Bryn Athyn College Alumni Magazine Fall/Winter 2017-18 - Page 34

running header CAMPUS LIFE Saving More Than Just Calories Although quality often comes at a high price, this has not been the case with SAGE Dining. Suzanne explained, “With a small company like SAGE, we only pay for labor and food costs. By eliminating the middle man that exists with the big corpora- tions that have rebates and kickbacks, we actually end up saving money.” She added, “Plus, we’re buying from local farmers. Once we start supply- ing more of the food, costs will drop further. And students who join the team not only get a culinary education, but also earn money to help pay for college, so it’s a real win-win.” Fit Body, Fit Mind As a doctor of science (Sc.D.) and registered di- etitian, Suzanne feels strongly about supporting a company that invests in the cutting-edge sci- ence of food preparation and that knows how to translate what is happening in the kitchen to edu- cating students. “It really comes back to helping students understand and feel comfortable with what they’re eating. I am excited about helping to empower young adults to make changes that will lead to a happier, healthier life.” Before coming to work at Bryn Athyn Col- lege, Suzanne had cultivated a deep appreciation for garden-based learning. She gained knowledge from pioneers in the field, including Alice Waters at University of California-Berkeley, with her fa- mous “edible school yard.” Near her home on the West Coast, farmers markets popped up daily, bringing flowers, fruit, veggies, and fresh breads to every corner. With this experience, Suzanne had seen first-hand how working in gardens and eat- ing fresh food helped people feel responsible for and connected with their environment. When Suzanne came to Bryn Athyn College, she quickly became excited about the current garden-based education program and its poten- tial. She said, “When I came to meet Brian Blair, I looked out his window and thought ‘Wow.’ You’re looking at the land here. You’re looking at a community that values and embraces the idea of Bounty and Friends of the Farm. This is the perfect place to bring education through gardens to the sciences, to psychology, to religion, to busi- ness, to English, to education, and to art.’” She added, “There is no other college in the area that I know of that offers this kind of education.” 34 | F A L L / W I N T E R 2 0 1 7 - 1 8 In her first year of teaching, Suzanne brought garden-based learning to her nutrition students, some of whom had never planted a seed. Inspired by a tender memory that never left her—the thrill of growing a single bean in a cup in a fourth-grade class taught by Alison Glenn Larson (BA ’65)—Su- zanne hoped to stimulate similar good memories for her College students. She said, “There are so many parallels in life that are exciting to teach through nature.” Embracing this vision, Suzanne took her nutrition class out to the College garden to plant sunflowers and pick herbs, and to Dani- elle Odhner’s beehives to discuss the wonders of pollination and watch the release of the queen bee. Suzanne said, “I so enjoy teaching in this way. It’s important. Students in this new generation need to learn about the environment that pro- duces their food; hopefully this will lead to them treating it well and giving back.” Future Vision Suzanne’s dream is to continue to collaborate with Bounty and Friends of the Farm to expand the community gardens area into a farm-to-table College garden. While she is eager to hear other ideas, her basic vision involves various paths through which community members and stu- dents could take a leisurely stroll. In one area, a production garden would give people a chance to learn about soil, plant and taste new foods, and harvest veggies. Another part of the garden could relate to correspondences—or even recreate part of Swedenborg’s garden. A nutrition minor could become established to support other majors at the College. Overall, the recent changes reflect the Col- lege’s commitment to enriching student educa- tion in all dimensions—physically, intellectually, and spiritually. As Suzanne said, “This is what we’re about. We’re this beautiful community. We’re welcom- ing. We have a dining service that wants to work with Bounty, the students, Friends of the Farm, and supports our garden-based learning. We’re small and growing, and so is SAGE, and that’s what sets them apart.” For more information on SAGE’s offerings and philosophy, visit