Sterling College’s School of the New American Farmstead Launches Four Professional Certificate Programs 

Wine, Cheese, Sustainable Food, and Farm & Garden Management All On The Menu for Professionals and Individuals; Credits for Dietitians Offered

CRAFTSBURY COMMON, Vt.––March 10, 2020— A cheese cave, a castle vineyard, a hotel on the Point Reyes National Seashore, a Vermont farm––these are among the classrooms where the School of the New American Farmstead of Sterling College now offers intensive, hands-on courses for food professionals seeking certificate-level programs, as well as for food lovers seeking to expand their knowledge and appreciation.

The professional certificate programs build on the School of the New American Farmstead’s five-year history of providing nationally-acclaimed, week-long intensives focused on traditions and trends in food, farming and craft. Professional certificates will be offered in Artisan Cheesemaking, Organic Wine and Spirits Production, Sustainable Food Craft, and Educational Farm and Garden Management. In addition, Sterling’s Professional Studies program is also offering  targeted, for-credit international study tours for registered dietitians.

“This educational pathway is critical to meeting the needs of working professionals while answering to industry demands,” said Philip Ackerman-Leist, Dean of Professional Education at Sterling College. “We connect learners with the local, national and international experts in their field, ensuring that time and money are well invested. In addition, fellow students become colleagues, and this collection of colleagues blossoms into new professional networks.”

The Artisan Cheesemaking Certificate program is offered in collaboration with Academie MonS, one of the premier cheese producers and retailers in Europe. The courses take students from soil to cave to plate, demonstrating how the best cheeses in the world are made, and opening up the world of possibilities for new artisan cheeses that are yet to be developed. Courses offered include basic cheesemaking, affinage, cheesemonger essentials, a manager’s toolkit and others. The professional certificate is designed to serve the needs of cheesemakers, cheesemongers, distributors, retailers and educators.

“Organic” is a documented market trend in both wine and spirits productions, but  learning how to manage the full cycle of pesticide-free farming, harvesting, fermentation and distillation requires the mentorship of proven cutting-edge producers. The Organic Wine & Spirits Production professional certificate course includes a three-week intensive in northern Italy at Brunnenburg Castle &  Agricultural Museum. Built in the 13th century, the site offers historical context for the modern practices in fruit production and preservation (grapes and tree fruits), melding tradition with innovation. The on-site program will be augmented by a series of interactive webinars and online materials, and is of value to vintners, vineyard and orchard managers, sommeliers, beverage distributors and agritourism professionals.

Those seeking a certificate in Sustainable Food Craft can choose courses taught by experts like fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz, guerilla cheesemaker David Asher, baker Richard Miscovich and more. The professional certificate is aimed at chefs, bakers, specialty food producers, educators and advocates, food retailers and farm-to-table entrepreneurs.

Blending expert instruction with peer-to-peer dialogue and inquiry, the Educational Farm & Garden Management professional certificate program features cohort-based learning over six months, providing educational farm and garden managers with a unique opportunity to hone their management skills while enhancing not just their operations but, just as importantly, their educational impact. The certificate welcomes those persons managing (or aspiring to manage) school and community farms and gardens, therapeutic farms, living history museums, summer camp farms, food security farms and others.

In addition to the four professional certificate courses, the School of the New American Farmstead is offering an Italian Sustainability Tour designed specifically for registered dietitians and dietetic technicians seeking to expand their knowledge of sustainable foods systems.  The course offers 45 CPEs.

Other courses will be offered beginning in fall 2020 at Olema House, a small hotel adjacent to the Point Reyes National Seashore that features education and enrichment opportunities, as well as acclaimed culinary offerings.

The majority of the courses may be taken individually or pursued collectively to attain a professional certificate. For more information about the professional certificates and scholarship details, please visit


Contact: Marialisa Calta, Interim Director of Media Relations, Sterling College

802.272.7661 •


Founded in 1958 in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, Sterling College advances ecological thinking and action through affordable experiential learning, preparing knowledgeable, skilled and responsible leaders to face the ecological crises caused by unlimited growth and consumption that threatens the future of the planet. Enrollment is limited to 125 students. Sterling is home to the School of the New American Farmstead and the Wendell Berry Farming Program, is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and is one of only nine colleges and universities recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a “Work College.”