The economic value of pollinator-dependent crops is estimated to be between $18 billion and $27 billion annually in the United States alone. The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is offering a pollinators course: “Pollinators, Beekeeping, and Products From the Hive” for farmers, hobbyists, and landowners with interests in pollinator conservation and beekeeping.

This five-day pollinators course, held May 30-June 3, 2017, is designed for students to learn the context and skills to support beneficial insects and native pollinators, as well as to cultivate happy, healthy, and productive honeybees. The course will also cover how to partner with your bees, add value to their products, and create additional bee-related revenue streams.

“Bees are so fascinating [that] the more I learn, the more I want to know,” says instructor Ross Conrad. “Beekeeping is a wonderful way to give back to the world and help make it a better place, while at the same time receiving many incredible gifts.”

Conrad is the author of Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture (second edition, Chelsea Green, 2013) and a former president of the Vermont Beekeeper’s Association. His human-scale beekeeping business Dancing Bee Gardens supplies friends and neighbors with honey and other bee-related products.

Co-instructor Jarrod Fowler is the Xerces Society Pollinator and Conservation Biocontrol Specialist for the Northeast region. Fowler leads the Xerces Society’s extensive pollinator habitat restoration efforts with fruit and vegetable growers throughout New England.

Guest speakers for the class include John Hayden from The Farm Between, to talk about biodiversity of pollinator habitat; and Toby Alexander from the Vermont Natural Resources Conservation Department, to discuss USDA programs and practices for insect conservation.

The class is being offered at Sterling College as part of the School of the New American Farmstead, its continuing education program that provides a variety of classes and workshops for aspiring agrarians, artisan food enthusiasts, and environmental stewards. These hands-on short courses in small-scale food production and sustainable farming offer one-on-one mentorship, inspiration, skills, and new perspectives that will feed the body, the mind, and the spirit.

This is the second year of the visionary School of the New American Farmstead, the creation 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.

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.

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 this course and to register, visit



Filed Under: Newsroom School of the New American Farmstead