“Learning from Long Traditions” is the theme of the Annual Autumn Hope Conference at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College Sept. 28-30, 2012. This faith-based event is a blend of time outdoors, reflection, conversation and worship. This year’s theme will explore the relationship between people and land in diverse times and places.
I am a farmer. A Christian farmer. A low-input, sustainable, Christian farmer. I believe that our work is to create the new Eden—an Eden that is interdependent and sustainable in ways that the most radical hippies and permaculturists never imagined. And I believe I am being called to this vocation, to these beliefs.
This year we have a bumper crop of dandelions at Goshen College! In fact, I think it is safe to say that in the 108 year history of our campus, dandelions have never been this abundant or healthy.
Most of us do not want to be a burden to those who come after us. We’d prefer to emit less carbon dioxide, have less stuff and demand less from our groaning planet. But how? What would environmentally sustainable living look like in the 21st century?
Goshen College is announcing a new, unique opportunity for undergraduate students to earn a semester of college credit in a fairly unconventional way. Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College will offer (beginning in the fall of 2011) the Sustainability Semester in Residence for students to live and learn in Indiana’s first platinum-rated LEED® facility located on a 1,189-acre nature preserve. A cohort of six to 15 students will engage complex problems related to the regional watershed.
College dining halls are known for large amounts of food thrown away by students, for grease-laden burgers and chicken nuggets and for preparing mass quantities of food straight from the freezer section that would never be considered “fresh.” But something different is going on in the Goshen College Dining Hall, with the AVI Fresh food service provider leading the way in caring for the health and taste buds of each student and for the well-being of the earth. In 2009, when the college was choosing a new food service provider, these qualities were what set them apart.