Practice of Organic Farming

Summer 2017 quarter (Full Session)

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.

Do you want to produce food for yourself, your family and others in your community? What does it take to grow food and feed yourself and others every day throughout the year? This three-quarter program (spring, summer and fall quarters) will explore the details of sustainable food production systems using the three legs of sustainability—economic, environmental and social justice—as our lens. Our focus will be on small-scale direct marketing organic production, with each quarter has a unique focus that builds on the total program training. Spring will focus on the academic undermining of sustainable, organic agriculture, the summer will focus on farm management and practical skills, and the fall will bring everything together with a strong focus on farm and business planning and successional crop management. Through all three quarters when appropriate our focus will be on the scientific foundations of sustainable and Organic food production, critical thinking and observation skills necessary to grow food using our three lenses to inform our work. In addition we will explore the critical farm management practices and business skills necessary to successfully operate a small acreage farming operation.

We will be studying and working on the Evergreen Organic Farm through an entire growing season, from seed propagation to harvest and on to market. Farm sales include a small-scale direct market stand and CSA, as well as a variety of other demonstration areas. All students will work on the farm every week to gain practical experiential learning. 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 the crops and animals raised on the farm.

In summer, the main topics will be disease and pest management, which includes entomology, plant pathology and weed biology. In addition, water management; irrigation system design, maximizing market and value-added opportunities and regulatory issues will also be covered. Fall quarter's focus will be on farm and business planning, crop physiology, storage techniques, seed saving practices and cover crops.

Books that may be used in the program may include  Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers  by Theriault and Brisebois,  Planning Workbook: Organic Whole Farm  by Huelsman,   The Farm as Ecosystem: Tapping Nature's Reservoir.... Biology, Geology, Diversity by Brunetti,  The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way  by Phillips,  The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work by Hartman, The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space FarmingProduce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh ... Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees  by Damerow,  The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest  by Costenbader,  Building A Sustainable Business A guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses  by The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.

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 Program Coordinator  Steve Schmidt ), PH: 360.867.6348; TTY 360.867.6834; E-mail: 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.

Financial aid is available three out of the four quarters each academic year. if you need financial aid in the Summer, contact the Financial Aid office for more details at or or call at x6205.

Internship Opportunities

Possibility of In Program internships in Summer quarter. Students must complete an in-program Internship Learning Contract in consultation with the faculty and Academic Advising. Please go to Individual Study for more information.

Program Details

Fields of Study

agriculture biology business and management ecology

Preparatory For

Farm and green management; working with nonprofit organizations that focus on food, land use and agriculture; State and County extension; and State and Federal regulatory agencies.


Summer Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Classes meet Tue, Wed, Thu, 9 am - 4:30 pm. Students must be available for farm chores at 8:00 a.m., Monday-Friday.


Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$300 of field trips to other Northwest farming regions, and farm supplies.