Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 4, Issue 1
fall 2013
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Craig Canfield
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Reflections on Women, Food, and Culture in Vermont

by Justine Appel, '15


Photo by Zoe Keller

Maria Trumpler, Senior Lecturer in WGSS, took students from her course “Women, Food, and Culture” (WGSS 120) to Vermont over Fall Break to talk with women working in various capacities in the food and agriculture economy.

I’ve known for a while that I want to spend my life doing some kind of work involving food and agriculture, so this trip ended up being like a career fair for me, only more lively and personal, since many of the women who spoke to us about their food-related jobs would come back and eat a home-cooked dinner with us. There was also an incredible range of guests and speakers. We met women who work on food policy in the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, women running grassroots organizations for farming education and advocacy, women who’ve started and run small businesses, and women who run small, diversified farms. Each activity on the itinerary was sort of like a Master’s Tea in terms of getting to hear what other students are wondering about, only without dispersing after the official talk is over—we would spend the rest of the day together, allowing us to collectively digest all that we were learning. To see such a diversity of efforts to create a healthier food system for Vermont made me realize how many possibilities lie in this field of work.

I also feel like I got to know Vermont. Choosing to escape New Haven for a little bit, while also avoiding the comfort of my parents’ house, was reinvigorating and cozy at the same time. I took some time to be alone and go walking in the mountains right by our lodge, letting my mind unwind and disentangle itself from my academic anxieties. This trip was just the right amount of getting away and also being present, critically engaging with important issues that I study and also having enough time to breathe, think, and sleep.  When we arrived back at Phelps Gate on Sunday, I felt right where I needed to be: filled with new questions, a sense of purpose, and a sense of calm, ready to launch myself into the second half of fall semester.

Click here to view a slideshow

Find us on