The Republican – August 04, 2015
Ten students from around the country came to campus to the one-week program the last week of July. Their only regret was it wasn’t two weeks long.
UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture instructor Sarah Berquist taught the program on sustainability and food systems.
She said the summer is perfect for a program like this because “harvest is abundant.” And she said the program “is a great opportunity to spread the word about our great program.”
Students learned how the food system in the country operates. They worked with on the UMass student farm in South Deerfield and got the chance to talk to the student farmers.
They worked in the Food for All Garden at UMass, a garden that provides organic produce to places such as the Amherst Survival Center and Not Bread Alone soup kitchen.
On the last day, they were learning about permaculture with a tour of the five-year-old Franklin Dining Commons garden.
Sixteen-year-old Anna Stone came from New York City already aware about poverty and the struggles for food seeing the myriad homeless in the streets.
She is interested in “revitalizing poor communities through urban farms.”
She was learning more about the farm bill and farm systems and the agricultural industry.
“I hadn’t studied permaculture.
“I want to bring those techniques back,” she said.
Brett Koslowsky, 17, from Cambridge was also enjoying the “overview, the states of a different areas.”
She too is interested in agriculture and is a member of the Belmont High School’s Garden and Food Justice Club. She attends that school.
Both said they might be interested in coming to the UMass sustainable agricultural program now that they know about.
Jenna Carellini, 18, of Fishkill New York, wants to study nutrition and took a nutrition program last year but that was in the lab.
She wanted “a hands on approach” and was enjoying that with the week.
Berquist said they capped the program at 10 and had a few more applicants than spaces. She said they’d like to bring it back next summer and perhaps extend it and open it up to more people.
“Their passion for the topic is incredible,” she said of her students. She was impressed “to see people (their age) with that much interest and knowledge.”
She said they want to be “ambassadors for change.”