Sterling College is now accepting applications for a new online course on the art of food and environmental writing, with tuition-free fellowships funded by Penguin Random House and other donors. It’s the first offering in the College’s “Writing the Wrongs” program, a curriculum examining the ways that storytelling can advance or thwart efforts toward sustainability and justice.

Led by Joe Fassler, deputy editor for The Counter, this immersive, workshop-driven course will emphasize the way politics and power shape personal experience. Through engaged discussion of assigned readings, an array of guest speakers, and regular in-class feedback, students will strengthen their ability to craft compelling narratives at the intersection of food, environment, and equity—while making progress toward their personal career objectives. For information, and a link to apply:

Fassler, whose own award-winning writing highlights the often overlooked, sometimes surprising ways that environmental challenges and equity issues interrelate, is uniquely well-positioned to teach lifelong learners to:

craft compelling stories about vast, interconnected systems; balance human-level narratives with complex science and policy issues; interrogate popular narratives that mislead and obscure; and handle fraught topics with sensitivity and nuance.

This course begins on April 4th and runs for 8 weeks, with live, interactive webinars each week. Thanks to the generosity of multiple funders, including a Sterling family and Penguin Random House, Sterling is able to offer a Diverse Voices Fellowship that covers the full costs of course instruction and materials for the course. This fellowship is available to selected individuals who Identify as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color (BIPOC), or those with deep, enduring personal connections to systematically marginalized-yet-resilient communities, or who are military veterans. Application review begins on March 7th.

Through encounters with essential reading in key topic areas—and case studies of coverage that fell short—participants will deepen subject matter familiarity while learning to navigate each genre’s unique challenges. The workshop component will then put these lessons into practice, with opportunities for students to shepherd a specific piece of writing toward publication through a process of instructor feedback and peer critique. Students will also discuss professional considerations and pragmatic concerns with an array of guest speakers, include Dr. Cynthia Greenlee, James Beard Award-winning writer and senior editor of The Counter; Matt Klise, editor for Penguin Books; and Jenny Dorsey, a chef and writer who directs Studio ATAO, a community think tank advancing systems-based change in media and other industries.

Fassler, who is eager to guide a mixed cohort of writers and practitioners, has designed this course to serve both experienced writers who are new to the topic and folks with lived experience in food systems or environmental justice work who are new to writing. It will even provide challenges for established food/environmental authors looking to up-skill or hone their craft in different genres. Through this course, students will be better able to write about the present in a way that is responsive to the past, structure complex stories, and anchor stories about complex systems with dignified character sketches.

For more information on this workshop and other continuing ed offerings from Sterling, visit

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