BOONE, N.C. — This summer, students and faculty in Appalachian State University’s Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development forged a partnership with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA), a local organization dedicated to strengthening Boone’s food system.
Thanks to an idea from alumna Lindsey Giglio ’16, all excess food harvested at the university’s Blackburn Vannoy Teaching and Research Farm and in the campus gardens was collected and donated to families in need across the High Country.
The partnership is just one of many ways Appalachian engages with the local community.
Giglio, a sustainable development graduate who now works for BRWIA’s Community of Gardens program, approached the department with a proposal to work together. During her time as a student, she worked in the Sustainable Development Civic Garden and Appalachian’s Child Development Center Edible Schoolyard. While at the university, she said she saw a disconnection between the campus gardens and the community.
“I wanted to make sure the food didn’t go to waste,” Giglio said. Department chair Dr. Rick Rheingans calls the partnership a win-win.
“Our department’s goals include supporting sustainable communities and bringing local and organic foods to area organizations and those in need,” Rheingans said. “One of our primary objectives is to address food insecurity in the area and develop creative and unique solutions that involve both students and the community.”
Since produce donations are perishable and refrigerator space is limited, one of Giglio’s primary challenges is managing the volume of donations and coordinating with several local organizations about delivery schedules. This summer’s recipients included:
- F.A.R.M. Cafe
- Western Watauga Outreach
- Hunger and Health Coalition
- Louis E. Harrill Senior Center
- Deerfield United Methodist Church
- Appalachian’s Food Pantry and Free Store in the Office of Sustainability
To date, the farm and gardens have produced almost 300 pounds of donated produce, including fresh lettuce, broccoli, peppers, kale, squash and more.
Appalachian State University’s Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development has forged a partnership with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) to donate excess food harvested at the university’s Blackburn Vannoy Teaching and Research Farm and campus gardens to families in need.
As she continues her role with BRWIA’s Community of Gardens program, Giglio said her goal is to grow the volunteer base among the community and include more students by connecting with clubs on campus. She encourages everyone with a passion for solving local food insecurity to get involved.
“It’s so rewarding to see the recipients’ faces when we arrive with the donations,” she said.
“They are always surprised to get fresh food. I love seeing that all the food coming in has somewhere to go.”
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About the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University prepares students to thoughtfully analyze human development while focusing on the applied practice of pursuing transformative, community-driven development and social change. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in sustainable development with concentrations in agroecology and sustainable agriculture; community, regional and global development; and environmental studies; as well as a Bachelor of Arts and minor in sustainable development. Learn more at https://sd.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.