Passion and dedication for real food and food justice, preserving and expanding the draft animal tradition in the US and abroad, and the hands-on education of students led Elsa inexorably to one place– Sterling College.
Elsa graduated from the Air Force Academy with a BS in Humanities in 2005, and went on to serve for five years as an Intelligence Officer in the Air Force. Traveling across the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, Elsa saw that there was an urgent need for better access to agricultural information and education for people both in the US and around the world in order to improve their lives, the lives of the animals they cared for, and to reduce human impacts on the planet. This knowledge and passion led her to leave the military and complete her degree in veterinary medicine.
As a veterinarian, Elsa specialized in farm animal medicine hoping to provide that access to education, improve human and animal welfare, and contribute to sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices. However, her time working on large, commercial operations made her question the efficacy, sustainability, and morality of our industrial agricultural system. She decided to step away from veterinary medicine in order to contribute to the education of the next generation seeking a different way forward in food and agriculture.
Elsa believes that farming with horses and oxen and a return small scale farming in general will be critical components of our sustainable agricultural future, and is an engaged and vocal advocate for the employment and advancement of small scale farming using draft animal power both in the US and abroad. Whether she is working with a group of farmers in Burkina Faso, West Africa on school breaks or teaching a first year student how to harness a horse in Sterling’s Alfond Barn in Vermont, Elsa loves to share her passion and knowledge about these incredible animals and the techniques and applications that will play a critical role in meeting the food and climate challenges that will be faced by all citizens of our planet in the years to come.
|B.S. in Humanities||United States Air Force Academy|
|Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)||St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine|
|"Oxen Training, health and equipment", Elsa Kanner-Acerbo, 2016. An in-country training of farmers interested in draft animal power in Burkina Faso, West Africa.|
|"Long Term Treatment of Equine Sarcoid in a Mare”, Elsa Kanner-Acerbo, 2014. Cornell University Senior Seminar Archives.|
|”Review of immunological responses to porcine coronaviruses and implications on population based control strategies in epidemic and endemic infections”, Elsa Kanner-Acerbo and James Lowe, 2016. World Journal of Immunology, March 2016. [doi: 10.5411/wji.v6.i1.60]|
Interests:Running, reading, picking on the banjo, and outrageous adventures with my husband and son
Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society, 2014
Co-led a USAID-funded collaboration to develop a class series focused on conservation agriculture and animal handling in Burkina Faso (West Africa). Led a 2-week pilot session in person (Winter 2016), and advised on curriculum for a second session.
Air Force Officer, 2005–2010. Chief of Intelligence for the 41st Airlift Squadron, managed personnel in support of intelligence mission, and kept C-130 pilots safe on missions while deployed to Iraq, Qatar, and Afghanistan.
Adjunct Professor, Unity College, ME, 2018-2019. Taught courses in sustainability science and humanities, touching on agricultural, social, and climate themes.
Three Books You Recommend?
All Creatures Great and Small, James Herriot
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho