Last Day of Classes To Be Celebrated With a Pig Roast at the Yale Farm

All over the world pig roasts are held to mark significant occasions. The Yale Sustainable Food Project will roast a 200-pound pig in honor of one of the most important occasions on a college campus: the last day of classes.

Now in its third year, the annual pig roast attracts more than 200 students and has become a signature event at the Yale Farm, the Sustainable Food Project’s one-acre organic garden on campus. This year, the celebration takes place on Friday, April 23, from 1 to 5 p.m.

In 2008, students first proposed the event as an educational opportunity and challenge to see a large-scale meal through its course — from sourcing the pig locally and sustainably, roasting the meat, and enlisting friends and peers to create side dishes. When students needed advice on how to roast the pig, they called up author Jack Hitt, who is a contributor to NPR’s “This American Life” and a New Haven resident whom they had met at a farmers’ market.

“It’s not the healthiest meal you’ll eat, but once a year, the pig roast celebrates a year of education, service and action, when we can all come together as a community,” says Melina Shannon-DiPietro, executive director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. “Students at Yale want to change the world for the better and increasingly see food and agriculture as a vehicle for action.”

Dave Thier ‘09, one of the student interns at the project who first proposed the pig roast, says, “For me, a defining moment was eating bacon after having roasted the pig for hours. Here was bacon, a substance I had only ever seen in thin shrink-wrapped strips, and here it was inside of a pig, right where it came from. It gave me the opportunity to really get to know the meat on an animal — backstrap, jowl, porkchop, ribs, ham and all. We even converted a few vegetarians that day.”

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