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The School for the New American Farmstead at Sterling College Announces Full Line of Workshops for Summer

The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College has announced its full lineup of workshops for the summer. These workshops are designed to prepare agrarians, agroecologists, landholders, and homesteaders at all stages to sustain the working landscape as well as themselves.

The vibrant working landscape of Vermont has been the inspiration for Sterling College’s curriculum for a half century. Sterling's sustainable agriculture and land management programs were among the first in the nation. The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College connects the College's mission of environmental stewardship education by linking ecological principles of land management with the entrepreneurial community-building spirit of today's artisan food movement.

The complete lineup of two-day workshops include:

  • “Beyond Invasive Species,” led by Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration. This workshop will inspire landscape managers, farmers, and land use planners to consider alternatives to chemical eradication, and design strategies for carefully leveraging the benefits of these plants. Dates are June 25-26, 2016.

  • “Fields, Forests, and Bird Habitats,” led by Steve Hagenbuch, a conservation biologist with Audubon Vermont’s Forest Bird Initiative. This workshop will teach farmers, landowners, and others to manage fields and forests in ways that conserve or create bird habitats. Dates are May 21-22, 2016.

  • “Growing Hops: Sustainable, Small-Scale Production for Home and Market,” led by Laura Ten Eyck and Dietrich Gehring, owners of Helderberg Hop Farm and Indian Ladder Farmstead Brewery and Cidery. Students in this workshop will gain hands-on experience in cultivation of hops and the design of hop yards for the Northeast. Dates are July 23-24, 2016.

  • “Herbs for Family Health,” led by Nancy Phillips, co-author of The Herbalist’s Way. Students will learn how to use plants to build health and treat common ailments. Herb collection and growing, as well as preparation of several herbal medicinal products, will be explored. Dates are July 21-22, 2016.

  • “Holistic Orcharding,” led by Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way. This workshop presents a whole system-based approach for producing nutritionally dense fruits and berries, with an emphasis on planning and managing a diverse orchard in an ecologically sound manner. Dates are June 29-30, 2016.

  • “Literally Hemp Bound,” led by Doug Fine, the author of Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution. Students in this workshop will learn the ins-and-outs of hemp growing and will participate in hands-on demonstrations in fiber making and building materials using hemp. Dates are May 28-29, 2016.

  • “Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycorrhizae: The Cultivation and Permaculture of Fungi,” led by Tradd Cotter, author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation for Everyone. Beginners and advanced students will gain the skills and knowledge needed to incorporate funghi into garden designs, cultivate and prepare medicinal mushrooms, and clean contaminated soils and polluted water through mycoremediation. Dates are May 14-15, 2016.

  • “Organic Beekeeping: Getting Started,” led by Ross Conrad, author of Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture. This workshop is for students interested in establishing a small scale or backyard beekeeping; it covers the fundamental topics and practices for organic beekeeping and includes an open hive demonstration. Dates are June 4-5, 2016.

The cost for most of the two-day workshops is $200, with an additional $50 to cover on-campus meals. “Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycorrhizae” is $250, with a meal charge of $50.

Additionally, there will be two one-day workshops offered by the Xerces Society:

  • “Pollinator Conservation” teaches students about the best management practices that minimize land-use impacts on pollinators, how to assess pollinator habitat, and how to increase and enhance pollinator diversity on the land. This workshop is on June 27, 2016 and costs $100, with an additional meal charge of $25.

  • “Farming with Beneficial Insects: Conservation Biological Control” will teach students to recognize and identify habitat needs and deficiencies for beneficial insects and how to design and implement  habitat improvements, including site preparation, insectary strip plantings, hedgerows, beetle banks, and more. This workshop is on June 28, 2016 and costs $45, with an additional meal charge of $25.

The School of the New American Farmstead programming is generously supported by Chelsea Green Publishing, an independent publishing company that works with authors who convey in-depth, practical knowledge about food, farming, ecology and community resilience—subjects at the heart of the Sterling College curriculum.

The announcement of the School of the New American Farmstead caps a remarkable time of innovation and growth at Sterling College. Under the leadership of President Matthew Derr, the College has launched the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems; inaugurated its continuing education program; made substantial progress on renewable energy; transformed its agricultural facilities; and set records for enrollment and fundraising.

To learn more about each workshop and to register, visit



Founded in 1958 in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, Sterling College is the leading voice in higher education for environmental stewardship. The College was among the first colleges in the United States to focus on sustainability through academic majors in Ecology, Environmental Humanities, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Food Systems, and Outdoor Education. Sterling College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is one of only seven federally recognized Work Colleges in the nation.