On a cold, damp Friday afternoon before The Game, around 50 students and members of the New Haven community trekked up to the Yale Farm for Beet Harvard, an event hosted by the Yale Sustainable Food Program.
Attendees sat on wooden tables adorned with fairy lights to drink soup and apple cider, talking amongst themselves with a background of live music from the student band called Toil. Beet Harvard is a part of the YSFP’s year long Knead 2 Know presentation series, which gives members of the Yale community and friends of the Yale Farm the opportunity to give eight to 10 minute presentations about a food systems topic every Friday afternoon. The week before Beet Harvard, Alex Muñoz, Greenberg World Fellow and National Geographic’s Pristine Seas director for Latin America, presented on Chilean salmon farms and the environmental challenges they create.
“We don’t normally have a Knead 2 Know before Thanksgiving Break,” Macey said. “But our student designers Noa Hines ‘21 and Chase Westover ‘21 made the Beet Harvard shirts, and we thought an early, no-presentation Knead 2 Know would be a fun way to distribute them and to maintain the rhythm of our normal weekly programming.”
Noah Macey, a programs fellow at the YSFP, said that Knead 2 Know is a way to help people connect their own interests and areas of study with exciting food systems questions. The presentation series is open to the public and aims to empower students in their study and potential careers in food and agriculture and foster community at the Yale Farm.
The Beet Harvard T-shirts were sold for $15 at the event. The YSFP also provided free food from local vendors, including bread from Atticus and Chabaso and vegan Moroccan Lentil soup from The Soup Girl, a caterer in Hamden that makes fresh gourmet soups from scratch.
Brendan Campbell ’21 is one of the YSFP’s culinary event managers that helped organize the event. He said he normally uses the Yale Farm’s pizza oven to make homemade pizza for Knead 2 Know events but said that, as it gets colder, YSFP serves bread and soup instead because the dough will not rise. He said he hoped that Beet Harvard will make more students aware of all that the YSFP does on campus.
“We’re a really relevant program for a lot of people,” Campbell said. “[Beet Harvard is] a fun outreach thing [to] put ourselves out there in a way that people might be interested…We thought it would be clever and fun to associate ourselves a little more strongly with other things that are happening on campus.”
The YSFP is the umbrella organization for many of the events which take place around the farm. It also has a podcast and event called “Chewing the Fat” which brings in speakers to discuss food issues and how they can be combated.
“It’s a really vibrant program,” Campbell said. “There’s always a lot happening with the program and it’s a really fun initiative to be a part of.”
For many of the students who came to the event, Beet Harvard was a way to enjoy the autumn leaves and quietly unwind before The Game. Ben Wiegand ’23 said that he left the event with a new appreciation for the YSFP and its role on campus.
“I hadn’t heard about the Yale Sustainable Food Program before but I was browsing through game-related Facebook events and thought this looked like fun,” Wiegand said. “With all the craziness going on with Yale-Harvard, I’m glad I came up here for a quiet afternoon. Plus, the soup was great.”
During winter, Knead 2 Know will move indoors to the Office of LGBTQ Resources Café. The next event will take place on Dec. 6, featuring a presentation by Gabriela Morales-Nieves FES ’20.
Natalie Kainz | firstname.lastname@example.org