Soil, Plants, Microbes III

This class levels its focus on the microbial world in soils and how it relates to plant productivity through research projects and hands-on discovery exercises. A deep understanding will be developed of how microbial life controls nutrient cycles in the ecosystem and how microbial community structure influences the productivity of other organisms in the environment. Students will become very comfortable with sample collection and processing, microscopic techniques, cultural, physiological and immunological methods and nucleic acid-based analysis used to study the microbial world that surrounds us. By taking this class students will develop skills to design research projects and increase their understanding of the use of statistical methods.

This class does not satisfy the 400-level seminar course requirement.

Log-Building Techniques

Develop the skills and knowledge for designing and building small structures with round logs using hand tools. Felling axes, broad axes, cross-cut saws, peaveys, adzes and chisels will be utilized for peeling, hewing, and notching of logs. Homework includes reading, diagram and design projects, and hands-on skills practice. Class sessions are mostly outdoor work sessions but also will include a short field trip, slide shows, and theoretical explanations. Group projects this semester will focus on hiking trail structures such as water bars, puncheons, side-hill cribbing and larger span bridges.

Introduction to Race

An interdisciplinary introduction to the issue of race in life and society in the United States. We will examine the historical development of race and the ways that race structures our social worlds and intimate lives. Through the context of race, we will focus on the ways power is organized and distributed. Assignments include readings, group discussion, reflection papers, and a race memoir. This course is designed to integrate academic interests and personal lives through exploration of life experiences that we will build upon and challenge.

Creative Writing: Poetry

Creative Writing: Poetry is an immersive exploration in reading, writing, and responding to poems of all kinds — from haiku to villanelle and sonnet to shi — with a focus on writing a substantial body of work by the end of the semester. The course will emphasize writing, revising, workshopping, and assembling manuscripts of finished work. Students should expect to write poetry every day and read from a broad array of poetry from different time periods, literary traditions, and cultural contexts.

Spirituality of Place

This experiential course examines the importance of landscape and place in the works of some contemporary spiritual and nature writers. We consider spirituality of place in Western, Eastern, and indigenous traditions, paying particular attention to concepts of pilgrimage. Assignments include readings, group discussions, response papers, and a final assignment. This course will spend significant time exploring sacred spaces in the natural world.

Forest Ecology & Management

This course explores the science of forest ecology, the human dimensions of forest management, and the interplay between ecology and management in Vermont and across the globe. We will start with the subject of forest ecology, including topics such as biophysical controls on forest communities, forest development and succession, dendrochronology (also known as tree-ring dating), and field data collection and interpretation. As we consider the use of forest resources, we will cover topics such as historical and current approaches to forest management planning and implementation, inventory tools such as silviculture, diverse harvesting methods, and both local and global forest economies. We will explore these topics in a variety of natural communities and at a variety processing locations such as log landings and sawmills. Given that private forestland owners play a key role in management decisions regarding forests, we will work directly with local landowners to better understand the forest management process.

Empowered Bread, Pies & Pastries

Empowered Bread, Pies & Pastries

May 27-31, 2019

Faculty: Tara Jensen

 

Empowered Bread, Pies and Pastries is a playful look at baking as art, art as nourishment, and the role of community in both. We will explore place setting through the construction of a table that will become the centerpiece for a shared meal at the end of the course. Participants will work independently over the week on a bread, pie or pastry for the event, as well as choose a stenciled, collage or stamp element to bring to the table.

Contextualizing our food is how we fight back against industrial food systems that strip our food of meaning and history. We will take a look at one of our country’s oldest efforts to connect protest, art and bread: Bread & Puppet Theater. Thursday afternoon we will take a field trip to Glover, VT to see the museum at Bread & Puppet and speak with members of the company, as well as visit the Museum of Everyday Life, also in Glover.

The baking portion of our time will be devoted to three different sourdough breads, a sourdough pie crust, and a rustic puff pastry. Participants will become comfortable baking sourdough bread from scratch by hand, feel confident making an excellent pie crust, and achieve a delicate puff pastry made by hand with ease. Basic food science, wheat anatomy, flour choice and quality, and home milling will be covered. We will also work with bakers percentages and temperatures to create our own formulas from scratch.

Participants will create a sourdough starter from scratch and tend to it throughout the week. Together we will track our starters and observe the differences day to day. Adding starter to other baked goods to enhance flavor and texture will be covered in our pie crust and puff pastry. Naturally leavened baking as a way of life will be discussed within the larger context of slow food, social justice and ecological living.

 


Course Details

Level:  200 / Beginner to Intermediate

Prerequisites:  It is helpful for students to have some basic knowledge of sourdough and how it works along with the basics of pastry lamination. Practicing a loaf of bread, a pie crust and a puff pastry dough prior to attending is recommended, but not necessary.

Tuition & Fees:  $1000 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and three meals daily from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Not included are airport transfers or housing accommodations.

Housing Availability & Fees: Housing availability is limited for this course and room requests will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. On-campus housing is $60 per night for a room with a private bath, and $50 per night for a room with a shared bath. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic/vintage/farmhouse style accommodations that are clean and safe but not luxurious. If you prefer to stay off-campus please see our accommodations page for local recommendations.

 

 

Please email us if you have any questions about this course or others:  newamericanfarmstead@sterlingcollege.edu


Tara Jensen runs the mobile, wood fired baking school, Smoke Signals. Jensen has been teaching sourdough bread, pastries and pies for over four years. Her book, A Baker’s Year, was hailed by Bon Appetit as a “stand out publication” on life and baking. Known on Instagram as @bakerhands, Jensen posts daily to over 100k baking enthusiasts. Prior to baking full time, Jensen created installation art dealing with gender, pop culture and wild spaces. Her last show, Lucky Fruit, took place in Tokyo in 2006. She recently moved to Southwestern Virginia and is renovating a house with her husband and two dogs.

(Portrait by: Ilana Freddye)


Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves.  Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice.

Natural Cheesemaking: Raw Milk Cheeses

Raw Milk Cheeses

May 6-10, 2019

Faculty: David Asher

Register Now

 

“Natural Cheesemaking: Raw Milk Cheeses” offers a detailed, hands-on study of milk and how to safely create value-added, delicious, artisan cheese products in the home kitchen.

From culture propagation to rennet coagulation and on to affinage, this comprehensive and hands on course covers nearly all aspects and styles of farmhouse cheesemaking. Five days of learning allows students to prepare many styles of cheese and observe the stages of their evolution, providing insight into how many cheeses can evolve from the very same milk, with the same culture, and the same rennet.

The course will focus on natural methods and a full circle approach to home and micro-scale cheesemaking. Class begins with a session on dairy fermentation, covering kefir, creme fraiche, cultured butter, yogurt, clabber, and quark. Next, we will explore fresh lactic cheeses such as cream cheese, chèvre, and geotrichum-candidum ripened lactic cheeses, including Crottin, Valencay and Saint Marcellin. We’ll deepen our study by looking at rennet cheeses: One morning, we’ll prepare a basic curd that can become many different styles of cheese. By the afternoon, the curd’s acidity will have developed, enabling us to stretch the cheese into mozzarella, burratta, and other pasta filata cheeses. We will then investigate blue cheeses and explore the different rind ecologies, including the white fungus of Camembert and the orange rinds of Limburger. Last, we make an Alpine Cheese and a Cheddar; with their leftover whey we prepare a batch of fresh, warm Ricotta. “Natural Cheesemaking: Raw Milk Cheeses” offers a well-rounded understanding of the opportunities available to safely and deliciously create value-added dairy products ecologically and without reliance on manufactured cultures.

 

 


Course Details

Level:  200 / Beginner to Intermediate

Prerequisites:  None

Tuition & Fees:  $1300 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and three meals daily from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Not included are airport transfers or housing accommodations.

Housing Availability & Fees: Housing availability is limited for this course and room requests will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. On-campus housing is $60 per night for a room with a private bath, and $50 per night for a room with a shared bath. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic/vintage/farmhouse style accommodations that are clean and safe but not luxurious. If you prefer to stay off-campus please see our accommodations page for local recommendations.

Register Now

 

Please email us if you have any questions about this course or others:  newamericanfarmstead@sterlingcollege.edu


David Asher is an organic farmer, farmstead cheese maker, and cheese educator based on the gulf islands of British Columbia, Canada. A guerrilla cheesemaker, David does not make cheese according to standard industrial philosophies—he explores traditionally cultured, non-corporate methods of cheesemaking. David offers cheese outreach to communities near and far with the Black Sheep

School of Cheesemaking. Through workshops in partnership with food-sovereignty-minded organizations, he shares his distinct cheesemaking style. His courses teach a cheesemaking method that is natural, DIY, and well suited to the home kitchen or artisanal production. He is the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking (Chelsea Green Publications).


Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves.  Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice.

Strategies for Social & Environmental Justice: Insights from India

Strategies for

Social & Environmental Justice:

Insights from India

A workshop with Vandana Shiva & Neha Singh

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

Sponsored by the School of the New American Farmstead

 

Register Now

 

Join us for an all-day workshop with the founder of Navdanya and the woman behind India’s seed saving movement and shift towards ecological agriculture. The day will feature a mix of presentations, dialog, reflection, tea, and vegetarian fare.

Discussion topics include:

  • The Cultural and Religious Roots of Social & Environmental Activism in India
  • A History of Navdanya International
  • Melding Service and Science: Navdanya’s Approach to Conserving & Sharing Biodiversity
  • Dialogue on Strategies for Success in Local and Global Justice Initiatives with Dr. Vandana Shiva & Neha Singh
  • Crafting a Collaborative Future: Reflections from Navdanya & Sterling Representatives

 

Course fee: $25-$100, sliding scale

 

Schedule for the day:

8am   Registration & Organic Tea with Light Delights from India

9:00   Welcome

9:15   The Cultural and Religious Roots of Social & Environmental Activism in India (Dr.Vandana Shiva) (15-minute Q&A)

10:45   Break with Indian Refreshments

11:00   A History of Navdanya International (Dr. Vandana Shiva & Neha Singh)

12pm   Lunch: Vegetarian Indian Fare

1:00   Melding Service and Science: Navdanya’s Approach to Conserving & Sharing Biodiversity (Dr. Vandana Shiva & Neha Singh)

2:00   Dialogue on Strategies for Success in Local and Global Justice Initiatives with Dr. Vandana Shiva & Neha Singh (Moderated)

3:00   Tea & Reflection

3:30   Crafting a Collaborative Future: Reflections from Navdanya & Sterling Representatives

 

Tickets include complimentary vegetarian Indian cuisine prepared by the Sterling Dining Hall, recognized as the healthiest college dining hall in the United States by Bon Appetit magazine.

Note: This event will take place in a large tent, so please dress for comfort based on outdoor temperatures.

 

Register Now

 


 

Photo of Vandana Shiva standing in golden light in a wheat field

Bio: An icon worldwide for the ecological revolution and a leader of the alter-globalization movement, Vandana Shiva has made teaching by example the basis of her work. Walking the back roads of India alone in the late 1980s in search of traditional seeds threatened by industrial agriculture, she returned leading a procession

of 500,000 demonstrators – farmers and activists – and with a network of 120 seed banks in place. Her initiatives have borne fruit on five continents and her legal proceedings against multinational corporations have earned her numerous awards, including the Right Livelihood Award – known as the “alternative Nobel prize”. Wrapped in her timeless sari of artisanal cotton, she calls upon each of us to become that “little nobody” who can reverse current trends.

Senior Year Research Project II (WBFP)

Senior Year Research Project II

A continuation of Senior Year Research Project I, Senior Year Research Project II enables students to continue work on the project. Students in SYRP II typically work on finishing research, data analysis, synthesis of information, and/or production. In addition, students create a tangible product as well as a professional presentation or workshop for the public. The product will vary according to the focus and intention of the research project. The presentation can range from a talk for the community, a workshop for a related class or an outside audience, or a professional conference. Project outcomes can range from business plans to nonfiction narratives to artwork to a proposed curriculum to a scientific research paper. In all cases, the projects are meant to be publically accessible and be consistent with Sterling College’s focus on experiential learning and meaningful, relevant learning outcomes. Students set learning goals and assessment criteria, which will be evaluated over the course of the semester.

Senior Year Research Project I (WBFP)

Senior Year Research Project I

Senior Year Research Project I is the first in a two-course sequence that gives students the opportunity to pursue a particular question in significant depth and explore an area of interest that complements their major and their personal strengths. Students in SYRP I typically work on data collection, observation, research, analysis, project development and planning, experience, discovery and exploration, and/or creation. The project may have an applied component, but this is not required. Students work one-on-one with an SYRP advisor and the support of a second reader throughout the process. Students set learning goals and assessment criteria, which will be evaluated over the course of the semester.

Whole Farm Planning (WBFP)

Whole Farm Planning

This course will expose students to the complexity of whole farm planning by combining business planning and management with policy and ecology in development of farm models that support health of the land and business owners. Students will be expected to draw heavily on the technical and theoretical expertise they have accumulated through course work and internships. A major portion of the course will require completion of a project conducted in partnership with an existing farm or agriculturally based business. Grading will be based on significant class participation, written assignments and completion of major project conducted in support of an existing business.