Practice of Organic Farming: Spring, Summer
Spring 2016 quarter
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be successful at farming? The Practice of Organic Farming, formerly the Practice of Sustainable Agriculture, is a 3-quarter long program (spring, summer and fall quarters) that can help you answer this question and more. This program will explore the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in organic farming and food production systems using the underlying sciences as a framework. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of agriculture, the various topical threads (plant science, soils, horticulture, animal husbandry, organic regulations, business etc.) will be presented throughout all three quarters, and our primary focus will be on small-scale, direct market, organic production. We will emphasize the scientific underpinning and practical applications critical for growing food using ecologically informed methods, along with the management and business skills appropriate for small-scale production.
We will be studying and working on the Evergreen Organic Farm through an entire growing season, from starting seed to the sale of farm products, to preparing the farm for winter. All students will work on the farm every week to gain practical experiential learning (1 day/wk. in spring, 2 days/wk. in summer and fall). This program is rigorous both physically and academically and requires a willingness to work outside in adverse weather on a schedule determined by the needs of crops and animals raised on the farm.
The topics will follow the activities on the Farm throughout the growing season. During spring quarter, our primary focus will be exploring soil and plant sciences, gaining quantitative skills, and developing a working knowledge of the yearly planning documents that guide the Organic Farm. Beginning with the organic system plan and the farm crop plan, we will study the documents and recordkeeping systems needed to guide our work throughout the growing season. In summer, the main focus will be integrated pest management for insects, weeds, and diseases. Marketing, water management, irrigation system design, and regulatory issues will also be covered. Fall quarter's focus will be on farm and business planning and cover crops.
The farm practicum provides students with the opportunity to integrate theory with the practice of farming. Students will learn the various elements and systems of the Farm and hands-on skills throughout the growing season. These skills and topics will include: livestock care, greenhouse management, crop establishment and management (seeding, transplanting, irrigating, weeding, harvesting, marketing), monitoring for pests/diseases, equipment maintenance/repair, and composting, Students will also learn how to market produce through a Community-supported agriculture (CSA), as well as a market stand.
If you are a student with a disability and would like to request accommodations, please contact the faculty or the office of Access Services (Library Bldg. Rm. 2153, PH: 360.867.6348; TTY 360.867.6834) prior to the start of the quarter. If you require accessible transportation for field trips, please contact the faculty well in advance of the field trip dates to allow time to arrange this.
Students planning to take this program who are receiving financial aid should contact financial aid early in fall quarter 2014 to develop a financial aid plan that includes summer quarter 2015.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day