POULTNEY, Vt. (AP) – Devin Lyons typically starts his days this summer cooking fresh eggs for breakfast from the farm’s chicken coop. Then, depending on the weather, he and a dozen other college students might cut hay in the field using a team of oxen, turn compost or weed vegetable beds.
While other college students are in stuffy classrooms, about a dozen are earning credit tending a Vermont farm. For 13 weeks, 12 credits and about $12,500, the Green Mountain College students plow fields with oxen or horses, milk cows, weed crops and grow and make their own food, part of an intensive course in sustainable agriculture using the least amount of fossil fuels.
“Lots of schools study sustainable agriculture but I don’t think any of them put it into practice,” said spokesman Kevin Coburn.
There are no tractors on the 22 acres next to the brick campus of the small liberal arts college on the edge of the town – just two teams of oxen, and goats, pigs, two cows, and chickens.
Students sleep in tents on the field’s edge, next to a river. They spend about six hours a week in classes in the old farmhouse, learning theory on organic crop and animal management; management of farm systems; development of agricultural technologies with a focus on human and animal power; and the social and cultural importance of regional food. The rest of the time they’re out in the field, or doing homework and working on research projects.
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