The institute delves into food justice, farming, climate change, the joys of eating and cooking, and other topics.

Speakers include television anchor and producer Soledad O’Brien, food justice activist Leah Penniman (remote), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree ’79, community chef Anochi Odinga II, and lifestyle maven Martha Stewart. All events, which will be held in person and livestreamed, are free of charge, but registration is required.

“For a college concerned with the relationship between human society and the natural and constructed environment—what we call human ecology—there is arguably no more instructive topic, no more crucial concern than food,” COA President Darron Collins ’92 said. “Across the five days and 11 sessions of this year’s Summer Institute, we’ll have the opportunity to gain deeper insight into one of the most important topics of our time, and some of the many challenges and contradictions inherent in the wider world of food.”

The Summer Institute explores an array of food-related topics. Odinga, COA Beech Hill Farm Manager Anna Davis, and food activist Amber Tamm ’17 present “Food Access ≠ Food Equity” July 28. One Fair Wage president and Food Labor Research Center Saru Jayaraman joins Washington Post senior writer Frances Stead Sellers with “No Smile, No Tip” July 29. On July 30, Indigenous food sovereignty activist Winona LaDuke (remote) and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association executive director Sarah Alexander present “Relocalizing Traditional Foods.”

“The expertise, leadership, and passion that this year’s Summer Institute speakers bring to the table is astounding. This will be a week of insight and exploration on a topic that touches all of us,” said COA Dean of Institutional Advancement Shawn Keeley. “I welcome everyone to join us for these thought-provoking conversations.”

Mandala Farm owner Genio Bertin ’97, COA Partridge Chair In Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems Kourtney Collum, New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, “Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street” creator and Cook’s Magazine founder Christopher Kimball, Maine restaurateurs Cara Stadler and Michael Boland ’94, farming innovator Jonathan Webb, celebrity chef Dan Barber (remote), David Rockefeller, Jr., Susan Rockefeller, and others.

All in-person attendees are required to wear a facemask if they are not vaccinated against COVID-19. Due to the planning timeline and uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic, some speakers will appear from remote locations. Register and learn more at