Rural Heritage Institute
The Third Annual Rural Heritage Institute at Sterling College:
Is Local Enough? Promises and Limits of Local Action
June 18-20, 2010
Are there limits to local thinking?
What is the relationship between rural and local?
What is the role of local knowledge in an age of globalization?
Join us at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont from June 18th - 20th for Is Local Enough? Promises and Limits of Local Action to explore these questions as well as the developing dialogue between local and global concerns as it applies to economy, agriculture, history, food, culture and rural identity.
Part of the third annual Rural Heritage Institute, Is Local Enough?, will include a diverse range of workshops, presentations and featured events. Located at the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the Institute capitalizes on the model of community and experiential learning at the center of the Sterling College curriculum and apparent throughout the surrounding communities.
Each year, The Rural Heritage Institute draws participants who are passionate about solidifying the connections among community, academic scholarship, and meaningful action in the field. The intimate atmosphere of the Institute (between 50-75 participants) enables productive conversations among a broad range of practitioners, scholars, community members, and under/graduate students who share an interest in exploring the intersections of local, regional, and global issues – particularly as manifested in the rural Northeast.
Who Should Attend?
Students, teachers, scholars, farmers, entrepreneurs, practitioners, community members, undergraduate/graduate students, and teachers who are passionate about solidifying the connections between community, academic scholarship, and meaningful work in the field.
The Institute is appropriate as a professional development opportunity for teachers from across the region and is available as a 2-credit graduate or undergraduate course. Please
for more information.
Film showing and discussion of Under the Cloak of Darkness: Vermont’s Migrant Mexican Farm Workers with Chris Urban
Listen Globally, Sing Locally: Traditional Folk Music in Rural Vermont with Pete Sutherland
A Vision for Healthy Food Culture and Sustainable Farming in New England
– Brian Donahue
(author of American Georgics: Readings in American Agrarianism; The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord; Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town
), Amy Trubek
(author of The Taste of Place
), Mateo Kehler
, owner of Jasper Hill Farm and The Cellars at Jasper Hill, and John Carroll
(author of Pastures of Plenty
and The Greening of Faith
: The Ways of the Woods Exhibit
from The Northern Forest Center
Selected Presentations & Workshops
Local Sustainability and Worldwide Movements
Small Farms and Agricultural Policy
Decentralizing Power: Secession as a Path to Sustainability
Voices from the Fields and the Barnlot
Telling our Stories: Getting to the Heart of What Matters Most in Communities
Bioregional Cosmopolitanism: Reasserting the Local, Reimagining the Global
Local Democracy Unbound: A Hopeful Narrative
Reading and Writing the Rural Landscape
Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest
Local Fiber, Dyeing, and Clothing
Migrant Workers, Local Agriculture, and Traditional Foods
Listen Globally, Sing Locally: Traditional Folk Music in Rural Vermont
Partners & Sponsors
The Northern Forest Higher Education Resource Network
The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment
For the past two years Sterling has hosted the Rural Heritage Institute: a four-day academic conference. The Institute capitalizes on Sterling’s integrative model of community learning and experiential academics. Sterling College, located only 30 miles from the Canadian border in the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, is an ideal place in which to explore interwoven threads of place, culture, and community in the fabric of the region’s agricultural and land-use heritage. RHI effectively integrates aspects of the Sterling College mission of environmental stewardship and fostering a sustainable community-based approach to global issues through “plain hard work” with an innovative approach to experience-based education. A natural extension of Sterling College’s forestry, draft horse, and sustainable agriculture programs — as well as its integrative community-based curriculum — RHI can serve as the base for a cross-disciplinary exploration of rural heritage in Vermont and across northern New England.
Past RHI Conferences
Food, Farms, & Community: Rural America’s Local Food Renaissance
The Second Annual Rural Heritage Institute at Sterling College
Clark Wolf, author of American Cheeses: The Best Regional, Artisan, and Farmhouse Cheeses, Who Makes Them, and Where to Find Them
This past summer found some of the nation’s leading scholars, farmers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, artists, and activists at the Food, Farms, and Community: Rural America’s Local Food Renaissance from June 16th-18th.
The conference sought to balance the changing connections between rural communities and their food sources with a long tradition of community-based agriculture. The local food theme was highlighted by three days of discussions, field trips, and hands-on workshops that connect participants with practitioners at the leading edge of sustainable food systems, organic agriculture, and working communities.
- Clark Wolf, author of American Cheeses: The Best Regional, Artisan, and Farmhouse Cheeses, Who Makes Them, and Where to Find Them
- Andrew Meyer, owner of Vermont Natural Coatings and Vermont Soy and founder of The Center for an Agricultural Economy
- NOFA-VT (The Vermont Northeast Organic Farmers Association)
- Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day)
- Shelburne Farms
- Vermont Sustainable Exchange
- The Grass-Fed Party: A New York City based website and blog
- The Greenhorns: With Severine von Tscharner Fleming, director and visionary behind The Greenhorns, a documentary film that explores the lives of America’s young farming community—its spirit, practices, and needs.
Workshops & Fieldtrips
- Draft Horse Cultivation
- Traditional skills workshops: scything,
- Cooking from Historic Roots
- High Mowing Seeds
The Place of Work in Rural Communities
The first Annual RHI was a four-day series of interdisciplinary academic, experiential, and instructional field-based workshops. Each of the four days of the event highlighted and strengthened connections between scholarship on rural communities in the Northeast broadly – and in the Northeast Kingdom specifically – and field experience within the working communities in the region.
Seminar Topics Included:
- The Farmhouse: A Vision of Rural Heritage
- The Politics of Rural Life through Journalism
- Agrarianism in the North
- Butterworks Farm: Diversified, Integrated, Signature Farming - Solutions for the Future?
- Poetry and Place: The Agricultural Imagination
- Three Kingdom Agrarians: Garret Keizer, Howard Frank Mosher, and James Hayford
- Sense of Place and Work in Nineteenth-Century Vermont
- The North Country Project: Oral History and Community Memory
- Mapping Historical Landscapes
- Looking for the Animal in the Animal-Embodiment of National/Regional Symbols
- Working the Land: Conservation, Management, and the Rural Landscape
As part of the event, Sterling facilitated a number of field workshops in the surrounding rural, agricultural community as well as an on-site local foods banquet, and a local music interlude. Additionally, Sterling College hosted an open house for thirty local and regional rural heritage, land use, and agricultural organizations, which included local foods purveyors.