The Sterling Farm is an inherent part of our 130 acre campus, and farm work is well integrated with academic study, the work program, and everyday community life. Students conduct research experiments on the farm, and gain hands-on experience growing crops, managing livestock, using the woodlot, and working with draft horses.
(Hand-managed gardens, tractor/horse cultivated crops, Edible Forest Garden, compost)
We work towards becoming a self-sufficient institution largely feeding itself. The Sterling Gardens are currently about 1 ½ acres of hand-managed garden beds and cultivated fields. In season, the Gardens provide most of the fresh produce consumed in the Dining Hall.
(Intensive, rotational grazing, hand milking, animal husbandry, compost)
We are one of the few educational farms set up to teach and practice intensive, rotational grazing.
(Sugaring, saw mill, sustainable woodlot management)
Our woodlot is a classroom for all of our areas of study and supplies us with wood for student projects and campus needs.
Draft Horse Management
(Live Power, care, driving)
Our horse team is trained to work with beginners and can handle multiple drivers. The horses are a common sight around campus and in the town of Craftsbury Common. There are many videos of the Sterling draft horses on our YouTube channel, including the short film Working With Horses
Overall, the Sterling Farm is focused on:
Educational Programming – To support courses in the Sustainable Agriculture major (Organic Vegetable Production, Agriculture Techniques, Exploring Alternative Agriculture, Soil Science, Whole Farm Planning, Farm Practicum, Permaculture Techniques).
Food Production – As an educational farm, we want to model what true farms must focus on – productivity. Our dining hall is our primary customer and students learn to work with the kitchen staff to fill orders in a timely manner and supply high quality produce. The model of an educational farm with clear production goals provides hands-on experience and a reliable supply of delicious local food.
Work Program and General Farm Experience for Sterling students – The farm serves as a job site for many students in the work program. All students work in the farm and gardens at some point during their Sterling College experience.