With your help we can make this program a reality
The Berry Center and Sterling College are undertaking an ambitious collaborative effort to raise the funds necessary to launch and sustain the Wendell Berry Farming Program. We need these resources to revive farm economies, good land use, and vitality for rural America. We believe that a new agrarian educational model, one that is both practical and visionary, is essential at this critical time.
“ [I]f improvement is going to begin anywhere, it will have to begin out in the country and in the country towns. This is not because of any intrinsic virtue that can be ascribed to rural people, but because of their circumstances. Rural people are living, and have lived for a long time, at the site of the trouble.” —Wendell Berry, “The Work of Local Culture”
Fiscal Years 2018-2020
The Berry Center and Sterling College, as partnering organizations, will ensure that existing operations and programs are not compromised as a result of the launch of the Wendell Berry Farming Program. The start-up costs include pilot educational programs for students, academic and administrative leadership in outreach and curricular design, travel, and promotion of the program to raise the funds to secure the program in perpetuity.
The urgency of the challenges facing rural America and the crisis in farming requires that we prepare students to farm and to establish them in rural communities and on land. To do so, we first have to break the crippling effect of student loan debt on aspiring farmers.
Tuition Free: The Working Fund, held by Sterling College, will be restricted to sustain a tuition-free and student debt-free program of study for fifty students in perpetuity. Students would remain responsible to pay for room and board through work program wages and family support. The endowment goal represents approximately $600,000 per student. Based on the College’s investment policies, the annual fund income draw would provide approximately $30,000 per student.
Access to Capital: Our Working Fund assets will also be used to close the loop, to facilitate moving graduates who have successfully completed a “whole farm” planning curriculum to have access to low interest loans in collaboration with partner financial institutions to begin farming and building strong rural communities.
For more information on making a contribution, please contact: