Gwyneth Harris, Sterling College’s Garden Manager joins Emergency to Emergence hosts, Nakasi and Dakota, for a rich conversation on the intricacies and advantages of small scale farming. Though farming is often misconstrued as a simple vocation, Gwyneth portrays the elegant complexities of an agro-ecological farming system, particularly one that balances education, experimentation, production, and nourishment. Sterling’s educational farms offer opportunities to learn core skills for cultivation, puts animal, plant, and soil science into practice, and integrates food sovereignty, social justice, and systems thinking. The farm management choices Gwyneth and her colleagues make have ripple effects on the land, the people in our community, and the plants, animals, insects, fungi, and microbes with whom we share this space. Those choices also influence the lessons that students draw from the Sterling farm and carry forward onto their future farms that will nourish their communities in the years to come. This conversation also illuminates the enduring contributions of smallholders and positions community-scale food and fiber production as a viable and valuable alternative to industrial agriculture and production systems of extraction. By listening to Gwyneth, you’ll get a better sense of why so many of our students come to Sterling to study Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems -- and of the intentionality that they find when they work alongside our farm managers.
[03:17]-educational farm, not a single path; carpentry; animal, plant; soil science overlayed with food, social justice and systems is endlessly fascinating
[10:01]-Sterling farm experience has real impacts on animals and community
[14:04]-scale; systems of production; smallholders produce most of food; recognizing value of community scale
[21:22]-synergistic farm systems; thinking beyond the U.S. model of agriculture
[24:33]-balance of education of food and production; relationship to Sterling and outside community; Sterling addressing food insecurity regionally