater and how the college is saving energy by making your showers use less water. As an added bonus, a light bulb company representative will be handing out free energy-saving light bulbs. Opportunities to find out what earth-conscious organizations are doing, ways to get involved and free light bulbs for you! With all of this excitement at Proctor, spread the word that Thursday is not the night to hit up Freeman or Hamlin.