Sustainable agriculture is about taking an ecological approach to farming.
The Sterling students who get a degree in Sustainable Agriculture will learn how to build a future of small farming that doesn’t exacerbate climate change, water scarcity, or pollution. Students have hands-on classes in how to raise crops for human food and fiber needs, how to measure and tend to soil health, and how to work with draft horses.
The heart of the Sustainable Agriculture degree is our own farm, where students grow most of the food consumed on campus. All students on campus work on the farm and gardens at some point during their Sterling College experience. Students learn about season extension strategies for vegetable production, raising pastured meats, and how to use both small tractors and draft horses for a true mixed power model.
The Sustainable Agriculture curriculum has a broad foundation in Biology, Forestry, Soil Science, and Animal Science. Students will also learn about small business management practices and will explore state and federal agricultural policy.
Sustainable Agriculture graduates have a broad range of opportunities after graduation, whether it be starting a small farm, agricultural education, forestry management, or agricultural advocacy.
The Sustainable Agriculture major is part of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, which also includes the Sterling Farm, a new Draft Horse Barn, refurbished farm and instructional facilities, as well as collaborative programs with agriculture and food system non-profits and businesses in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Sterling College is #1 in Nation for Healthy, Fair, and Green College Food System —Vermont’s only college for environmental stewardship top in serving real food.
Trustee Marian Burros wrote about our Sustainable Agriculture & Sustainable Food Systems majors, and the College partnering with food leaders in nearby Hardwick, Vermont.
Gardenista reported that Sterling College was “a college for aspiring agrarians.”
Take a look at our video about the Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Food Program majors over the summer.
Julie Scott (Olson) ’07 discusses the freedom to learn on her own, her quest to add more hours to her day, and how to be comfortable in any situation. Read more about her work as the Farm Manager at the FARM Institute.