Dear Friends of the Berea College Farm,
Berea College’s strong emphasis on food system localization – in its dining hall, college farm, and Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) program – may hide the fact that students have opportunities to study farming and food systems at the global level too. This summer, for example, eleven students with majors ranging from biology to religion traveled to Greece with Dr. Sean Clark for a course offered by the Berea International Summer Term entitled “Agriculture and Food of Greece: Local to Global.” (www.berea.edu/cie/bist-greece-2014)
The group is spending 24 days visiting Thessaloniki and Athens while studying crop and livestock production systems, agricultural practices and technologies, food processing and distribution, policies affecting production and trade, and culinary traditions. The program includes farm and market visits; food tastings; lectures by Greek agricultural scientists, farmers, winemakers, and business owners; cooking classes, tours of commercial and traditional food processing facilities; and visits to archeological sites and museums.
The students are based at Perrotis College, a division of the American Farm School, an institution that shares much in common with Berea (www.afs.edu.gr). Founded in 1904 to serve rural areas of Greece and the Balkans, it operates an educational farm where students work to gain practical experience. The farm includes a dairy with a new milk processing facility, egg and turkey enterprises with a slaughterhouse, a vineyard with winery, durum wheat for pasta, gardens and greenhouses, a small snail project, and olive production for oil. Students operate a small store where they sell the farm’s milk, eggs, wine, meat, pastas as well as other products from graduates who farm or produce value-added foods in the region. There is a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and environmental responsibility in the curriculum as well as active outreach and continuing education programs.
The Berea students are embracing this special opportunity to immerse themselves in Greek culture by living in a dormitory with Greek students, attending lectures by faculty members, eating in the student cafeteria, enjoying the nightlife with their new international friends, and learning what it’s like to be a student at Perrotis College. And although the days are filled with field trips, workshops, and lectures there is time carved out for a hike up Mt. Olympus and a trip to the beach. Look for a campus presentation on the course by the students this fall semester. It’s sure to include delicious Greek foods from recipes they’ve learned made with ingredients from the Berea College Farm. In the meantime, you can see what the students are up to by checking out the “BIST Greece 2014” album on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/bereacollegefarm/photos_stream
Until next time, eat well!
Save the date: Meet Your Local Farmer Tour, June 28.
Jessa Turner – Office & Farm Marketing Manager