The program includes an integrated mix of class time, instructional field time, field trips, and just plain work. Specific components are as follows:
Morning Work Sessions and Chores — Most mornings will start with chores and farm work from 7am-10am and will focus on managing the various elements of the farm. This will include milking, managing animals, and plenty of vegetable work. Students will also take a share of evening chores, thereby getting a feel for the daily rythms of the farm.
Instructional Field Time — Four days a week from 10 until 12 will be set aside for instructional field time. This will include agricultural activities directly pertaining to coursework such as harvesting and processing vegetables, haying, and fence construction as well as data collection and individualized research activities.
Daily Class Sessions — Class will be held Monday to Thursday from 1:30pm until 3:30pm in the afternoon. Content will include lecture and discussion, a weekly assessment tour of the farm, and presentations by students and outside presenters.
Fridays in the Food System — Fridays will feature extensive time with farmers, food processors, food banks, and other players in the food system. One of the great advantages of studying sustainable agriculture in the summer is the ability to visit a diversity of farms at the height of the growing season as well as all the great farmers' markets and food processors those farmers supply. We will spend time on many successful and innovative farms including Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, VT and Essex Farm in Essex, NY.
Reading/Writing/Field-Collection/Data Collection — Students will be expected to keep a binder of farm records, course notes, observations and reflections. Among other things, the binder will contain:
Records on planting, germination, yield, and management for a subset of the farm’s crops
Observational field assignments including weed and insect collections
Recorded observations from the weekly farm walks
Three-Day Field Trip to Agricultural Hot Spots — In Term 2, we will take an exciting three-day field trip to several hot spots of sustainable agriculture. During this trip, we will visit the following:
Hardwick, VT, subject of the new book, The Town That Food Saved, including Pete’s Greens, High Mowing Seeds, and Sterling College.
Vermont Compost in Montpelier, VT.
The Intervale in Burlington, VT.
Essex Farm in Essex, NY