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Application now open for the 2018-2019 Colgate Community Garden Internship!

By Sustainability Office on July 24, 2018

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The Office of Sustainability is pleased to announce that applications for the 2018-2019 Community Garden Internship are now open! Founded in 2010 from the efforts of a group of ENST 480 students and the Class gift of 2010, the Colgate Community Garden is now a half-acre vegetable and herb garden. We are looking for qualified students to help our Garden Manager, Beth Roy, not only manage and promote the garden, but also coordinate and organize volunteers and student work parties.

Garden interns should expect having to work in physically demanding, yet rewarding, conditions such as exposure to the outdoors and having to perform physically taxing activities. The internship has enabled past student garden interns to gain life-long skills and knowledge in harvesting and garden maintenance, event organization, and volunteer workers supervision.

“I’m very excited to see plants I planted grow and change through the course of the summer,” said Summer Cardarelli’21, one of the Summer 2018 Community garden interns, when she started working at the garden. Andrew Lapp’20, another Summer 2018 garden intern stated that  assembling a caterpillar tunnel where they planted eggplants and tomatoes was a very enjoyable experience, and he thinks being a garden intern is ideal if you enjoy the outdoors.

The internship program involves a paid position starting around August 28th 2018 until early November 2018. Students of all class years and majors are welcome to apply. The expected work hours are 6 hours weekly. To apply, applicants should email their resume and a one-page cover letter (required), to Beth Roy, the Garden Manager at eroy@colgate.edu, and fill out the application on the Colgate Portal.

The application deadline is Friday, August 10th.

See the full job description below:


Interns will:

  • Work with garden manager (Beth Roy) to plan and manage the garden during the fall season. Specific tasks may include preparing soil, cultivating, planting, weeding, and harvesting.
  • Organize and supervise volunteer work parties.
  • Coordinate with Green Thumbs presidents to schedule a weekly time for volunteer work parties and be at the garden during those scheduled times to supervise the work parties.
  • Provide continuity for work on the garden throughout the 2018 growing season.
  • Prepare for and help run a weekly Farm Stand to sell produce from the garden.


  • Strong work ethic and self-motivated.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Preference will be given to those with experience and firsthand knowledge in farming and/or gardening with vegetable crops; though previous garden experience is not required.
  • Experience organizing and supervising the work of others.
  • Tolerance for hard work and exposure to outdoor elements.
  • Excitement about promoting local farming and local food production

For more information, visit the Colgate Portal or contact Beth Roy (eroy@colgate.edu), the Colgate Community Garden Manager and Consultant, or John Pumilio (jpumilio@colgate.edu) the Director of Sustainability.

Educational Agriculture at Morrisville State College

By Sustainability Office on July 13, 2018
-Summer Cardarelli ’21 and Andrew Lapp ’20

At the end of May, the garden team along with the sustainability interns took a tour of the Morrisville State College CalfAgriculture department in order to learn more about the methods used by a more agriculture centered school. We had the opportunity to visit Morrisville’s Dairy Complex, its greenhouse, its aquaponics buildings, as well as the Spader Horticulture Complex. On this tour, we were able to learn a lot about the techniques used by the college to maintain such a successful agriculture department. Much of what we observed, especially in their greenhouse, could be relevant to our own garden.

The Dairy Complex at Morrisville State College is home to 220 cows, each of which are milked three times a day. As each cow can eat around 120 to 150 pounds of food a day, 100 pounds of milk per cow can be expected daily. The goal is for each cow to have at least one calf every year so that they can keep producing milk. If a cow is not producing milk, it is sold for beef. Male calves are also sold immediately, as they cannot produce milk.  There is now new technology that allows farmers to sex the bull’s sperm to nearly guarantee either a male or female calf.

Dairy cows eatingThough the Dairy Complex aims to operate as similarly to a regular dairy farm as possible, it is inhibited by the increased cost of running the facility versus a traditional complex. As the Morrisville Dairy Complex focuses on providing an educational experience for its students, it does not generate a large profit, making it more expensive to operate. The cost aside, the Dairy Complex is able to offer its students enriching hands-on experiences in and out of the classroom, including lessons on milking and breeding the cattle. The next step for the complex depends upon the approval of a grant which would allow the introduction of robotic milking machines to the facility, increasing the efficiency of the milking process with the most modern technology.

Next, we visited the high tunnel greenhouse at Morrisville, which produces many varieties of produce to be sent to the Hopscampus’s two dining halls or donated to the community. Crops such as garlic, onion, hops, watermelon, and many types of flowers are also grown in the area outside of the greenhouse. An electric fence prevents deer from reaching the crops, and plastic is placed around each of the plants to prevent bugs, weeds and other pests from taking over the area. The goal of the greenhouse is to be able to profit from the crops grown there, though the value of educational experiences for their students and interns is of the utmost importance.

Morrisville’s aquaponics greenhouses combine the practices of hydroponics and aquaculture to fertilize plants grown using hydroponics with the waste of fish which are farmed with aquaculture. The Aquaponics Closed Brook TroutEnvironment Greenhouse is one of the central buildings in the aquaponics complex, containing paddlefish and different crops of vegetables and herbs to be grown. Water from the paddlefish tanks is transported to filtration systems, which remove uneaten food, solid fish waste, ammonia and other particulate matter from the water before sending it back to the fish and plants. The nitrates present in the water serve as a fertilizer for the plants, creating a closed and sustainable system of agriculture.

To breed Brook Trout, one of many breeds of fish used in the aquaponics complex, Morrisville students get the hands-on experience of using anesthesia on the fish, stripping them of eggs and sperm, then combining the two in a bowl which they add water to in order to activate the sperm. They then incubate the eggs until they are ready to hatch. This method of breeding the trout assures a higher efficiency than leaving the fish to breed on their own.

The Spader Horticulture Complex contains all of the classes a horticulture student will take in a day. It is important to their curriculum that the courses are all in close proximity so that the lesson may be fortified with hands-on experience; for Cactiexample, something covered in the lecture hall can be further instructed in one of the design studios. Horticulture students are all required to take design courses, including a course on floral arrangements. The complex is home to many varieties of flowers and plants, including types that are not normally found in Upstate New York, such as cacti and citrus plants. The experiences of horticulture students at Morrisville State College comes together holistically in a hands on project, such as designing a yard or patio to be built for someone in the community.

The lessons, strategies and techniques we learned during our visit to Morrisville’s agricultural facilities are relevant to our own garden at Colgate University. Our visit to the greenhouse at Morrisville, for example, Caterpillar tunnel at the Colgate Community Gardenhelps us brainstorm solutions for different constructs we could build at the Community Garden for the cultivation of plants. Though our own greenhouse unfortunately collapsed due to a winter storm, our newly constructed caterpillar tunnel serves as a temporary solution and allows us to grow tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and basil in a hot, covered environment. The future of a greenhouse in the Colgate Community Garden, however, could be inspired by the innovations we witnessed at Morrisville State College. This summer, we also hope to add a hydroponic system to the garden, so our tour of the Aquaponics Closed Environment Greenhouse was a valuable experience. Though aquaponics makes use of aquaculture in addition to a hydroponic system, some of the same lessons translate over to us in preparation for our own future hydroponics system. Despite Morrisville’s agriculture department having facilities on a much larger scale than we have here at Colgate, the observations we made during our visit are still of great use to us as we pursue both new additions and our usual routine back at the Community Garden.


Overwhelmed by Plastic: Participating in Plastic Free July 2018

By Sustainability Office on July 12, 2018
-Marielle Scheffers ’19

Plastic is ubiquitous. In saying this, I am not making some earth-shattering statement.  Even if you spend very little time thinking about or engaging with sustainability you are most likely aware of the very present problem of plastic in our environment. Notoriously undegradable, plastic has been found everywhere from the summit of Mt. Everest to the depths of the ocean and everywhere in between. Plastic is not just problematic after it is used but also during its creation. A major component in creating plastic is crude oil which is heated and refined to separate out the specific molecules required to form plastic. As a response to the numerous problems associated with plastic consumption, Plastic Free July was organized. Plastic Free July promotes the elimination of all plastic use, but especially focuses upon one-time use plastic. As a part of Plastic Free July, I decided that for a single weekend I would document all my plastic use, from one time use plastic like plastic bags to multiple use plastic like my reusable water bottle that I have owned since my first year of highschool, to better understand to what extent plastic is a part of my daily life.

As I began to embark upon the weekend, I started to think about what areas of my life utilize a large volume of plastic. The first thing that came to mind was each and every bathing and self-care product I use is neatly packaged in a shiny, brightly colored plastic packaging. The second was the plastic produce bags used at the grocery store to purchase vegetables, my refrigerator is full of them. Those two things seemed to be the major offenders, but other than that, I approached the weekend believing that while there were parts of my life that plastic had a large presence, plastic use was not incorporated in every aspect of my life. I was wrong, very wrong.

After documenting and examining my weekend plastic use, I will detail the main results here. I will specifically focus on Saturday morning because of the similarity between my plastic use on Saturday morning to the rest of the weekend.



  • I wake up and put my hair up with a plastic hair tie that I got as a present. Yes, a plastic hair tie, this weekend could have started on a better foot.
  • Enter self-cleaning routine, as a suspected earlier everything is packaged in plastic. Bathing is composed of utilizing items that are so regularly used that we hardly notice them anymore: shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, lotion, and list goes on. If you wear makeup, this list is even longer. These items vary in their ability to be recycled. Most toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, and makeup packaging are composed of one-time use packaging. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles are usually recyclable; however, even if they are recyclable, fossil fuels are still required to create the packaging and then again later to create the energy to recycle the product. It is better to not use the plastic at all.
  • I get dressed, putting on t-shirt and leggings. The t-shirt is 100% cotton, but the leggings are polyester. Polyester is really just plastic in disguise, so like most plastic it is composed of petroleum.


  • Breakfast at Flour and Salt, where I need a spoon to eat my oatmeal. I grab on of the plastic spoons they provide. Well, it is just one more piece of plastic to add to my exponentially growing list. The spoon does state that it is compostable plastic. Compostable plastic is a newer type of plastic that is often composed of a renewable material. The most popular material is corn. Compostable plastics are capable of degrading in a commercial composting facility where the temperatures can get quite high.


  • I buy vegetables from the farmers market, which are given to me in a plastic produce bag. I thank the farmer and then place the bag in my reusable shopping bag and laugh at the paradox that is placing a plastic bag inside a reusable bag.


  • As I open my fridge to make lunch, I notice the volume of plastic in my fridge. It is very possible that there is more plastic in my fridge and pantry, than there is food. Vegetables are stored in plastic produce bags, condiments like ketchup and peanut butter are in plastic bottles, and leftovers are stored in plastic tupperware. Because of this, every meal I prepare for myself throughout the course of the weekend utilizes a large amount of plastic. Even my cutting board is made of plastic.  

Before this weekend I thought I had a general grasp on how much plastic one uses daily, but really, I had grossly underestimated what my plastic use is. There is not an aspect of my life that does not include plastic consumption. I acknowledge that every person’s plastic use varies, so the plastic use I have detailed here will not be identical to your own. However, I hope that through reflecting upon my own plastic use, it will encourage you to examine your own.

There are a number of ways one can decrease their plastic use. An important place to start is by focusing on single-use plastic. In my own case, as a result of this weekend, I replaced the plastic produce bags that hold my vegetables with reusable bags and replaced my toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. Other easy options are to start using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags, to use a bar of soap instead of a bottle, and to stop using plastic water bottles in favor of a water filter and a reusable water bottle. Bonus points if your reusable water bottle is metal or glass. While it is easy to get excited about eliminating all plastic in your life and begin replacing every plastic item that you own with a nonplastic substitute, this is not necessarily sustainable either. For example, in the case of the plastic tupperware I use, it is multi-use plastic. I already own the tupperware. Recycling it and replacing it with a nonplastic option, while decreasing the amount of plastic I use in my daily life, will only increase the amount of unnecessary waste I produce. For multi-use plastic items, it is better wait until the end of their lifespans to replace them with a non-plastic alternative. Finally, when analyzing your daily plastic use remember the 4Rs. First, refuse to use any unnecessary plastic, then try reducing your use of plastics that are more difficult to refuse, after reuse any other remaining plastic, and finally as a last resort recycle it.