This 12-week team-taught integrated practicum provides an introduction to essential livestock and vegetable production theories and skills used to produce food at Sterling College.

May 14 – August 10, 2018

Faculty: Jean-Martin Fortier, Tradd Cotter, Michael Phillips, David Asher and more…

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Lectures, hands-on learning experiences, and meaningful work combine to build skills and knowledge required to bring a systems-thinking approach to practical farming methods. The Sterling College Farm faculty along with leading practitioners in the field create a learning experience with both breadth and depth to challenge new farmers and growers to develop livestock, vegetable, and fruit and berry production systems that are ecologically resilient and profitable.

The Integrated Farming Practicum (IFP) immerses students in the daily rhythms and realities of farming within a supportive educational environment. Students gain practical skills, understand the daily demands of a farming lifestyle, and learn from some of the best practitioners in sustainable farming methods.  At the same time, they will enjoy an upbeat, integrated, expansive, and encouraging environment, as they gain practical experience and technical knowledge by working on Sterling’s Farm with a diverse mix of livestock and crops.  Participation in a weekly farm planning seminar supports synthesis and reflection throughout the program and acts as a planning lab where students implement key design features of interest for their own farm plan. IFP students will also receive training in the Sterling Farm power systems—draft horses, working steers, oxen, tractor, and other implements.  Students complete farm chores on a rotating schedule, in order to learn the daily workings of our inter-related meat and crop enterprises, and how they fit our landscape.

Integrated Farming Practicum Work and Technical Skills Intensives:

This includes an immersive training in Sterling’s farm systems, rotating chore schedule throughout the summer, as well as two weeks of structured application of concepts and skill-building work on the Sterling Farm, and a final mentored “Farm Takeover” week, where students test the skills that they have built, taking on farm decision making and work planning with their peers.  All students will gain skills in Integrated Crop, Livestock, and Land Management Systems, as well as completing a Tractor Safety course, and gaining an understanding of power systems on the farm.

Whole Farm Thinking: Integrated Farming Planning Seminar:

This weekly seminar allows students to provide input about management tasks and decisions for the week; supports synthesis and reflection throughout the program; and, acts as a planning lab where students implement key design features of interest for their own farm plan.  We will explore the interconnections between concepts covered in the rest of the program, as well as developing strength in systems thinking as a tool for planning and assessing farm system functionality.

Participation in these School of the New American Farmstead courses:

  • Holistic Forest Management
  • Concepts in Agroecology
  • Holistic Livestock Husbandry & Grazing
  • Market Gardening 2.o

PLUS two of the following electives:

  • Introduction to Draft Animals
  • Farming the Woods
  • Introduction to Blacksmithing
  • Ecological Orcharding
  • Mushrooms, Molds, & Mycorrhizae
  • The Art of Natural Cheesemaking
  • On-Farm Slaughter & Butchery
  • Vegetable Fermentation
  • Hide Tanning
  • Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance Seed School.

Integrated Farming Practicum Schedule

Courses labeled “CORE” in the schedule above are required classes.  Students will also be required to select two electives course, above labeled as “ELECTIVE COURSES.”

Title Course ID Credits Start Term Faculty
Holistic Forest Management AS270/CE220 3 IFP 2018 Rick Thomas, Jared Nunery, Steve Hagenbuch
Concepts in Agroecology IFP 2018 Charlotte Rosendahl, John Hayden, Jarrod Fowler & Ross Conrad
Holistic Livestock Husbandry & Grazing AS270/CE211 2 IFP 2018 Gwyneth Harris; Dr Hubert Karreman VMD
The Market Gardener 2.0 AS270/CE227 1 ceu Feb 2-3, 2018 Jean-Martin Fortier
The Art of Natural Cheesemaking AS270/CE223 2 ceu January 7-11, 2019 David Asher

Want to take your farming skills to the next level?

Learn more about out our BA Programs for Sustainable Agriculture or Sustainable Food Systems!

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