Wendy Sue Harper | Prescott College

Wendy Sue Harper

Academic Statement

Wendy Sue Harper, Ph.D. is currently an associate faculty member at Prescott College in the Food Systems Sustainability Master of Science program.

A soil scientist, she teaches agricultural science courses that focus on sustainability, ecological management, and systems thinking. Dr. Harper served as a Scholar in Residence in the Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems program at Green Mountain College. She inspects crop farms and processors for organic certification with the Vermont Organic Farmers. She teaches about soils, composting and ecologically based agricultural practices for healthy soils and crops. Previously she worked for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) developing educational programs for vegetable and berry farmers. Dr. Harper taught and advised students and developed ecologically based curriculum at the University of Vermont for 18 years in the area of soil science and ecological agriculture.

She holds a M.S. in Forest Resources from Penn State and a Ph.D. from the University of Vermont in Plant and Soil Sciences.


Ph.D., Plant & Soil Science, The University of Vermont, Burlington VT.

M.S., Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

B.S., Plant & Soil Science, University of Maine, Orono, ME.


Food Systems Sustainability Capstone Expertise

Soil Science and Composting

Ecological Agriculture Practices and Biodiversity in Agriculture

Extension Education and Curriculum Development

Organic Agriculture and Certification

Capstone Guidebooks


Patterson, Thomas F., Jonathan G. Leonard, and Wendy Sue Harper. 2001. Developing a core curriculum for the 21st century. NACTA J. 45(4):13-20.

Bartlett, R.J., W.S. Harper, and J. Rankin. 1991. Predicting toxicity of reactive 'solution' aluminum using kinetic speciation. p. 35-42. In R.J. Wright et al. (eds.) Plant-soil interactions at low pH. Kluwer Academic Pub.

Harper, W.S., D.E. Baker, and L.H. McCormick. 1988. A dual-buffer method for lime requirement of acid minesoils. J. Environmental Quality 17:452-456.


Presentations in the Past 5 Years

Invited Presentations (Sole author unless otherwise noted)

University of Vermont and Extension:

  * UVM Extension and the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Association. Soil Health for Nutrient Management Planning. Craftsbury 2019.

  * The Master Gardener Program. Webinar presentation: Study of Soils and advance classes as requested. 1994 to present.

  * The Master Composter Program. Webinar presentation: Principles of Soil Science for Composters or The Biology of Compost. 2003 to present.

  *  UVM Farmer Training Program. Basic Soils for Beginning Farmers. South Burlington, VT. 2013 to 2019.

  *  UVM Farmer Training Program. Ecological Soil Fertility Management for Beginning Farmers. South Burlington, VT. 2014 to 2019.

American Council of Engineering Companies of Vermont. A Refresher Course Field Description of Soil Properties and Estimating Seasonal Water Table. Webinar and field day, spring and fall. 2015 to 2019 with Steve Revell, CPG, PG, LCBD.

Conference and Public Presentations

Northeast Organic Farming Association of VT -  Winter Conference:

Winter Garden Planning for Summer Success-2020. Symphony of the SoilCreating Resilient Soils in your Garden-2018. Symphony of the Soil Q&A-2016. Your First Organic Inspection and Easy Great Compost-2015. Creating a Biodiverse Garden and Soil Chemistry Q&A-2014. Easy Cool Composting for Busy Gardeners: A Bag-and-Bin Compost System that Works and Soil OM Q&A-2012.

NOFA-VT Summer Workshop Series: Creating Habitat for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Marijke Niles-2014.

Hildene-the Lincoln Family Home, Make Great Compost: Implementing Act 148: Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law in Your Home, Yard, and Garden- 2017.

Sustainable Living Expo Middlebury VT. Easy Great Compost: Implementing VT Act 148. 2014.

Awards, Grants, & Honors


*Joseph E. Carrigan Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Advising in the  College of Agriculture at the University of Vermont, 1999.

Grants (While at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT):

*NOFA-VT Journeyfarmer Program Pilot: Bridging the Gap Between Apprentice and Beginning Farmer in Vermont. Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center. $18,081 of $46,713, 2010-2011.

*Beginner Farmer and Apprentice Workshops in Commercial Organic Vegetable Production. USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, $3500, 2010 and 2011.

*Apprentice/Willing Worker Website Upgrade. Focusing on Beginning Farmer Mini Grants (NE-SARE Project through Vermont WAgN-UVM Extension), $1000, 2009-2010.

*Integrated Learning Courses for Organic and Sustainable Vegetable Production. SARE LNE09-283, $158,961, 2009-2012.

*Developing On-Farm Research Expertise among Farmers in Vermont. SARE ONE08-084, $9,997, 2008-2010.