Practice of Organic Farming: Fall

Fall 2016 quarter

Taught by

sustainable agriculture, entomology
  • UG


High school algebra, biology and chemistry, good communication skills, and ability/willingness to adhere to a structured work schedule, follow detailed directions in a work environment, and resolve conflicts in a group setting.

Note: This is the third quarter of a spring-summer-fall program.

What does it take to be successful at farming? The Practice of Organic Farming, formerly the Practice of Sustainable Agriculture, is a three-quarter program (spring, summer, and fall) 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 at 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 (one day per week in spring, two days per week 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.

Topics will follow 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 documents and record-keeping 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 community-supported agriculture (CSA), as well as a market stand.

If you are a student with a disability and would like to request accommodation, please contact the faculty or Access Services at L2153, or phone (360)867-6348; TTY (360)867-6834) prior to the start of the quarter. If you require accessible transportation for field trips, please contact faculty well in advance of 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 2015 to develop a financial aid plan that includes summer quarter 2016.


Program Details

Fields of Study

agriculture biology botany ecology field studies sustainability studies

Preparatory For

farm and garden management, working with nonprofit organizations focusing on food, land use, and agriculture, state and county extension offices, and state and federal regulatory agencies.


Fall Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$425 for field trips to other Northwest farming regions, conference fees, and farm supplies.

May be offered again in

Spring 2016-17


2016-01-29Paul Przybylowicz will be teaching Fungal Kingdom with Lalita Calabria.