2018 SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE GRANT WINNERS
- Accessible Composting in the Adventure House, Jordan Kremer, Student Housing and Conference Services.
Project objective (March 2018): This project pilots a hassle-free composting option for residents that live in the Bader-Snyder complexes on Fort Lewis College campus. The Bader-Snyder complexes have received the designation of the “Adventure House” living learning community. Inherently, many of the residents that choose to live in the Adventure House also value environmental sustainability. We believe that showing commitment to sustainability in the residence halls, especially one with an outdoor education affiliation, will improve quality of life for these residents, furthering their commitment to Fort Lewis College and enhancing student retention. Organizational logistics: Table to Farm Compost offers a curbside compost pick-up for both private residences and local businesses. This organization provides a sealed bucket, arranges pick-up, and provides a clean bucket each time a full bucket is retrieved. Table to Farm Compost then composts the food scraps at an off-site location and offers the composted soil back to their customers. Customers that do not have a need for the soil have the option to donate the composted soil to a desired organization that could benefit from the nutrient rich soil.
- Fort Lewis Athletics Plays our Part, Lynne Andrew and James McDonald, Athletics.
Project objective (March 2018): The mission of our project is to promote recycling at all home athletic events to help make the athletic and Durango community greener. The main objectives of this project are to communicate to the fans and community that attend FLC athletic events that recycling does not have to be hard and that we can make a difference in the community. To do this we will start by educating the fans on what can be recycled and the benefits of doing so. Using banners, printing the message on the game day programs as well as making P.A. announcements during games to encourage fans to recycle. A large part of this idea is to make it easier to recycle, as people often chose convenience over recycling. By using more recycling cans and placing them in strategic locations such as the bottom and/or top of aisles rather than only in the hallways, recycling will become a convenience over throwing away recyclable materials. Keeping recycle cans away from the concession area will reduce the amount of recycle products contaminated by food. By implementing these new ideas, we hope to achieve and change from 70% landfill trash and 30% recyclable material to an equal 50% bags with recyclable material and 50% bags with landfill trash.
- Beginning Farmers Rock the Real Food Challenge: Growing Food for Campus Dining in the Farmer-In-Training Program, Beth LaShell, Old Fort at Hesperus.
Project objective (March 2018): This projects supports the Farmer-In-Training (FIT) Program, which is entering its third year. Each year, three farmers are mentored through a farm season on 1⁄4 to 1 acre, taking increasing levels of responsibility as their skills grow. The FIT Program both effectively trains farmers and produces vegetables – all six graduates of the program have gone on to farm in subsequent seasons, and each year has seen impressive yields from the field. One of very few farmer training programs that pays participants, the Old Fort provides three FITs minimum wage for their contribution to field labor. After a Specialty Crop grant that also supports the program, the Old Fort is responsible for over $6,400 per year in wages and fringe benefits to the FITs. While the Old Fort funds a significant percentage of its programs through produce sales, supplemental grants provide the breathing room to prioritize education and to build our programs. SIG assistance provides a well-supported experience to a young farmer, possibly an FLC student or alumni, and toward the production of food for the campus dining hall. Funds will also be used to purchase a seeder that will save time and increase efficacy in planting crops that are direct-seeded, such as carrots, beets, and green beans. By paying FITs for their labor, the Old Fort helps attract qualified participants who are able to make the most out of the program and connect to farming as a viable livelihood. Already an established program, the FITs receive a comprehensive introduction to farming through a winter education series and in-field practicum. This year, the program will occupy an acre of land, increasing yields over the past two years and providing significant poundage of carrots, beets, potatoes, green beans and kale to the campus dining hall. To support this program the Old Fort provides all seeds, transplants, tools and harvest supplies while the staff coordinates educational opportunities, work supervision and marketing. The FIT program has proven its ability to provide a strong educational experience for young farmers and to produce a significant quantity of food. For example, the FIT field produced over 2,000 pounds of carrots on an eighth of an acre, most of which were sold to Sodexo. In 2017, we continued to honor our strong commitment to provide fresh produce to campus dining by increasing our sales to $13,903, a 32.7% increase over 2016. This year, the crop plan includes carrots, beets, potatoes, kale, green beans, and winter squash destined for the dining hall based on meetings with the Sodexo General Manager.
2017 SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE GRANT WINNERS
- Art Department Sustainability Improvements, Chad Colby, Anthony Holmquist, and Andrea Martens, Art & Design Department.
- Project objective (April 2017): This project will allow the Art & Design Department to incorporate non-toxic methods for printmaking and painting, allowing students to learn about sustainable approaches to art.
- Progress report (October 2017): The Art & Design Department has a common goal of reducing its environmental impact while modeling lifelong health and safety best practices for students and faculty. The Sustainability Initiative Grant funding enabled several additions to the campus facilities and materials. The print shop in Art Hall has new faucets for screen printing and intaglio processes, aimed to conserve water. In addition, the print shop is stocked with more non-toxic inks and cleaning products for intaglio, monotype, and silk screen processes. The painting studio now has a brush washing unit that will reduce solvent waste by 75%.
- Leadership and Food Production, Beth LaShell and Elicia Whittlesey, The Old Fort.
- Project objective (April 2017): By putting an experienced young farmer in a position of leadership, this project supports the Old Fort's increasing capacity to produce food for the FLC dining hall and creates another step in the Old Fort's multifaceted farmer training program.
- Progress report (October 2017): SIG funds went toward hiring an FLC alumna as assistant garden manager. In addition to supporting a budding farmer to continue her career in sustainable agriculture, this staff position was crucial to supporting the Old Fort’s summer interns and growing lots of food. We not only grew more food than ever before, but we also created a tight, supportive team of interns, farmers-in-training, and Old Fort staff. We couldn’t have done it without our hard-working assistant manager and the SIG grant!
- Food for Thought Campus Food Forest, Rachel Landis, The Environmental Center.
- Project objective (April 2017): This project will restore the vole-damaged campus orchard with a food forest that will provide students with applied agricultural training in orchard management, a unique classroom experience, and food production that supports FLC sustainability commitments.
- Progress report (October 2017): Thanks to the Sustainability Initiative Grant, the Food For Thought Campus Food Forest concept has become a reality! Beginning this past Spring 2017, five Environmental Center staff students met on a weekly basis with FLC and Environmental Center alum, Duke Jackson, to re-design the damaged portions of our existing orchard space and convert it to a water-saving, soil-building, community-creating student-feeding food forest. With the over-arching design for the space complete, Duke and our students have been working with classes and community volunteers on a weekly basis to install the ‘perimeter’ portion of the food forest. Together with the 2017 Summer Sociology Block, 35 members of the incoming class of 2021, and countless volunteers, our Environmental Center student staff have put in over 145 trees and planted up 30 species of plants in over 7000 square feet of space. This crew has also lasagna mulched over 1000 square feet of interior space in preparation for next season’s planting (many thanks to the City of Durango and Woodchuck Tree Service for the woodchips, 2nd Avenue Sports for the cardboard and Dr. Anna Hale for the manure).
2016 SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE GRANT WINNERS
Season Extension at the Old Fort, Beth LaShell and Elicia Whittlesey, The Old Fort.
The Project: We requested $2500 to support the construction of a second large high tunnel at the Old Fort. This high tunnel will enable year-round food production, specifically to be sold to Sodexo and served in the campus dining hall, and sold at the campus farm stand throughout the winter.
Project Update (fall 2016): We used $2000 of the grant to go toward trenching and installing water pipes to the new hoophouse location. The water is operational and ready to be connected to a drip irrigation system. The remaining $500 went toward materials necessary to construct the hoophouse. We had previously purchased the hoophouse itself, used, but some materials (boards, etc) were not reusable and the remaining SIG funds have gone toward these necessary supplies. In the spring, we will purchase and assemble the plastic covering and begin planting.
Though we have not yet grown crops in the new hoophouse, it has already had an educational component; our FLC interns (6 of them) were instrumental in laying the foundation over the summer, and learned many construction-related skills in doing so. In the fall, along with an FLC alumni, we have assembled the skeleton of the hoophouse; it is now almost ready for plastic. We’ve put in new, rich soil, some straw, and sown rye as a winter cover crop seed to improve soil health through the winter and early spring.