We hope all students leave Putney with a deeper connection to the land.
The Putney School garden is an integral part of our campus. It serves as both a classroom and a resource, teaching and feeding our community through hard work and hands-on experience.
Spanning three acres of land and two greenhouses, our goal is to grow a significant portion of the food our community consumes, and our students are an essential part of that. In the spring, students in the garden Afternoon Activity plant and nurture seeds in the greenhouse. In the fall, they pick and preserve the crops they and their peers have grown.
For many students, this is their first significant exposure to food production and all of the questions that it may encompass. For others, the gardens provide a foundation for everything from discussions about various agricultural techniques to advanced food chemistry courses, to the study of biodiversity and conservation ecology.
Elm Lea Farm
All the gardens are organic and use compost developed on Elm Lea Farm, our working dairy farm where students learn to milk and feed more than 50 dairy and beef cows through our Work Program. Students are also responsible for the care of other animals in our barn including pigs, laying hens, turkeys, sheep, alpacas, and horses — part of our recreational riding program.
One of the joys of living in Vermont during the winter is sugaring season. In late February students begin the process by tapping trees, setting buckets and lines, and then gathering the maple sap for boiling. The syrup we produce is used in our kitchen and sold in the bookstore.
Cutting wood is a lifelong skill that our students learn at Putney. They are taught how to properly fell and cut trees using both hand and power tools, allowing them to decide for themselves which method they find more comfortable, productive and safe. All our wood is cut from Putney School land, and used for heating our senior cabins and faculty housing.