College & West High
October 1, 2012
Farm, Cook, Eat
From its cutting-edge sustainability practices to its longtime relationship with regional food bank Project SHARE, the Dickinson College Farm—begun as an experiment in organic gardening in 1999—has long been a tangible local, regional and national presence. And under the guidance of Director Jenn Halpin, new programs continue to take root, including its latest community-outreach effort: Farm, Cook, Eat.
Inspired by a 2010 Clarke Forum presentation by Marion Nestle, a New York University nutritionist and renowned food author, the new program centers on a student-led cooking class that teaches area youth about the impact their food choices have on their community, their health and the environment.
“We hope that this shared experience will establish a joyful connection to fresh food and help pave the way for students to make healthier choices at school, in the grocery store or in their home kitchens,” says Ali Frohman, the farm’s program coordinator.
Frohman also emphasizes the role that the program can play in addressing the unfortunate correlation between poverty and poor nutrition.
“The proven link between poverty, obesity and disease was a significant motivation behind the creation of Farm, Cook, Eat,” she says. “And eating healthily on any budget, especially a very tight budget, is made easier when at least one member of the household is comfortable with picking out and cooking fresh food.”
Oren Richkin ’15, who was involved with a similar program in Massachusetts, is co-leading Farm, Cook, Eat when it officially kicks off with 15 first-graders at Carlisle’s Bellaire Elementary this fall. Halpin and Frohman envision the students staying with the program as they progress through school from grade to grade—examining how food grows and what that means to consumers and the community.
They also plan to extend Farm, Cook, Eat farther into the region as it evolves. “The goal is to involve students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, to teach as many children as we can about proper nutrition—how to eat healthy and to use fresh ingredients,” says Halpin.
Along the way, they hope to change some picky palates. “For some children, Farm, Cook, Eat classes might be their first experience taking unprocessed, fresh food and transforming it into a finished dish,” Frohman explains. “And when you let a child engage the five senses in the journey from farm to fork, his or her curiosity and excitement about food goes through the roof.” —Tony Moore
Thanks to a $6-million gift from Samuel G. Rose ’58 and Julie Walters, a new two-story, 25,000-square-foot athletics-training center will replace the current 1960s-era locker rooms at Dickinson’s recently renovated Biddle Field. The new facility, which will be named the Durden Center to honor the tenure of President William G. ’71 and Elke Durden, adds a sixth project to the extensive campus-enhancement effort the college announced in April.
The new center will feature locker rooms for men’s and women’s lacrosse, football, field hockey, coaches, officials and visiting teams; a strength-training and free-weight room; sports-medicine facilities; a laundry and equipment room; and a team-meeting/event room with a viewing platform overlooking Biddle Field. The entrance will include an exhibition area to honor Dickinson athletics, including the 1958 national-championship lacrosse team. Rose played for the team 1954–58.
Philanthropists and long-time supporters of Dickinson, Rose and Walters also have gifted the Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism and the Samuel G. Rose ’58 Scholarship for economically disadvantaged students from urban areas.
For the second year, Dickinson’s Summer Institute for International Students offered more than just transition help for a select group of incoming first-year international students. The program, funded in part by a grant from the Teagle Foundation, included classroom sessions about American culture and society as well as college-level writing and communication skills. The 15 participants also enjoyed off-campus excursions to nearby cities including Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
“Joining the Summer Institute was one of the best choices I’ve made,” said Tu “Jane” Cao ’16 from Vietnam. “I decided to participate because this is the first time I’ve been to the U.S., and I was afraid of culture shock and my English proficiency. The institute not only improved my English skills and provided me with knowledge of U.S. culture but also helped me get to know college life.”
Xueyin Zha ’16 from China agreed, adding, “I think the wonderful academic experience the institute provided greatly prepared me for the first semester. It is really useful for international students like me.” —Lauren Davidson