Coming soon to campus ! NO-Mow Pollinator Protection Zones. Paul Smith’s College is establishing No-Mow zones across campus this summer, the college will stop mowing certain sections of campus. The initiative not only provides expanded habitat for wildlife but also reduces green house gas emissions, saves money, and provides an opportunity for long-term restoration ecology studies. The initiative was started on a trail basis last summer and students have begun studies of vegetation and soils, and these will be expanded to various areas around campus today. The college will be partnering with ADK Action’s ADK Pollinator Project to put up signage signaling which areas of campus are No-Mow Pollinator Protection Zones. Check out our no-mow map and stay tuned for more information.
by Serenata Wright
Composting on Paul Smith’s campus in not a new venture. The school has been incorporating composting into their waste minimization program through the dining hall and culinary program. All food that isn’t used by the students and or staff is sent to Moonstone farm in Saranac Lake NY. Food waste is tracked and sent to the farm in order to yield a sustainable result. As once stated, “The food waste serves a variety of purposes on the farm, such as feeding chickens directly, feeding mealworms and black soldier flies which eventually feed the chickens, while the rest is “…composted to create organic matter for our greenhouses, hopyard, fruit trees/bushes, and vegetable fields.”(retrieved from https://www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability/2019/04/05/we-are-composting-food-waste-on-campus/).
This program is a collaboration between The Dining Hall, Center for Sustainability, The Culinary Department and Moonstone Farm! Diverting solid food waste produced on campus not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but it provides the college with a valuable connection and educational opportunity in the farming community. Moonstone farm is working consistently to improve soil health, creating compost from food waste from local residences in Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s College provides the farm with a great source of soil fertilizer.
Having a place to store and use food waste is problematic for the college, with the conflict of figuring out where to store it so it can be used properly. Paul Smith’s could compost and use their own food waste to use for gardening, but with the addition of moonstone farm, that food waste becomes a resource to support local agriculture. Moonstone could go out and buy a bag of fertilizer and feed for their farm from a store, but Moonstone chooses to connect Paul Smiths College and produce more food waste than they themselves can handle. Our campus produces food waste, but it really doesn’t stay waste because of sustainability within our community and the farming community. A strong connection between nature and what it produces is important to the people who live, work, and are theoretically, a part of a farm.
by Nicole Distasio, Sustainable Dining Fellow, Center for Sustainability
Meet your first farmers: Ashlee Kleinhammer and Steven Googin of North Country Creamery, a first generation dairy farm in the Adirondack North Country.
North Country Creamery is a 115-acre farm located in Keeseville, NY, 20 minutes south of Plattsburgh. They produce farmstead cheeses, creamline yogurt, and raw milk, all 100% grass-fed, non-GMO, NYS Grown and Certified, and Animal Welfare Approved dairy. Their Shorthorn and Jersey cows graze on pastures overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. They use no added colors or stabilizers and use organic, local, or fair-trade ingredients as often as possible.
The land itself was purchased by the Open Space Institute and the Klipper Family Fund so that an easement could be put on the property. This way, the land can never be broken up and sold off and will always stay farmland. The land was already used for dairy operations, so it was all set to get up and running, it just needed a farmer. So, the OSI leased the property to Ashlee and Steven, who, after four years, decided to purchase it. In an interview with Gina Agnano for Do North Magazine, Steven said, “The community engagement that comes with this kind of farming where we’re dealing directly with the consumer, especially in this day and age where folks want to be closer to their food source, we get to meet a lot of wonderful people.” Right now, the farm actually finds this easier than before.
Ashlee told me, “Business is actually busier than usual for this time of year, so we are pleasantly surprised by that.” The Creamery is following all CDC guidelines for COVID-19. They are practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and increasing sanitization. Employees must log every time they come in to work to confirm that they’ve washed their hands for 20 seconds.
During this situation with COVID-19, it’s even more important than ever to take care of yourself. For those of you still in the Adirondacks, North Country Creamery suggests stocking up on their probiotic-rich yogurt, nutrient-dense milk, and indulge yourself in some local cheeses found at the farm-owned Clovermead Café and Farmstore. We all need some nourishing food during these stressful times! Might as well make it local! Product can also be purchased at other retail locations found here. However, please note that raw milk can only be purchased on the farm due to NYS law.
Ashlee says, “Overall, I’d say we are so thankful to be farming and living rurally during these trying times—I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.”
North Country Creamery will have a representative available in the Student Center on October 19th during lunch. Please note that the date is subject to change. Lunch will feature mac and cheese using North Country Creamery farmstead cheese. We hope to see you there!