Farming and sustainability are a hot-topic these days. Sustainability has been coined a ‘trendy word’ in the food industry as a way to convince shoppers to purchase their items over their competitors. But for Trent University Professor, Thomas Hutchinson, farming and sustainability have been a way of life. Dr. Hutchinson has dedicated decades into the study of sustainability in farming, even creating his own farm!

One of Professor Hutchinson’s research topics at Trent is the potential for alternative crops, noting that he hopes most of his students will learn how to grow-their-own and in turn become self-sufficient while harvesting a sustainable product.

Known by his peers as enthusiastic and generous, Dr. Thomas Hutchinson takes learning to the next level with trips to his own farm so students can complete their research and experiments!

Not only does Dr. Hutchinson use his own farm to assist students in their pursuit for knowledge, but he also spearheaded the idea to grow vegetables on the flat roof of the Environmental Studies Centre on campus at Trent University!

This phenomenal rooftop garden now provides organic fruit and veggies to the student-run Seasoned Spoon café right on campus. This innovative idea was a key component in giving students ‘hands on’ experience while piquing their interest in sustainable and organic farming.

Dr. Hutchinson’s passion for organic and sustainable foods systems doesn’t stop there. He even regularly takes students on day trips to visit local farmers and their families in the Peterborough area to chat about their varying philosophies and diverse products. It’s a fantastic opportunity to directly ask the farmers real world questions.

 “He creates these extraordinary farm adventures of contrast and interest, draws out the host farmer, prompts his students, helps them observe differently, to find the link to their course work and farm plan projects.”  One Nominator Commented from the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012

With progressive minds like Dr. Hutchinson, his graduate and undergraduate students will agree there’s hope that sustainable farming takes a front seat in the coming years.

You can read more about Dr. Hutchinson and his vast array of research here.

Dr. Hutchinson joined the Environmental and Resource Studies program in January 1991, coming from the University of Toronto where he was a Professor in the Botany department from 1967–1990.  Dr. Hutchinson was awarded, upon his retirement from Trent, the title of Professor Emeritus at the 2005 convocation ceremonies.