Welcome Back Hokies!
We hope you were able to spend some quality time with friends and family and that you’re back in Blacksburg ready for another wonderful semester in Hokieland!
Virginia Tech Dining Services is welcoming our new Sustainable Food Systems Production Director, Alex Hessler. Alex just finished his masters degree at the University of Kentucky and started at Virginia Tech earlier this month. This position is funded jointly by the Department of Horticulture and by Dining Services so you’ll see him at the farm and in the classroom. Heck, he might even be your teacher! Alex will be picking up the Organic Vegetable Production class taught within the Horticulture Department. Are you signed up?
Get to know Alex with these fun facts and keep an eye out for opportunities to work with him down at the farm later on this semester.
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
School (Undergrad & Grad): University of Montana (B.S. Resource Conservation). University of Kentucky (M.S. Integrated Plant and Soil Science)
Hobbies: Gardening, Canoeing, hiking, primitive survival skills, reading Kurt Vonnegut, drinking good local beer.
Favorite Vegetable: Sweet corn: sturdy, utilitarian, minimal fuss, great eaten raw in the field as a mid-morning snack!
What are you most excited about this Season: I am looking forward to working alongside the dining staff who have been running the farm for the last three years. I am also eager to create opportunities for students to work and learn on the farm, and help continue growing veggies through the fall, winter, and spring.
Other Fun Fact? I think the Dining Service Garden and Urban Horticulture Center have the potential to become a nationally recognized college farm program. I envision a program that trains new farm managers and food systems activists, conducts cutting edge research on sustainable and organic farming practices, and builds community around food and farming, in addition to growing food for the college’s dining centers. We have a ton of work to do, and we need the contribution of all sorts of skills and perspectives, from farmers, mechanics, and carpenters, to ecologists, sociologists, and dietitians. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to participate in the coming months, and hopefully you can become a part of this innovative project!
Have questions for Alex? Get in touch with him at hessler [at]vt.edu.