Enrollment Open for Sustainability Education Program this Winter

Photo by Kristen Harker
Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program offers a premier education in organic farming, alternative building, permaculture, and green living—and the program isn't limited to just the summer months.

Winter at Better Farm is a surreal experience: nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks and just 10 miles from the stunning Thousand Islands along the St. Lawrence Seaway, the natural landscape is wonderful for exploring year-round. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and more are all available to the avid outdoorsmen and women. At the farm, students will study indoor farming methods including hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical gardening, container gardening, and vermiculture. The winter also brings with it the necessity of mapping out the outdoor gardens for the upcoming spring, selecting and ordering seeds, harvesting wood on the property, tending to the flock of Better Farm chickens, and mulching all winter long in the outdoor gardens.

While summertime includes outdoor constructing projects, winter dictates a need for weatherproofing, insulating, and making indoor repairs; as well as calculating heat loss in the home, figuring out clever methods for better energy efficiency that will help to educate students in the future at their own homes and farms. Reading and writing assignments round out the hands-on education; while discussion-based classroom sessions will encourage students to think critically.

Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program runs in one- to three-month intervals. Those attending will receive daily assignments and chores all related to sustainability initiatives and organic farming, as well as the opportunity to design and implement projects on their own. Upon completion of all units and responsibilities, participants will receive a certificate from Better Farm. College students may additionally receive course credit for completion of Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program (pursuant to agreement by that individual's school).

Individuals are immersed from day one in the local culture while working alongside other residents at Better Farm and in the Redwood community. Students are expected to do their share in maintaining the condition of Better Farm as well as its peaceful environment. Those accepted for Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program are expected to work seriously—and to conduct themselves in a manner that aids fellow residents in their endeavors.

Many sustainability specialists visit Better Farm throughout the year to offer mentoring and guidance to students interested in coming here to work and gain valuable experience. Additionally, individuals have the option of taking any workshops and participating in any excursions or field trips scheduled during their time at Better Farm.

Students live on-site and communally on the Better Farm campus in shared rooms. A flat fee of $500/month is required to cover educational fees, supplies, lodging, field trips, wireless Internet, use of the laundry machine, all linens and towels, on-site parking, and use of the communal kitchen (stocked weekly with food).

Email internship@betterfarm.org for application materials, or visit www.betterfarm.org/sustainability-internship. Applicants will be notified of their status within one month of submission.


Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.