Sustainable Living Center Proposal

The Dartmouth Organic Farm, situated just north of campus on the Connecticut River, proposes an expansion into a comprehensive Sustainable Living Center. The Farm believes that a student-led Sustainable Living Center could exemplify the vision outlined by the Trustees principles for residential and social change. Such a Center would incorporate sustainable technologies and life-styles through a combined residential, social, and academic setting. Through an increase in student housing, the development of larger meeting areas for social events, and the creation of classroom and laboratory space, the Farm would prove a valuable addition to the Dartmouth experience. The initial proposal follows, illustrating the Farms vision for the Sustainable Living Center.

February 24, 1999

This proposal is submitted by the Dartmouth Organic Farm Committee on the Sustainable Living Center:

Daniel M. Braden 01
Jacquelin E. Burnett 01
Isak A. Goodwin 00
Nicholas W. Dankers 01
Juliana Garzon 99
Laura Garzon 02
Richard Harvell 01
Leah K. Horowitz 02
Melissa L. Kirkby 00
Flora E. Krivak-Tetley 02
Emily J. Lewis 02
Rebecca E. Lothrop 02
Merrielle S. Macleod 02
Mirte B. Mallory 02
Greg Miller 99
Christopher R. Moore 02
Emily K. Neuman 99
Mirte B. Mallory 02
Molly C. Redmond 02
Djahane Salehabadi 01
Emily A. Snider 00
Matthew S. Stembridge 99

I. A Brief History of the Dartmouth Organic Farm

Operations at the Dartmouth Organic Farm began in the winter of 1996 as the result of a student proposal and the student-led support which followed. In the three years since its initial growing season, the Farm has become a haven of social, residential and learning experiences, offering students and community members the opportunity to work, study, and live together in a unique cooperative environment.

Last spring, the Farm was granted permanent status under the Outdoor Programs Office. This official acknowledgement of the Farm as a valuable asset to the College has not only brought stability to the program, but has spurred a growing interest in its present operations and future possibilities.

Prior to the recent gain in administrative support, students had been working side by side since the farmıs inception to make it a successful endeavor. Each winter, five student-interns and a group of 15-20 regular volunteers, assisted by the full-time professional Farm Manager, devise the upcoming seasonıs field plan. In doing so, they select and purchase seeds, coordinate crops for wholesale with Collis Café, the Hanover Inn, and the Ravine Lodge, and start seedlings in the greenhouse. Once the field thaws, students prepare the two acres of soil currently under cultivation for early planting and transplanting. For the remainder of the growing season, students work in the fields planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting seven days a week. The cultivated land has been divided into sections for wholesale, experimentation, formal research, an herboretum, and smaller specialty plants.

In addition to opportunities in the field, the Farm offers a unique social setting founded on fellowship and a common sense of respect for community and the enviroment. In the greenhouse, fields, and farmhouse, and in planning meetings and social events, time spent at the Farm is engaging, relaxing and cooperative.

In 1997, the College began renting the three-bedroom farmhouse adjacent to the fields for use by student-farmers. Three to five students live in the farmhouse each term, hosting weekly potluck dinners and affording other students an alternative place to socialize.

Each term, the Farm holds seasonally-themed festivals incorporating the diverse interests and traditions of the Dartmouth community. For instance, the Fall 98 Harvest festival was co-sponsored by the Organic Farm, Hillel, and the Native Americans at Dartmouth and was attended by nearly seventy-five people.

The Farm is also valuable in that it provides an opportunity for students to realize new interests, while drawing on a variety of experiences and talents. Those active with the Farm are encouraged to share knowledge and skills among themselves and with others. The farm gives frequent tours to school groups, clubs, and local organizations and attempts to gain the interests of students and faculty by holding a bi-weekly farmstand on campus.

Academically speaking, students have secured a variety of fellowships and grants to conduct formal research at the Farm (please see Appendix). Students participating in independent study programs, courses from such departments as Environmental Studies, English, Anthropology, Geography, Studio Art, and Engineering, and sponsored speakers and forums all utilize the Farms resources.

II. The Sustainable Living Center at the Farm

Since its conception, there has been a desire to expand the scope of the Farm into a sustainable living center, encapsulating alternative technologies, community values, and unique and challenging learning opportunities. Sustainable living attempts to minimize consumption and waste and to harness renewable resources and energy. The development of such a sustainable living center would include:

The Sustainable Living Center will address the following:

A. Sustainability

B. College Life:

(ii) Social:

(iii) Academic:

C. Community:

III. Implementation Following acquisition of the site and buildings for use, the first step will be the development of a comprehensive design for the creation of the Sustainable Living Center. Embracing these unique learning opportunities, the initial design, as well as any further plans, will be the product of student work. The process of development will be ongoing, demanding close association with faculty and staff members as well as local farms and organizations. Students living, working, and taking classes at the Farm, along with potential alumni interns, will play the essential roles in the Sustainable Living Centerıs success.


As Dartmouth College re-evaluates its residential system, and in the face of increasing environmental considerations, the Dartmouth Organic Farm offers this proposal to provide a unique and valuable residential, social, and academic setting. The Farm's Sustainable Living Center promises the structure both to address the Trustee's hopes for a more integrated and inclusive college experience and to prepare ecologically conscious and active students to face society's ongoing environmental challenges.