International Food Study Tour for Dietitians at Brunnenburg Castle
June 30 – July 7, 2019
Faculty: Philip Ackerman-Leist & Sharon Palmer
[UPDATE: this course has reached capacity, but please inquire to add your name to the waitlist]
Join Philip Ackerman-Leist, the Dean of the School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College, and Sharon Palmer, Nutrition Editor of Today’s Dietitian for an international study tour designed for a select group of dietitians to learn about the sustainable food systems in South Tirol region of the Italian Alps. Participants will be based at Brunnenburg Castle & Agricultural Museum in the village of Dorf Tirol, featuring an organically-managed working farm that illustrates creative, sustainable methods of agriculture that align with the preservation of the cultural foodways of the unique South Tirol region of the Italian Alps. The castle was also the home of the famous American poet Ezra Pound, and his descendants now manage the castle farm, agricultural museum, and international study center.
Learn firsthand about the region’s food culture, ancient and modern farming practices, and acclaimed cuisine at this 13th century castle and farm. Participants will work on the farm, prepare foods in the rustic teaching kitchen, sample local fare, and meet with local farmers, entrepreneurs, and artisans in the region. The region’s unique climate and geography bestow it with a rich food culture dating back through antiquity. It is here that the famous “Ötzi the Iceman” was discovered resting in a glacier, providing clues to the historic diet of the region in the Copper Age. The trip also includes a majestic hiking tour of the Dolomites, with an overnight stay in a family-run mountain guest lodge.
This study tour provides three Sterling College credits, which translates to forty-five (45) CPE units for registered dietitians.
The tour will be led by Philip Ackerman-Leist, Dean of the School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College, and author of A Precautionary Tale, a book chronicling one town’s internationally-acclaimed fight to protect the safety and integrity of their food heritage in South Tirol. Philip is immersed in the rich food history of this region, having led undergraduate and graduate study tours to Brunnenburg for the past three decades after farming there himself for three years. He will be joined by Sharon Palmer, RDN, MS in Sustainable Food Systems, the nutrition editor of Today’s Dietitian, and plant-based, sustainability food expert, author, and blogger, as a guide for the study tour. Philip and Sharon will be there to guide you through every aspect of this extraordinary experiential learning opportunity.
Tuition & Fees: $2800 | A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is due by May 22, 2019 in order to reserve a space on the study tour. The remaining balance of $2300 is due no later than June 7, 2019. The $500 deposit is refundable only if the study tour is cancelled due to low enrollment. We are hosting a webinar with more information about this course soon. Stay tuned! Sign up for webinar details here.
Spaces are limited on this tour to a maximum of 14 participants. The tour is open to dietitians only. However, if space is available, the tour may be opened up to participant guests, but this is not guaranteed. Registered participants will be notified of any additional available spaces for non-dietitians no later than June 8, 2019.
You will be furnished with a reading and study guide in order to delve into the food history and culture for this trip, as well as a preparation and packing guide.
Important Note: Participants must document personal international health coverage in order to participate in the program. Participants must be in moderate physical condition in order to participate in group activities that will involve some moderate hiking and elevation changes, as well as light work on the castle farm.
- All transportation during the tour, including group travel to and from the Munich airport is included. Important Flight Details: Participants must book flights that arrive at the Munich airport no later than 1 pm on June 30. Group transportation to the Munich airport on July 7 will depart no earlier than 8:00am on July 7, typically arriving at the Munich airport within 5 hours (ETA: 1pm, depending upon traffic). Return flights should be scheduled for no earlier than 3pm on July 7 or for the following day. Participants can also opt to be dropped off in Innsbruck.
- Tour guides for all aspects of the tour.
- Educational materials delivered prior to the tour.
- 7 days/nights stay at the Brunnenburg Castle farmhouse lodge. (Please note that the 17th century farmhouse lodge is rustic, with shared bedrooms, bathrooms and showers.)
- 1 night stay in a family-run mountain lodge in the Dolomites.
Food & Dining Details:
- All meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are included. (Two lunches will be on your own, as you tour local villages according to the itinerary.) Many meals will be hosted in a community setting, with all attendees cooking together in the charming Brunnenburg farm kitchen.
- Farm to table dinner at Brunnenburg Castle, featuring ingredients from the farm.
- “Ötzi the Iceman” dinner at Brunnenburg Castle, featuring historic, traditional, local foods and ingredients from the Copper Age.
- Guided hike of the Dolomites, visiting high-elevation mountain guesthouses and local artisans.
- Village farmers market tours.
- Local farm tours, including herb, grain, and seed saving farms.
- Tour of third-generation bakery.
- Tours and dinners in historic South Tyrolean villages.
- Tastings of Brunnenburg wines.
- Local foods cooking class.
- Educational class on the botany and herbs of South Tyrol.
- 2 half-days working on the farm, learning about sustainable, agricultural methods.
We will be offering two webinars about this course:
- Recorded webinar will be posted on April 24th (available to the public)
- 90-minute live webinar will be hosted at 7:00pm EST, Wednesday, May 1st (available only for those who have completed an application)
Sign up here to be notified when the webinars are available. If you have submitted an application, you will be notified via email. For those who cannot attend the live webinar, it will be posted on this page following the session.
Deposit Required to Secure Your Spot
In order to secure your spot on the study tour, you must register and finalize your deposit. Spots are filling up quickly, and confirmation of your participation is based upon your deposit. Due to the high level of demand, we are compiling a wait list for an additional offering of this study tour in the Fall 2019 (details to follow).
Philip Ackerman-Leist is a farmer, author, and educator with decades of experience and expertise in founding and in leading sustainable agriculture and food systems programs for undergraduate and graduate students.
As an educator, Philip is intrigued by innovative approaches in helping students and communities develop more complex understandings of sustainable agriculture, food systems, and social change. Having founded a 23 acre organic college farm and also the first online graduate program in food systems in the US, he is an advocate of hands-on experiential education and the best of what online education can offer — and revels in the tension between those two radically different approaches. As a farmer, he is particularly interested in grass-based agriculture and livestock conservation. As an author, he is driven by digging into cutting edge issues and revealing the complexities of their lessons for a broad audience.
Philip is the author of A Precautionary Tale, Rebuilding the Foodshed, and UpTunket Road, published by Chelsea Green Publishing. Most recently, he has served as Professor of Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems and Sustainable Food Solutions Initiative Director at Green Mountain College, where he was instrumental to that college’s sustainability initiatives.
Philip teaches in and leads Sterling’s continuing education program, The School of the New American Farmstead, with its leading-edge short courses that inspire lifelong environmental stewardship for residential and non-residential adult students of all ages.
He and his wife Erin live in Pawlett, Vermont on UpTunket Farm, where they manage a grass-based herd of approximately 30-60 rare breed cattle, American Milking Devons.
Sharon Palmer has created an award-winning career based on combining her two great loves: nutrition and writing. Sharon is an accomplished writer, editor, blogger, author, speaker, and media expert. In particular, her expertise is in plant-based nutrition, cooking, and sustainability. Sharon has authored over 950 articles in a variety of publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, Prevention, and LA Times. Her book The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today(The Experiment, July 2012) was a critical success, which was followed by her second book Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes in July 2014. In addition, she has contributed to several book chapters on nutrition and sustainability. Sharon serves as the nutrition editor for Today’s Dietitian and judge for the James Beard Journalism Awards, provides her expertise to many publications and organizations on an advisory basis, and speaks widely at conferences and in the media, including print, online, radio, podcasts, television, and film. And she still has time to blog every day for her popular online community (170K members strong and growing) at The Plant-Powered Dietitian. Sharon recently completed her Master’s Degree in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College in Vermont, where she currently works as an advisor. Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys tending to her own organic garden, visiting the local farmers market every week, and cooking for friends and family.