Tag Archives: farm school

High school students explore the world of farming, food at UMass

By Diane Lederman | dlederman@repub.com 
The Republican – August 04, 2015
AMHERST – In recent years, the University of Massachusetts has offered a number of summer programs, but until this year a program in sustainable agriculture was missing.

Ten students from around the country came to campus to the one-week program the last week of July. Their only regret was it wasn’t two weeks long.

UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture instructor Sarah Berquist taught the program on sustainability and food systems.

She said the summer is perfect for a program like this because “harvest is abundant.” And she said the program “is a great opportunity to spread the word about our great program.”

Students learned how the food system in the country operates. They worked with on the UMass student farm in South Deerfield and got the chance to talk to the student farmers.

They worked in the Food for All Garden at UMass, a garden that provides organic produce to places such as the Amherst Survival Center and Not Bread Alone soup kitchen.

On the last day, they were learning about permaculture with a tour of the five-year-old Franklin Dining Commons garden.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Stone came from New York City already aware about poverty and the struggles for food seeing the myriad homeless in the streets.

She is interested in “revitalizing poor communities through urban farms.”

She was learning more about the farm bill and farm systems and the agricultural industry.

UMass permaculture garden manager at UMass talks to students taking part in a one-week campus program.

“I hadn’t studied permaculture.

“I want to bring those techniques back,” she said.

Brett Koslowsky, 17, from Cambridge was also enjoying the “overview, the states of a different areas.”

She too is interested in agriculture and is a member of the Belmont High School’s Garden and Food Justice Club. She attends that school.

Both said they might be interested in coming to the UMass sustainable agricultural program now that they know about.

Jenna Carellini, 18, of Fishkill New York, wants to study nutrition and took a nutrition program last year but that was in the lab.

She wanted “a hands on approach” and was enjoying that with the week.

Berquist said they capped the program at 10 and had a few more applicants than spaces. She said they’d like to bring it back next summer and perhaps extend it and open it up to more people.

“Their passion for the topic is incredible,” she said of her students. She was impressed “to see people (their age) with that much interest and knowledge.”

She said they want to be “ambassadors for change.”

Original Post

Special Opportunity for Sustaianble Food and Farming Majors

This opportunity is being offered only to Sustainable Food and Farming majors in the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture. 


In a special arrangement with the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, The Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts, is offering students the opportunity to attend its year–long Learn to Farm training program while receiving college credit.

harvestNow in its 13th year, the Learn to Farm program is a licensed, full time, 5 day/week, live-in, tuition-based training program that packs a tremendous amount of experience into a year and turns out graduates who go on to farm successfully.

Forestry, animal husbandry, carpentry, mechanics, business planning, marketing and organic vegetable production are among the practical skills that are introduced and then practiced over all four seasons in the context of a commercial operation that includes a working forest, a 200 member vegetable CSA and a 50 member meat CSA.


farmschoolUnder this special arrangement, The Farm School will provide scholarship assistance so that each accepted student will pay no more than what he or she currently pays for tuition + room + board at UMass while receiving 12 credits for each of the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters from UMass.  If you are interested, first check with John Gerber to make sure you can fulfill the minimum requirements for the Sustainable Food and Farming major with this plan.  You must continue to be enrolled in UMass to take advantage of this opportunity.

Credits may be earned as:

Fall Semester

  • STOCKSCH 498 E – Student Farming Enterprise (6 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 396 – Independent Study (6 credits)

Spring Semester

  • STOCKSCH 398 E – Student Farming Enterprise (6 credits)
  • STOCKSCH 496 – Independent Study (6 credits)

Amanda Brown will supervise the Student Farming Enterprise class and John Gerber will supervise the Independent Study.


Please visit The Farm School for a detailed program description and stories from some of its over 100 graduates.  And feel free to contact Patrick Connors at The Farm School with questions about the program.

If interested, you must apply directly to The Farm School online.  You will remain enrolled as a full time UMass student during the fall and spring semesters but your classes will all be part of your Farm School experience.  Please note that you should list at least one UMass faculty member or instructor as a reference. Rolling admissions will be capped at 5 accepted students.

If you are interested, please apply soon!