Sterling has been granted a fantastic opportunity to be the stewards of The Farm Between in Jeffersonville, Vermont, just over thirty miles from Craftsbury on the west side of the Green Mountains. The farm is in perennial production and encompasses multiple small orchards with polycultures of fruits and berries, a large flower meadow, 5 hoop houses, and a historic house and barn. This possibility was granted to the College thanks to Sterling trustee Margo Baldwin who closed on the purchase of the farm October 1. Margo, as the President of Chelsea Green Publishing, has worked closely with the previous owners, John and Nancy Hayden, in publishing the book Farming on the Wild Side and has a personal appreciation for the work invested in the land by the Haydens for 28 years. The Haydens are natural teachers who share Sterling’s passion for ecological thinking and action; thus, John and Nancy were excited to learn that the College will carry on stewarding both the land and their vision. To do this work, Sarah Skelding is the onsite farm manager and Charlotte Rosendahl is the faculty responsible for both management of the farm and integration into the Sterling curriculum and community.
Sterling will continue to manage the site as a production farm and nursery where students play a critical role in all aspects of the farm enterprise. This will be complimented by the site’s role as a learning laboratory for students interested in perennial systems, agrobiodiversity, integrated beneficial insect and bird habitat, marketing, and value added food production. In addition to being a field site for students majoring in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, The Farm Between will host courses such as Ice Climbing, Field Ecology, Geology, Watersheds, and Landscape, Food, and Culture. This Spring, Ice Climbing and Adaptive Recreation, Agroforestry and Value Added Food Production. Students will live in the historic house and participate in the Work Program on the farm. The Farm Between will provide students with increased access to Mount Mansfield, the Lamoille River, and other sites in the Green Mountains as well as more urban-oriented study opportunities by its proximity to Burlington.
As a mature perennial production system with integrated, intentional beneficial insect and bird habitats, The Farm Between perfectly complements the Sterling Farm in Craftsbury and Brown Farm in Kentucky, home to the Wendell Berry Farming Program in partnership with The Berry Center. As complementary units, the Sterling Farm will continue to focus on annual and heritage vegetable production, small grain growing, small-scale, pasture-based animal husbandry and draft power systems, and continued production for the Sterling kitchen. The Brown Farm provides a third land unit, one that focuses on more extensive livestock pasturing and draft animal systems, and producer-cooperative models. Together, these three units comprise a powerful trio spanning several possibilities for ecological farming and food production systems, and associated agroecological and community economy opportunities in the eastern United States. We look forward to welcoming visitors to The Farm Between under less strict COVID rules in the latter part of 2021.