Want to Start a New American Farmstead? There’s a School for That

Sterling College New American FarmsteadLaunching this summer, the Sterling College program will bring a star-studded group of experts to Vermont to focus on both the craft and the business of artisan food and agriculture.

Jes Scribner studied graphic design after high school, but couldn’t see herself pitching designs to businesses all day. After dropping out to work on a goat farm in Rhode Island, she realized that she wanted to start her own farm.

“I want to be my own boss,” says Scribner. She’s aware that she could have chosen a more lucrative degree, and she promises that the risks of farming aren’t lost on her. “The initial investment of farming scares me the most,” she says. “But it’s better than investing in the stock market.”

Before making an investment, Scribner enrolled in classes in agricultural entrepreneurship, food writing, dairy craft, and harvest preservation at Sterling College’s School of the New American Farmstead.

The new program, set to launch in the mountains of Vermont this summer, is designed to help students not only deepen their focus on artisan food and organic agriculture, but also turn them into viable businesses. While other programs focus on farming, like U.C. Santa Cruz’s intensive 6-month apprenticeship, or train aspiring entrepreneurs, like Oakland, California’s Food Craft Institute, the School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College will be one of the first to offer both.

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