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The epic blizzard of 2011 will not be forgotten anytime soon in at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. A night of record snowfall meant Operations Manager Janice Moore spent a harrowing hour driving just eight blocks to work the next morning, only to find the front entrance completely blocked.

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Farmer Bob Knight (on right) with Bon Appétit Management Company Biola University Chefs By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation “Farms are getting huge. Real estate is expensive in California. Farming in the global food economy requires [farmers] to have thousands of acres. Farmers that used to have 10 or 20 acres are now being pressured to buy 4,000 acres.” We are at the Bon Appétit Management Company Student Ambassador Program at Biola University, a kick-off event for thirty students to get to know some of the people behind food: Bon Appétit chefs, staff, and farmers. Executive Chef Peter Alfaro just spoke about the path that led him to work in the kitchen and his passion for making the food system more sustainable through purchases as a chef. Biology professor and head of the Biola Organic […]

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“And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.”  –Joel 2:24 Once upon a time, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon farmer families began settling on the land. In 1840, the Emersons made it across the Oregon Trail. In 1897 pregnant Grandmother Matson climbed up and over 2000 feet in elevation to her Washington homestead. With roots in Switzerland, Romania, Ukraine, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest, the extended Gross-Hofers-Walter family has been in the business of farming for 460 years. Shepherd’s Grain is the story of 33 farm families, 65,000 acres, and their transformation of the land to sustainable agriculture. Right: Shepherd’s Grain Grower, Kurt Blume from Genesee, ID It’s the end of a hot July. I stand alongside Bon Appétit Management Company chefs and managers at the edge of a Hard Red Winter Wheat field. We are surrounded by […]

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The Harned Family, Three Sisters Farm By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Since I attended the 2010 Eco Farm Conference session, “Is Small the Only Beautiful?” I have reflected on this question. My headed turned from side to side during the closing plenary as Eliot Coleman and Gary Hirschberg spoke, two East Coasters with contrary farming philosophies. Coleman is an organic farmer, author, and proponent of small-scale farming while Hirschberg is the Stonyfield Farm CEO and proponent of offering large-scale support for organic production. A couple of weeks ago, I drove through California’s Central Valley, a 450 mile region home to California’s most productive agriculture. The area is dominated by large-scale agriculture. It is not uncommon for a single farm to be several thousand acres. Collectively grossing $27 billion in revenues last year, the Central Valley provides roughly […]

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Mills College Community Botanic Garden By Vera Chang, West Coast Fellow, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation Spring is coming into bloom and the Bon Appétit Fellow’s college and farm tours are rolling right along! One topic that continues to excite me on my college tour is campus farms and gardens. I echo Midwest Fellow, Dayna Burtness’s passion for them. ‘Tis the season! Farms and gardens are popping up at colleges and universities all over, growing not only vegetables but also soil, ideas, and budding farmers. Campus farms and gardens are a reclamation not only of our country’s farmland but also of our education. Let’s think back to how the U.S. school calendar was traditionally set up: students studied fall, winter, and spring and helped with the harvest during summer’s peak season. Studying mathematics and literature was complemented with learning how to grow food. I […]

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As the East Coast Fellow for Bon Appétit Management Company, I recently went to Washington University in St. Louis to work on a project related to sustainable food sourcing. While there, I realized it takes a lot of people to make “sustainable food” a reality. So, here’s a little tribute to the Bon Appétit folks at WashU, working to get good food on students’ plates. Enjoy!