Curriculum and Research


Miles Crettien '09Miles Crettien '09
Coordinator of Healthy Foods and Wellness at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, co-founder of VertiCulture

Miles Crettien ’09 graduated as an Environmental Studies major, with a minor in Business Administration. Since June of 2012, he has been the Coordinator of Healthy Foods and Wellness at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, a non-profit organization that provides integrated human services. He has also received a grant to develop three rooftop gardens at the organization, runs a CSA program for low income clients, and gives workshops to clients ages 3-103 on healthy eating, food access, and more. Miles is also co-founder of aquaponics start-up called VertiCulture in NYC. In addition, he volunteers at the Community Gardens in NYC, and is an NYC Community Garden Coalition member. In the past Miles worked at GreenStar Oasis, and for 5 years worked on an organic farm and co-founded the green infrastructure consulting firm in 2011.

Miles has always had an interest in maintaining the health of the earth and human populations, as well as food production. Ithaca gave him a good background in the science necessary to understand the function of biological and chemical processes having to do with food production. He is very interested in botany, chemistry, and biology. Miles learned skills in communication and analytical thinking, skills emphasized in his participation of ICES and REMP. He was also part of a group that developed bio-diesel processor at the Maquipucuna cloud rainforest preserve in Ecuador through the Sustainable Micro-enterprise class with Dr. David Saiia. Miles studied anthocyanin production in leaves as natural pesticide, and also developed a feasibility study for bio-diesel production on campus. His classes, teachers, experiences, and organizations gave Miles the opportunity to hone his understanding of environmental issues and apply specific skill sets he learned to these issues directly. Miles enjoyed the hands-on outdoor classes such as Sentinels, Field Bio, and Power of Plants.

For the future, Miles plans to expand VertiCulture to a large-scale aquaponics production facility in NYC, with connections to other sustainable food producers and artisans. He also plans on increasing the reach of his consulting business as he transitions to a more directed focus on urban food production issues. His message to IC students: “Take advantage of the knowledge the professors you have while you are there and get connected to as many people in the field as possible through them.”