Cultivate your best self.
What if you looked at farms, large or small, as part of the larger surrounding ecosystem, where everything served a purpose? What if concern for biodiversity was the norm in agriculture? What if you wanted to be part of restoring and regenerating the larger agricultural landscape? What if you could be part of the movement to help small-scale farming serve a bigger role in global agriculture without exacerbating climate change, water scarcity, or pollution? What if your involvement was crucial creating ecologically sound agricultural systems that could be scaled up without jeopardizing the health of both the people and the environment that it is part off?
This is at the root of the Sustainable Agriculture major at Sterling College’s Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems: To grow great-tasting food using practices that enhance the health of the local as well as the global ecosystem–and are truly sustainable.
Through the hands-on study of growing vegetables, raising livestock, and managing our sugarbush and woodlot you will develop the skills—and wisdom—to farm ecologically , productively, and with an eye for running a small business.
The result? Sterling’s Sustainable Agriculture majors have created compelling lives for themselves starting and managing diversified farms , working in agricultural education, forestry management, agricultural advocacy, and pursuing advanced degrees in organic agriculture and related fields.
What will I do as a Sterling College Sustainable Agriculture major?
- Study diversified, and ecologically sound agricultural practices at the RFC that restore and regenerate the landscape while growing food you and your community will enjoy in the Dunbar Dining Hall.
- Get hands-on experience working with a variety of livestock in the new Alfond Draft Horse Barn and the newly remodeled McCarthy Barns
- Visit the myriad farms and agri-businesses in Northern Vermont such as the Center for an Agricultural Economy, Vermont Creamery, Butterworks Farm, Jasper Hill Farm, and other established operations, learning different techniques from masters in their fields.
- Get paid to work at Sterling College as a farm resource specialist, greenhouse/hoop house manager, maple sugaring team member, or kitchen/garden liaison.
- Study agricultural adaptations to climate change in Chiapas, Mexico through Sterling College’s Global Field Studies program (included as part of your tuition).
- Complete a Senior Applied Research Project (SARP) or Senior Project working with a faculty advisor.
The Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
As Sustainable Agriculture major, you will be studying under the auspices of the Sterling College Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. The center not only oversees key academic programs at Sterling College, it also brings in visiting scholars, conducts Sterling’s food production energy audit, sponsors farm-related programs for veterans, conducts seed trials, and furthers the national dialogue about sustainable agriculture. Read more.
The Sterling College Farm
Sterling’s farm was one of the first college farms in the country. At 130 acres, the Sterling College Farm represents a vital part of Sterling life, offering opportunities to care for crops, conduct research, eat, manage livestock, and experience the joy of growing organic food for the people you care about at Sterling.
“I’ll arrive on campus at seven o’clock, and there are so many people who are awake this time of year. The sawmill is operating, chores are being done, students are doing independent studies. To walk on this campus and see the number of students totally engaged in their educations without any oversight is very inspiring,” —Louise Calderwood, adjunct faculty in Sterling College’s Sustainable Agriculture program.