Studio Hill is a regenerative farm in southern Vermont. Our primary goal is to strengthen the land's natural water, carbon, and nutrient cycles so that we may restore the abundant ecosystem of our 5th-generation family farm.
To achieve this goal, we: raise livestock on pasture using holistic land management practices; we use no-till gardens for our annual vegetable and flower production; we are building a 4-acre perennial food forest; and we keep bees.
Our Farm's Missions
- To demonstrate the positive impacts of ecosystem restoration through agriculture, and educate others on its potential to improve climate, health, and economic challenges worldwide.
- To raise nutrient-dense food, with practices that allow animals to live in a natural environment, express their natural behaviors, and feed on their natural diet.
- To leave our kids a wildly fertile farm, home to an abundant ecosystem, resilient enough to weather a changing climate.
What is Regenerative Agriculture?
In our view, there are only two types of farming: degenerative and regenerative.
Degenerative farming depletes and/or degrades natural resources of the ecosystem in which it is practiced by stopping—or reversing—the land's natural carbon, nutrient, and water cycles.
Regenerative farming, on the other hand, regenerates and improves the natural resources of the ecosystem in which it is practiced by restarting—or strengthening—the land's natural carbon, nutrient, and water cycles. Regenerative farming builds topsoil, improves biodiversity, improves water infiltration and storage, sequesters carbon, and improves yield.
Regenerative agriculture—unlike many farming certifications or classifications—is not defined by a set of tools or practices. It is defined only by the ecological outcomes the farm or farmers are able to produce within their unique and specific climates and ecosystems.
We prefer to view regenerative agriculture as "ecosystem restoration through agriculture." We've found the most effective way to restart and strengthen the land's natural cycles is to reintroduce natural animals back to the land and allow them to express their natural behaviors. This means we've restored grazers back to grass, foragers back to the forests, and pollinators back to our permanent perennial polyculture pastures.
In the years that we've been practicing regenerative agriculture, we've seen the birds, butterflies, worms, beetles, deer, wild turkeys, and hundreds—if not thousands—of other species of creatures return to our farm. Our production is up. Our costs are down. Our ecosystem is more abundant and resilient than ever.
Why We Farm
Five generations of our family have called this farm home. The kids in the youngest generation are learned to walk in the fields that their great-great-grandparents tended. It is this long and loving history with the land that guides our farming practices today. We take the lessons given to us by our predecessors while always considering the well-being of future generations.
The Studio Hill Team
- Caroline McDougall is the 4th-generation of her family to farm on Studio Hill. She is a regenerative farmer, photographer, artist, Airbnb wizard, mother—and, when she has time, a wood-whittler.
- Jesse McDougall is a regenerative farmer at Studio Hill. He serves on the advisory board for Soil4Climate and was the author of the first regenerative agriculture legislation. He is also a father, dial-twister, public speaker, and author.
- Miranda Richardson is Head Shepherdess and Able-Helper-with-Everything-Else at Studio Hill. She is a University of Rhode Island graduate with a degree in animal science. She is also an equestrian, avid reader, and amateur printmaker in her free time.