The Wendell Berry Farming Program is up and running again after a two-year hiatus, precipitated by the unexpected closing in 2016 of St. Catharine College in Springfield, where the program was based. This time, however, the program’s home will stay in Henry County, even if it’s new collegiate partner is at Sterling College in Vermont.
“My mother (Tanya Berry) always said the Berry Farming program should be in Henry County,” said Mary Berry, the director of the Berry Center in New Castle, which is devoted to her father Wendell’s agricultural and literary legacy, and oversees the farming program. “I agreed but I didn’t want to start a school myself. My mother always turns out to be right.”
After St. Catharine’s closed, Mary Berry looked at schools all around the country where the farming program could be housed. Then she was contacted by Sterling College President Matthew Derr.
Sterling College is a small school in Craftsury Common, Vt., that describes itself as an environmental college dedicated to stewardship and sustainability. Majors include ecology, environmental humanities and sustainable agriculture. Derr pitched the idea of a partnership in which a college already teaching many of the principles of Wendell Berry could work in his backyard.
Sterling is also, like Berea College and Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, one of eight federally recognized work colleges, which emphasize work and service as part of their education.
Read all of "‘A guiding light.’ Why Vermont students are farming in Wendell Berry’s backyard" by Linda Blackford at The Lexington Herald-Leader.