Farm, Sustainability & Horsemanship

The Putney School is situated on Elm Lea Farm, a working farm of large vegetable gardens, a dairy herd, small animals, and a managed forest woodlot. As a student in the Farm program, you participate in every aspect of this diversified Vermont farmstead, led by our farmer-educators and working side-by-side with the school's professional farm crew.

We'll talk together about sustainable philosophy and farm practices, about food politics, and the future of small-scale agriculture. Most of all, we'll work hard, get dirty, and experience the satisfaction that comes from this unique combination of labor and learning.

In our vegetable gardens, you'll practice organic techniques, both in the greenhouses and fields, and you'll plant, weed, and harvest crops. The vegetables you pick in the morning often reappear by dinner in the Putney dining hall.

You'll be introduced to dairy farming by working morning chores, including milking, feeding, and leading cows out to pasture, caring for newborn calves, and by learning about selection for breeding. You'll get to know Charlotte, Melvina, and the more than 30 other Holsteins and Jerseys in our herd.

You'll also learn about raising small animals, including pigs, chickens, turkeys, and sheep.

An additional component of the Farm program is horsemanship. Our equestrian program is safe for beginners and equipped to challenge more experienced riders. Students groom and tack up horses, and ride on our many beautiful trails. Students new to riding as well as those coming with experience are supported as they develop their skills in English-style riding.

Each student enrolled in the Farm workshop rotates through all aspects of the program, including animal care, gardening, and horsemanship.

Field trips take us to farms in the area which offer opportunities to meet organic and commercial vegetable growers. We pick fruit and berries to be served in the dining hall, and learn about Vermont cheeses by visiting a local artisan sheep-   cheese maker and a nearby cheese factory.

Whether you are experienced in country self-sufficiency or have never taken care of a farm animal, there is a place for you in the Farm program to learn, hands-on, about life on a Vermont farmstead.

Students enrolled in the morning farm workshop select an arts or writing workshop for the afternoon.

The Putney School | Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346-8675
802-387-5566 (main) | 802-387-6278 (fax) | |