Sustainable Food Systems Yield "Real Food"

Students design dynamic non-linear food-production systems -

Continuing with efforts initiated in the fall of 2010, students are growing modest quantities of food for Doe Dining Commons in the form of salad greens, basil, tomatoes and even fish. Students are leaning to think creatively and design closed-loop systems. Aquaculture production of fish (tilapia) will yield its first harvest to be enjoyed at the upcoming Global Fair. Aquaculture also produces dissolved nutrients (fish waste) that sustains our hydroponic basil production. Vegetable scrap from the basil and other crops are fed to worms, which in turn recycle nutrients to the soil and worms to the tilapia.

Animal Husbandry

Sustainable, humane and healthful pork that also addresses a food waste challenge -

Now in it’s third academic year, this program was envisioned as a way to connect students with their own food sources while also addressing dining hall food waste. These hardy animals convert plate scrapings and kitchen scraps back into wholesome, local, and humanely raised meat. This spring we reared seven pigs for slaughter (yielding roughly 700 pounds of pork), and another seven for sale to neiboring homesteads. 

From animal health and nutrition to watershed dynamics, opportunities to integrate with classroom learning abound. Most recently, students in Physics for Sustainability undertook a project to better quantify and sort dining hall waste. The elegant sorting station they designed and constructed has dramatically increased waste recapture for feeding the hogs. Campus composting of the remaining material is a high priority for next year.

Field Crops

Organic produce at the "Pumpkin Patch" -

Each spring a patch of sweet pumpkins, winter squashes, carving pumpkins and other crops is prepared in the field behind Miller. Each fall, pumpkin is enjoyed Doe Dining Commons in a wonderful variety of dishes – from pies to Indian curries. Pumpkins adorn campus over Homecoming Weekend, and students enjoy carving them into jack-o-lanterns at Halloween. 

Environmental Science students got involved in the project by characterizing soil texture, measuring soil nutrient concentrations, and testing for soil contaminants.
  Pigs are rotated over the patch during the fall and spring to revitalize the soil.


Tilapia Aquaculture/Aquaponics - 

Aquaculture production of fin fish yielded its first harvest this year.  Fresh Tilapia was enjoyed by students in a cooking class as part of Global Fair. In addition to generating a heathy source of protein, aquaculture yeilds dissolved nutrients (in the form of fish waste) that sustains our hydroponic basil production. Vegetable scrap from the basil and other crops are  composted with worms (vermiculture), and the worms are, in turn, recycled back as food for the Tilapia.


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Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA offers the best of the traditional New England Boarding School experience to a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy