Sustainable Farming and Food Systems
The Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program emphasizes the practical skills it takes to manage a small, diverse farm, while providing students with a broad exposure to the social and ecological considerations of truly sustainable food production and distribution. Students in the program take courses in entrepreneurship, accounting, environmental studies, biology, and unique food systems seminars. They will apply this knowledge on a working farm located on the College's main campus and work closely with food retailers, restaurants, as well as the College Eatery and the College’s Coltivare culinary center in downtown Ithaca as part of the College's unique Farm to Bistro concept.
Careers on Career Coach
This program has wide appeal to students with diverse career goals. Those wishing to become farmers will gain practical on-farm experience with issues such as spring planning, farm management, pest control, harvesting techniques, and post-harvest handling. Students who wish to work more broadly with community groups in advocacy positions will find courses that emphasize social issues, ecological relationships, and ethical considerations. Learn more about related jobs:
Sue Stafford brings 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry to her position in the classroom as chair of the Hotel and Restaurant Management, Culinary Arts, and Wine Marketing Degree Programs. She was also instrumental in the development of the farm to bistro concept, which features an organic farm on campus that provides fresh produce to the College's downtown Ithaca restaurant and culinary center, Coltivare.
Chef Amanda Bisson joined TC3 in 2017 as an educator in both culinary arts and sustainable farming. With over 10 years’ experience in both industries, she offers a wealth of knowledge to students in the Farm to Bistro learning community. Chef Bisson strongly believes in partnerships between chefs and farmers and their capacity to impact community food systems. “Culinary Arts is not just a career; it is a language, a science, an art, and comes with social responsibility to our community” she says.
Although this curriculum is not primarily designed for transfer, students may work with their advisor to design a program of study populated by courses that transfer to programs offered by 4-year institutions. Recent graduates have transferred to the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Hampshire College, SUNY ESF, Unity College, Binghamton University, and other 4-year colleges.
Meet Essence Pack, the Student Success Office “Peer Career Coach” for spring 2021. A native of Queens, New York, Essence is a Sustainable Farming and Food Systems major with an anticipated graduation date of Fall 2021. She enjoys the hands-on farm-to-bistro nature of our program and its connection to the Coltivare culinary center. Her intersecting interests include homesteading, herbalism and social justice. While on campus Essence has been involved in the LGBT Club as well as serving as secretary of the Recovery Space's student club ARCTC. Her plans after graduation include pursuing the path of an entrepreneur as part of the burgeoning market for hemp-derived products such as CBD.
Why did you choose to attend Tompkins Cortland? I chose Tompkins Cortland because of their farming program. Farming programs I discovered when I started looking, are hard to find in NY and often expensive. I honestly couldn't find another school besides Tompkins Cortland with such a unique farm-to-table program or a college-owned restaurant like Coltivare.
What do you hope to go on to do after graduation? Immediately after graduation, I will become the CEO of my herbal business, Soulful Herbal Sunrise. I will begin my journey of becoming an herbalist. But that's not all. I am also making a social movements group called Obscura. We will spread awareness of certain issues, while tackling hands-on experiences to bring change to the world. I will also prepare myself with experiences through the lifestyle of homesteading. While building my team, I will push on to work with CBD and THC products, regarding research, law, culinary and medicinal marijuana uses, etc.
How is your college experience at Tompkins Cortland preparing you for what you hope to go on to do? This college has prepared me for so many opportunities, I can't name just one. I guess you can say this school is one of the best chapters of my life.
Who at TC3 has had the greatest positive impact on your experience? Too many people to count. I thank my classmates, my professors, and the staff.
What are your involvements on campus? I have been a member of the LGBT club; was a treasurer for the Recovery Space's student club ARCTC, and also served as a peer mentor for the Vector Network.
How are you enjoying your position as a student employee? I enjoy my position as a student employee. I love to help others.