First-Year Yale SOM Students Participate in Case Competition to Promote Healthy Food
At the beginning of orientation for each year’s incoming Yale SOM class, students take part in a case competition designed to introduce them to fellow classmates and get them thinking like Yale MBAs. This year’s case focused on the Yale Sustainable Food Project, also known as the Yale Farm, which grows organic food on a plot just north of campus and runs a variety of educational initiatives. Students were tasked with developing a proposal for a program through which the Yale Farm could encourage New Haven children to increase their involvement with growing, cooking, or eating healthy foods.
On the second day of orientation, groups of eight or nine students began working to come up with an idea that would allow the Yale Sustainable Food Project to optimize its resources to have a greater impact in the community. Working from a web-based Yale SOM raw case, they analyzed data, visited the Yale Farm, and pooled their collective knowledge and experiences to devise a way forward for the project. Five teams were named finalists after a round of presentations. After a weekend of fine-tuning, the finalists presented their concepts to the entire first-year class and a panel of judges comprised of Yale SOM faculty, Yale alumni, and University administrators with expertise in the area of healthy food initiatives.
This year’s winners proposed an initiative called "Garden Olympics," a partnership between Yale Farm, the New Haven schools, and Grow New Haven, a nonprofit that has installed gardens in a number of the city’s schoolyards. Elementary school students would learn about nutrition while growing their own crops at their schools. The program would finish with a pizza party at the Yale Farm (which has its own brick oven) and finally an event on the New Haven Green, where students would cook what they had grown.