The Knoll’s biggest event of the year is just around the corner. After a year and a half of planning, the Knoll will soon begin its 20th anniversary celebrations, just in time for families coming to campus next weekend.
A variety of events will be offered at the Knoll during the weekend of Sept. 30, including a garden volunteering session, a harvest festival, a book release party and a poetry workshop.
The Knoll was founded by students in 2003 with the idea that it would serve as an educational garden and gathering space for the campus community. Twenty years later, a group of students who are involved with the Knoll believe that this goal has been achieved.
“The Knoll is a place where people flourish as much as food, where connection between the students and the wider community becomes reciprocal, and where learning, service and transformation take place daily,” a group of Knoll student interns wrote in an op-ed for The Campus in 2022.
According to Megan Brakeley ’06, associate director of the Knoll, plans for the 20th anniversary celebrations have been in the works for a year and a half.
“So much love [was] poured in from students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community interns, volunteers and friends,” Brakeley wrote in an email to The Campus.
Daniela Ortiz ’25.5, an intern at the Knoll for the 2023 growing season, is looking forward to the upcoming celebration of the Knoll’s existence and success.
“I think it will be really joyful, rain or shine, and I’m also excited for the yummy food! The smaller event we had last spring had a really great turnout and I think this one will be even more energy,” Ortiz wrote in an email to The Campus.
Ortiz noted that it has been remarkable to see how many people from various parts of the Middlebury community have come together to plan these events. She also added that the Knoll has been a positive part of her Middlebury experience, allowing her to meet other students and relax in an outdoor space.
“I think [the Knoll] allows students from any background to engage with caring for the earth, to learn new skills without judgment and to feel the love put into the space by the many caretakers and friends who stop by,” Ortiz said.
The majority of the 20th anniversary celebratory events will take place during fall family weekend and the organizers welcome any and all who are interested to attend.
The weekend of festivities kicks off on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 29 with garden volunteer hours that are open to all. The next day, the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival will take place from 1–4 p.m., featuring seasonal food and performances including student musicians as well as Abenaki music and storytelling.
That Sunday, a book release party will be held in the Abernethy Room at Axinn Center to celebrate the community-sourced book “Growing with the Knoll: 20 Years in the Garden,” which includes memories, photos, art, and poetry submitted by alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends. The same afternoon, Writer-in-Residence Emerita Julia Alvarez will lead a poetry workshop from 2–4 p.m.
The following weekend on Friday, Oct. 6, the Knoll will collaborate with Dolci to provide a meal for students featuring Knoll and locally-grown food in Atwater Dining Hall. Tickets for the event will be distributed in Dolci’s typical email raffle format.
Details about all of the 20th anniversary celebrations as well as information on getting involved with the Knoll can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-c_VV-jpIQcV6jIXeihHev9EKWTQR8BWS7lZW9aXNHw/edit
Susanna Schatz ‘24 (she/her) is the Senior News Editor.
She previously served as Local Editor, Staff Writer, and Visuals Artist for The Campus. She is an English major and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies minor.
Susanna is the social media and marketing intern for a small business started by Midd Alums, Treeline Terrains. In her free time you’ll find her taking in the Vermont outdoors hiking, swimming, skiing, reading in an Adirondack chair, or painting the scenery.