Bon Appétit Management Company Offers Career Guide for Student Farmers

Bon Appétit Management Company has released a guide for student farmers seeking future careers in sustainable agriculture

Palo Alto, Calif. (September 22, 2009) — Bon Appétit Management Company is taking action to help student farmers launch careers in sustainable agriculture.

Bon Appétit has developed a guide for aspiring student farmers to help them build good business relationships with their best potential customers—the college food service providers that are right in their backyards. The guide will be made available to students in garden groups all over the country and on the company’s website.

Students who learn to farm can make both an immediate and a long-term contribution to American food security. Small, independently-operated farms are the backbone to a sustainable food system and they are in peril. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 1% of the population of the United States is involved in farming, compared to 40% at the turn of the 20th century. This number promises to dwindle as existing farmers retire (more than 40% are 55 or older).

It’s not as if young people aren’t interested in farming. Students are flocking to farm internships. And with the rise in the Real Food movement, colleges are the ideal place to begin a new agricultural revolution. Many campuses have land available for student use and college food service providers can be willing buyers for student-grown produce. Bon Appétit Management Company has long purchased produce from student-run farms at many of their 400 cafés across the nation, including Minnesota’s St. Olaf College, Colorado College, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Mills College in Oakland, Calif. and others. The company is pleased to offer the guide to students everywhere as a way to help lower the barriers to entry for young farmers.

“It is imperative that we support the development of our future farmers by making it possible for student gardeners to succeed,” says Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President, Bon Appétit Management Company. “These farmers are the future of our food. Doing the real work of growing and distributing food gives students direct and meaningful experience in creating a more sustainable food supply. Young farmers are serious entrepreneurs; today they are reinvigorating farming as a viable career option, making an important contribution to the strength of the American food system.”

The guide provides practical advice on how to succeed as a small-plot farmer, including:

  • Crop planning for the season, taking into account seasonal needs as well as holidays and summer breaks
  • Setting expectations with customers and maintaining productive relationships
  • Food sanitation, packaging, delivery, and invoicing
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Building community around the garden
  • Composting partnerships

The guide includes an extensive list of other resources student gardeners will find useful. It also weaves in personal, real world advice from Bon Appétit chefs and general managers and successful student gardeners with whom the company has worked over the 10 years focused on local, sustainable food sourcing.

About Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit Management Company ( is an onsite restaurant company offering full foodservice management to corporations, universities and specialty venues. Bon Appétit is committed to sourcing sustainable, local foods for all cafés throughout the country. A pioneer in environmentally-sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, cage-free eggs, and most recently, the connection between food and climate change. The company has received numerous awards for its work from organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States, and Food Alliance. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafés in 30 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania and the Getty Center.