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Hamilton Food Cupboard Partners with Colgate’s Community Vegetable Garden

By Sustainability Office on May 31, 2013

Posing with the donated plantsOn Tuesday, May 28, 2013, over 100 plants were donated to the Colgate Community Garden by Sam Stradling of the Hamilton Food Cupboard.  Plants included tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash. As the growing season goes on, some of the produce harvested by the Colgate Community Garden will be donated back to the Food Cupboard in exchange for providing so many plants.

According to Sam, “The Hamilton Food Cupboard currently assists about 170 families a month living in the Hamilton and Madison Central School Districts with some of their food needs. Over the past several years the Cupboard has made a determined effort to provide the healthiest food that is available. With considerable local support, this effort has translated into working with the local (farm) community to provide fresh produce, fruit and vegetables, to the patrons through the summertime and into the fall, including the Thanksgiving and Christmas distributions. We have also assisted families who can grow their own produce by providing seeds and seedlings. Last year, with support from the Community Foundation of Central New York and Colgate’s Konosioni Society, we purchased a tunnel greenhouse and are now growing our own seedlings for distribution. We are pleased also to be able to provide seedlings for the Colgate Community garden. Some of the produce grown in the Colgate garden will be available for distribution at the Cupboard, as well as produce that will be purchased from and donated by the local farm community. All foodstuffs are provided by the Cupboard to its patrons at no cost.

Part of the mission of the Colgate Community Garden is to provide increased opportunities for interested individuals to learn more about sustainable food production and the benefits of eating healthy.  This relationship with the Food Cupboard is a positive step in that direction!

The Making of the CNS Nature Center

By Sustainability Office on May 10, 2013

Environmental Studies 390, Spring ’13
Faculty: Krista Ingram
Students: Sara DiMassimo ’14, Sebastian Sagramoso Haley ’15, Fareeza Islam ’14, Saliha Moore ’14, Hugo Torres-Fetsco ’15

“The focus of our project was to work with the Chenango Nursery School (CNS) to transform their acquired space from its previous state, to a functional, scientific exploration center, with an emphasis on active learning for pre-kindergarten students. Our target audience is the pre-kindergarten classroom at the Chenango Nursery School (4-6 year olds), and we hope to eventually have the center expanded for use by many different nursery schools within the Central New York region. As a group, we had a great opportunity to convert the barn, located behind the school, into a functional, accessible nature center that allows children to interact with and explore aspects of the natural environment, outside of the traditional classroom setting.”


Something fishy about the ENST room

By Sustainability Office on May 10, 2013

Students working on the aquaponics system in the ENST room at Colgate.

Written by Jessica Halter ’13

Green Thumbs and Good Food Forum teamed up to learn about a revolutionary food production system. The method is not new though. It was used by the Aztec when they did fish farming in lakes with floating islands where they produced crops. Aquaponics is a zero-waste closed-loop food production system. Commercially, it combines two systems – hydroponics and aquaculture to get the best of both methods.

Aquaponics involves growing fish in a tank. The fish water filled with fish waste (fertilizer) is cycled to a tank that grows lettuce. In that tank, the fish waste feeds beneficial microbes and bacteria that fertilize the lettuce and help it grow quickly. The lettuce acts as a filter that cleans out the water that is then cycled back to the fish tank. Many other produce including strawberries and tomatoes can be grown aquaponically. Aquaponics is an easily was to produce protein and vegetables or fruits in one system in a low light environment over the winter.

Members of both student clubs visited Main Street Farms, an aquaponics farm in Cortland, NY last winter. They were inspired by the visit and decided to build a similar mini-aquaponics system to what they saw at the farm. It involved growing goldfish in a tank and placing a grow bed to grow a few plants above it.

aquaponics 2_optThey designed their system and held a workshop where 15 students tested, and proto-typed the mini aquaponics system. After making a few modifications to the soil and the water flow system, they found the perfect system. The materials for a second system were assembled and they lead a 1 hour science class in Mr. Latella’s 5th Grade Classroom at Hamilton Central School. They taught the students about the science behind the system and the kids marveled at having an exciting project live in their classroom.

The aquaponics project allowed Colgate students and Hamilton Central School students to learn about this food production system that is revolutionizing where fish and lettuce can be grown and is creating a year-long growing season for local food.

Colgate’s garden kicks off with successful work party

By Sustainability Office on May 8, 2013

The Green Thumbs club hosted a garden work party on Thursday, May 2.  Several students came out to show their support for the Colgate Community Garden – now in its fourth season!

Party gathers to plant the Colgate Community Garden

Volunteer work party at Colgate’s Community Vegetable Garden

It was a gorgeous, sunny day and lots of things were accomplished; weeding, planting, and watering to name a few.  The major project of the day was building two new raised garden beds.

These two beds, as well as one more still to be built, will become a part of the new Community Garden Plot program that will be trialed during the 2013 growing season.  Individuals from the Colgate and/or Hamilton community will be offered a plot within the Colgate Community Garden for a small annual fee.  This is an exciting opportunity for individuals who would like to garden, but may not have access to land or space of their own.  For the 2013 growing season, the Colgate Community Garden has 3 individuals from the Colgate community who will be tending one of the 3 new raised garden beds.  If successful, the Colgate Community Garden hopes to extend this opportunity to more individuals in coming years.

Two students working to plant the Community Garden at Colgate.

Beth Roy (Community Garden Consultant), Skylar Lyndsay (garden intern), Gabe Block (garden intern), and Jess Halter (co-president of Green Thumbs) have been hard at work already this spring getting the garden ready for the growing season.  With their help as well as other volunteers, seeds such as peas, lettuce, spinach, onions, beets, and turnips have been planted.  Several hundred onion plants were donated to the garden by Sam Stradling from the Hamilton Food Cupboard and are in the ground ready to grow!  Sam has agreed to provide the Colgate Community Garden with several different types of plants (onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.), in exchange for some of the produce when it comes time to harvest.

We are looking forward to a successful growing season!

If you are interested in learning more about the Colgate Community garden or the Green Thumbs club, please contact the Green Thumbs (GreenThumbs@colgate.edu) or the Sustainability Office (Sustainability@colgate.edu). You can also follow Colgate Sustainability on Twitter or on Facebook for information about future Garden work parties and events.

Moving out? Donate your unwanted goods to charity!

By Sustainability Office on May 3, 2013

The end of the year is quickly approaching and it is almost time to say goodbye and good luck to the class of 2013.  As students move out of their residence halls, they often leave some of their belongings behind. Items left behind include food, clothing, furniture, bedding, kitchen utensils, books, and toiletries. Often these items are in excellent condition and can be treasures for many charitable organizations in our community. Thankfully the COVE’s end-of-the-year Salvage program is here to reclaim and distribute what is left behind.

Salvage Volunteers

Student Volunteers

At the end of each academic year, COVE volunteers tour residence halls and apartments on campus to collect unwanted and donated materials left by students.  Volunteers collect, sort, and organize items for more than 30 local non-profit organizations to “shop” — at no cost — for items needed to cover their core functions and services.

Last year, 47 Colgate volunteers spent more than 470 hours collecting and sorting items.  The estimated value of all salvaged items put into the hands of people who need them amounted to $23,000. The organizations we work with serve individuals who receive much-needed supplies to furnish transitional housing, provide warm clothing, bedding and educational materials, and stock food pantry shelves for our neighbors.

Besides being of valuable service to our community partners, COVE’s Salvage program avoided about 33 tons of landfill waste last year!

Salvage Rink

Student donations pile up in Starr Rink.

This year the Salvage program will take place from May 10 – 16 for underclassmen housing areas and May 20 – 24 for senior housing areas. The COVE needs staff volunteers to make this happen.  Join the Colgate Salvage effort by donating your used and unwanted items.  Please contact Colleen Nassimos (cnassimos@colgate.edu; x6880) with any questions and to volunteer your time in this effort.

“Menu For the Future” summer discussion course

By Sustainability Office on May 3, 2013



This summer, the Shaw Wellness Institute in collaboration with the Sustainability Office will once again offer an interactive book club style discussion course on food issues and sustainability. The program is open to all Colgate employees but registration is limited to the first 12 individuals.

The group will meet every Wednesday from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. beginning on June 19. The course will last seven weeks and end on July 31. The program is free and includes a course booklet and breakfast.

The program is an interactive discussion group that helps participants explore the connection between food, health, and sustainability. Participants are expected to complete short readings between sessions and be prepared to share their thoughts with the group. Weekly topics will include an exploration of the ecological, economic, and health impacts that accompany our food choices, how individual choices can lead to a more sustainable food supply, and practical steps for a healthy diet that promotes sustainability. This program will use the Northwest Earth Institute’s workbook: “Menu for the Future.”

The seven-week course will be co-facilitated by John Pumilio, Colgate’s Director of Sustainability, and Thad Mantaro, Director of the Shaw Wellness Institute.

For more information please contact Thad Mantaro or John Pumilio.

To register click here.

ENST 390: How clean is your water?

By Sheila Reagan on May 2, 2013

Five students, Elise Amioka, Matt Bambach, Vincci Cheng, Sam Linnerooth, and Brody Wacker, from Colgate University have been working closely with Mr. Brian Latella and his fifth grade class at Hamilton Central School. As part of the Colgate students’ ENST 390 course, they are teaching the class a mini-unit on watersheds and water pollution that culminates in a field trip to the Rogers Environmental Education Center in Sherburne, New York. The students went into the classroom and taught a unit on watersheds, where their water comes from, and how it can become polluted. The students also plated water samples from nearby ponds, streams, and water sources at their school on agar to test for bacteria.

 In another class period, the fifth graders learned about the importance of clean water for ecosystems to function properly. This connected to what they had previously learned in their class about biomes, as dirty water can negatively impact the health of living organisms on all levels of the food chain. They examined small invertebrates that live in their natural water sources in Hamilton dissection microscopes that were borrowed from Colgate University’s Biology Department. The fifth graders also conducted various water quality tests in preparation for their field trip to the Rogers Environmental Education Center in Sherburne, New York.

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