St. Catharine College in rural Washington County, Ky., is looking for three international students to join the school’s nascent Berry Farming Program on scholarships.
The program is based on the life work of Kentucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry, and will teach students about sustainable agriculture. The first students begin this week at the campus in Washington County. Program coordinator Leah Bayens said the Berry Farming Program will merge both arts and science—including “culture” as well as “agriculture.”
“And recognizing that one of the ways that we will be most successful in revitalizing small rural communities is through not just practical changes and production changes and economic changes, that those sometimes come through cultural means,” Bayens said.
Bayens said the school will target students primarily from South or Central America, the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa for the scholarships. These are areas she says are in need of people with sustainable farming knowledge, and the hope is that students will go back to their home countries with the skills they’ve learned in Kentucky.
“Even as we’re studying exactly what’s going on in this particular location, we want to make sure these are place-transferrable skills; that students are learning to read landscapes in a variety of ecological conditions,” she said.
The scholarships were made possible by a $450,000 gift from Louisville philanthropist Eleanor Bingham Miller; the gift is the fourth largest in St. Catharine’s history.