Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems

Rian_Fried_gardenA $500,000 Challenge to Honor the Legacy of a Community Leader and Trustee

Rian FriedInspiration

In recognition of the vision and leadership of the late Rian Fried, Sterling College announces that it is partnering with community leaders and other non-profit organizations to create a fund to support the establishment of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.


Sterling College was among the first institutions in the United States to link the care of our environment with farming practices, and is recognized as the first liberal arts college to offer a major in Sustainable Agriculture. Rian actively encouraged connections between the College and the burgeoning entrepreneurial agriculture and artisan food enterprises surrounding Hardwick, Vermont.

Fundraising graphic_for webInnovation

Among the goals and initiatives for Sterling College is a major capital investment in the infrastructure of the Sustainable Agriculture program, including new and improved farm and instructional facilities. This new and refurbished sustainable agriculture facility will strengthen the experiential basis of the Sterling liberal arts model of study, and become a local resource for the Northeast Kingdom.


The College and its faculty are developing new curricular foci in areas such as sustainable food systems and climate justice, which were inspired by Rian’s leadership. The Center that will be named for Rian will also advocate for the kinds of collaborative programs that were so important to his vision of the future of our community. Examples under development include:

  • Launch of a continuing education program, in collaboration with the Center for an Agricultural Economy, High Mowing Organic Seeds, the Cellars at Jasper Hill, and others. This will include a January 2014 launch of a two-week artisan cheese instructional program.
  • The creation of a new apprenticeship program with local businesses for Sterling College students and students from other institutions in value-added and artisan food.
  • Establishment of an annual award, named for Rian, to be given by the College and its partners in recognition of an idea, concept, and plan for a sustainable agriculture and food systems business.


In August 2013, Sterling College announced that it is the recipient of a challenge grant from an anonymous foundation to raise $500,000 to support the development of a new center for sustainable agriculture.Acknowledging the loss to our community, and the many contributions Rian Fried made to both the College and sustainable agriculture and food systems in the Northeast Kingdom, the foundation will match the first $250,000 in gifts from donors, and for the center to bear Rian’s name in perpetuity.

Memorial Gifts and Pledges

Rian’s family, his friends, and his colleagues at Clean Yield have endorsed this effort to memorialize Rian’s many contributions to the wellbeing of our community and the future of Sterling College in this way. The Board of Trustees at Sterling is honored and humbled by the opportunity to steward this gift and the legacy of a member of the board whose loss is felt with great sadness, but whose inspiration will remain with us always.

To support this initiative, please either donate here or
send checks, payable to Sterling College and designated to the Rian Fried Center, to:

Sterling College
attn: Ms. Micki Martin
P.O. Box 72
Craftsbury Common, VT  05827

Gifts of stock are welcome, and all gifts are tax-deductible.

If you have questions, please contact
the Office of the President at
or Ms. Micki Martin,
Assistant to the President,
at (802) 586-7711 x101.


  1. Pingback: Progress on Development of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems |

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