—Renowned visiting instructors include Sandor Katz, Temple Grandin, Ivan Larcher, David Asher, Pandora Thomas, Pascal Baudar, Jean-Martin Fortier, Olga Bravo, and Richard Miscovich—


Leaders of the sustainable agriculture and craft food production movements will be coming to Sterling College this summer as visiting instructors of the School of the New American Farmstead.

The School of the New American Farmstead has announced its summer continuing education offerings for aspiring agrarians and artisan food makers. Renowned instructors teaching some of these hands-on short courses include: internationally recognized animal scientist, researcher, and author Dr. Temple Grandin; New York Times bestselling author and “fermentation revivalist” Sandor Katz; Pandora Thomas, founder of the Black Permaculture Network; Jean-Martin Fortier, author and founder of Les Jardins de la Grelinette; Tradd Cotter, mycologist and founder of Mushroom Mountain; and Ivan Larcher, master cheese maker, cheese expert, and educator.

This is the second year of the visionary School of the New American Farmstead, the brainchild of President Matthew Derr. Under President Derr’s leadership, the College has launched the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems; made substantial progress on renewable energy; transformed its agricultural facilities; and set records for enrollment and fundraising.

“We are so excited to have celebrated instructors of this caliber teach at the School of the New American Farmstead,” said Nicole Civita, Assistant Director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at Sterling College. “These classes are remarkable opportunities for lifelong learners to immerse themselves in ecological farming and artisanal food production. The courses take a hands-on approach to transmitting time-honored skills in a way that is devoid of preciousness or nostalgia.”

She added, “These classes do more than just transmit skills and provide context—they also feed the body, challenge the mind, and move the spirit so that students emerge with confidence, inspiration, and new abilities.”

The School of the New American Farmstead’s popular courses in artisanal cheesemaking, small-batch beer brewing, fermentation, and charcuterie are available again this year; the class offerings have been expanded to include more innovative and in-depth farm offerings as well as traditional skills and crafts, such as market gardening, whole-wheat pastry, mushroom cultivation, and forest management.

Visiting instructors include:

  • David Asher, guerilla cheesemaker. Asher is the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking and teaches dairy craft that is ecological, DIY, and well suited to the home kitchen or artisanal production.
  • Pascal Baudar, professional forager, wild food instructor, culinary alchemist and author of The New Wildcrafted Cuisine. Over the years, he has introduced thousands of home cooks, local chefs, and others to the flavors offered by the wild terroir of their regions.
  • Olga Bravo, owner of Olga’s Cup and Saucer in Providence, RI as well as a full-time instructor at Johnson & Wales University in the Baking and Pastry department. She is a regarded practitioner of baking with whole grains.
  • Tradd Cotter, mycologist and founder of Mushroom Mountain. Cotter is a noted microbiologist and professional mycologist, who has cultivated mushrooms both commercially and experimentally for over twenty-two years. His primary interest is in low-tech and no-tech cultivation strategies so that anyone can grow mushrooms on just about anything, anywhere in the world.
  • Jean-Martin Fortier, the founder of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized ten-acre micro-farm in Québec, Canada. He has set out to demonstrate how diversified small-scale farms can produce a higher nutritional quality of food and more profitable farms. Fortier is the author of The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming.
  • Dr. Temple Grandin, animal scientist, researcher, and author. Her most recent book,  Temple Grandin’s Guide to Working with Farm Animals: Safe, Humane Livestock Handling Practices for the Small Farm, applies her groundbreaking approach to decoding animal behavior to small farms, identifying and addressing the special needs and challenges of these livestock operations. In 2010, Time Magazine listed her as one of its most Important People of the Year.
  • Jules Guillemette is the owner of Beau: Butchery & Bar in Montpelier, where they showcase Vermont products with an interactive and aesthetically rich experience. They worked with award-winning chefs in Seattle and Vermont, focusing on charcuterie and whole animal butchery.
  • Sandor Katz, self-styled “fermentation revivalist.” Katz is the James Beard award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Fermentation, The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved, and Wild Fermentation. Katz has taught fermentation at Sterling College since 2014.
  • Anders Kissmeyer, founder of the Danish craft brewery Nørrebro Bryghus. Kissmeyer brought the craft brewing revolution to Denmark and pioneered a range of beers with distinct Nordic accents. Kissmeyer first taught at Sterling College in 2016.  
  • Ivan Larcher, master cheese maker, cheese expert, and educator. Larcher lectures and provides technical advice to cheese makers world-wide. Larcher has been teaching at Sterling College since January of 2014, when the College and the Cellars at Jasper Hill launched the Artisan Cheese program designed to provide students the practical and scientific knowledge involved in creating small-scale artisan cheese.
  • Richard Miscovich, expert bread baker. Miscovich is the author of From the Wood-Fired Oven and the recipient of the Baking & Pastry Service Award in 2006 and 2009. He is an assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University.
  • Jan Paul, brewmaster at Svaneke Bryghus, one of the first micro-breweries in Denmark. Paul exclusively produces prize-winning, unfiltered beer in a facility that uses some of the most advanced environmental and energy-efficient technologies.
  • Pandora Thomas, founder of Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work expands the opportunities for sustainable living for diverse communities. She also co-founded the Black Permaculture Network, which provides educational and leadership opportunities for people currently underrepresented in the field of sustainability.

The duration of these short courses range from two days to two weeks, with most lasting five days—the perfect amount of time for an immersive escape from the daily grind, or even a short learning vacation.

The School of the New American Farmstead is a program of Sterling College’s Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems. In 2013, the Sterling College Board of Trustees named its Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems program in honor of Rian Fried, in recognition of his lifetime commitment to environmental and social justice, and for his vision for Sterling College and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Fried, co-founder of the asset management company Clean Yield Group, Inc., was a pioneer in the field of socially responsible investing and a champion of investment in the development of healthy local food systems.

The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is generously underwritten by two great Vermont businesses: Chelsea Green Publishing, the preeminent publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, and Vermont Creamery, an award winning creamery offering fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter, and créme fraîche that combine the European tradition of cheesemaking with Vermont’s terroir. Both Chelsea Green and Vermont Creamery are partner businesses that share a deep commitment to the environmental stewardship mission of Sterling College.

Additional new courses are being added throughout the next few weeks. Online registration is now open, but spaces are limited. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Academic credit is available for all courses. For more information on individual courses and to register, visit www.sterlingcollege.edu/snaf.



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