In hands-on classes that explore and engage, we teach the arts of design and building as an integrated process, and provide instruction in fundamental skills. We offer nearly 100 classes in Land & Community Planning, Whole Structure Design/Build, Building Systems & Building Science, Woodworking & Craft and Tutorials.
Our curriculum allows students to learn, think, and practice at varying scales: in the context of whole buildings, communities, and ecosystems; on the specific materials, methods, and technologies that enable systems to function well; and on the fine details that make structures functional and beautiful.
The students who come to Yestermorrow are place-makers or change-makers, and sometimes they’re both. They are DIYers and professionals, women and men, undergraduates and lifelong learners, hobbyists, and those seeking a career or life change. Courses are taught by top architects, builders, craftspeople, and permaculture practitioners from around the country.
Uniting thinking and making, and exploring relationships between the natural and built environments, Yestermorrow empowers students to create intentional and inspired pieces, places, buildings, and communities that enrich life and enhance our world.
Yestermorrow Design/Build School inspires people to create a better, more sustainable world by providing hands-on education that integrates design and craft as a creative, interactive process.
Yestermorrow's courses are specifically designed to demystify the designing and building processes using hands-on, experiential learning to teach students the art and wisdom of good design and the skill and savvy of enduring craftsmanship as a single, integrated process.
This creative process offers students unique insight into the oftentimes disparate worlds of the architect and the builder. Architects are routinely trained without any building experience that might inform their designs, and builders are trained to execute without a sense of the overarching purpose or design of the project.
Combining design and building offers numerous advantages and promotes the creation of intentional and inspired buildings and communities that enhance our world. From the professional design/builder to the do-it-yourself design/build homeowner, every designer should know how to build and every builder should know how to design. This philosophy sets Yestermorrow apart from other educational institutions.
Yestermorrow Design/Build School is located in the Mad River Valley of Vermont on the unceded territory of Western Abenaki tribes, members of the Wabanaki Confederacy. Wabanaki is an Algonquin word that means “People of the Dawn Land”. They are First Nation People and have stewarded this land for thousands of years before white settlers arrived. Listen to the creation story, told in the Abenaki language here (1).
Abenaki people have preserved their culture and traditions despite a painful history of ethnic persecution and state-sponsored eugenics by colonial settlers in Vermont (2). Yestermorrow Design/Build School’s staff, board, and instructors acknowledge the history of attempted ethnocide, as well as the modern continuation of social structures and systems that disadvantage Abenaki people. We recognize that our organization was founded within these systems of oppression. We are committed to dismantling these systems within our organization and creating pathways for Abenaki students to thrive at Yestermorrow as students, instructors, staff, and board members. Read our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement for specific actions we are taking towards this commitment.
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgnAR-rwsj0 - Creation story Western Abenaki
Yestermorrow is a leader in Design/Build education in no small part thanks to the thousands of incredible individuals who have graced our campus. And yet, by not addressing systemic barriers to attending our programs, we have missed out on the creativity and brilliance of folks who have been targeted by the systems of oppression. That is why Yestermorrow is committed to intentionally centering, honoring, and integrating the presence and knowledge of Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color, and individuals from other marginalized communities. We believe that our mission to “inspire people to create a better, more sustainable world” is not possible without the valuable perspectives, lived experiences, energy, and resilience that these communities carry.
We are committed to re-orienting this organization towards greater safety, equity, and opportunity for historically harmed, mistreated, and excluded groups including BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, people with disabilities, and women. We also know that this commitment requires more than putting well-intentioned words on our website. It requires an internal reckoning, an examination of how structures of white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and classism have influenced America in general and our organization in particular, and then actively working to dismantle and rebuild those structures.
We recognize that this will not happen immediately or even quickly. We know it will not be graceful or easy. We believe that by centering the knowledge, lived experiences, and brilliance of BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and disabled leaders, educators, and students, we all benefit. We pledge to continue working on this for the entire ‘morrow’ of Yestermorrow.
Some steps we are taking as an organization are:
- Requiring Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training for our staff and board members
- Revising our course welcome/orientation to include sharing our pronouns, indigenous land acknowledgment, equity statement, and student feedback channels
- Sending out our DEI and ILA statements to all students before arriving on campus, as well as reading the statements during class orientations.
- Providing multiple means for students to give feedback on their experience at the school so that we can address inequities immediately
- Developing curriculum on racism in design and architecture, spatial justice, and design justice
- Developing and offering courses that incorporate two-eyed seeing, an equitable framework that brings together indigenous ways of knowing with scientific ways of knowing
- Actively seeking BIPOC individuals to join our teaching team, board, staff, and student body
- Supporting and, where appropriate, seeking membership with minority-led organizations
Growing the BIPOC scholarship fund to begin to address financial barriers
- As of January 2021, we have raised over $9,000 towards this fund through employee contributions and donations from our Giving Tuesday campaign. We will continue to actively fundraise for the BIPOC Scholarship
- A subcommittee of our DEI Committee is dedicated to BIPOC Scholarship Fundraising and Outreach
- Uplifting and amplifying BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and female voices through our online programming, social media, and on our website.
- Creating accountability to our commitment through regular DEI Committee meetings, which includes staff, board, and BIPOC friends of Yestermorrow.
This is a living document and our commitment will be regularly revisited and clarified. We welcome your feedback, insights, criticism, and suggestions. Please fill out this feedback form - anonymously, if desired.