Five Unique Sustainable Ag Programs
February 22, 2017 | Trish Popovitch
A basic course in sustainable agriculture or organic food production may be the ideal route for many folks considering their own urban farm or community program but what if you are thinking a little more outside the sustainable box? Whether you want to grow fish, cannabis, trees or bees, there’s a sustainable agriculture program out there for you. Here are five unique sustainable ag opportunities for the adventurous agriculturalist.
1. University of Alaska High Latitude Agriculture
Alaska is a quiet leader on the sustainability front driven by geography, climate and resources to focus on self sufficient communities focused on local production. The University of Alaska’s Natural Resources Management degree offers a concentration in high latitude agriculture for those considering sustainable work in waterfront communities, less than ideal light conditions and places with short natural growing seasons may want to considering spending time with the experts in harsh climate and conditions. Classes include watershed management, regional sustainability, indigenous knowledge and wetlands ecology. Students gain hands on experience at the Matanuska Experiment Farm offering 260 acres of cultivated land.
2. Loyola University Chicago – Aquaponics
With a 3,100 square foot “ecodome” greenhouse with examples of nutrient film, raft system and media filled bed systems for students to observe and cultivate as well as a multi tired growing system full of Koi in the lobby, the Aquaponics program at Loyola has definitely got its fish together. The aquaponics course is part of the university’s urban agriculture degree and the aquaponics center was set up as far back as 2010. The Urban Ag program focuses on three main areas: sustainable food, community outreach and aquaponics. This is an ideal program for those considering an indoor growing operation in the city.
3. University of Hawaii at Hilo – Tropical Plant Science
Indoor growing offers a wealth of opportunities including the chance to grow tropical plants no matter where you live. The tropical plant science and agroecology degree at the University of Hawaii helps you to start your own business, or prepare for graduate school. With classes such as weed science, tropical plant pathology, sustainable agriculture and tropical soils, you are sure to have some unique classroom and field opportunities with this degree.
4. University of Georgia – Bee Keeping
Many colleges offer bee keeping courses these days but the folks at the University of Georgia appear to have it down to a fine art offering a range of course at a range of levels. With a Beekeeping Institute, the Georgia Master Beekeeping Program as well as a graduate program, UGA opens up its bee lab facilities for research, lectures and programming. Located on the university’s horticulture farm, the bee lab offers all the latest in beekeeping equipment as well as research facilities for scientific inquiry.
5. Oaksterdam University – Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Management
Offering short two day seminar courses as well as 14 week semester programs, Oaksterdam University offers some serious education on cannabis cultivation and sustainable indoor crop production. Found in 2007 in Oakland, CA, 15000 students have already completed the cannabis growing, management and marketing courses offered by this unique college. Students learn both theory and practical issues around medical marijuana. Horticulture classes include basic soil and organic agriculture practices as well as industry specific growing techniques such as propagation, pest management, irrigation, greenhouse structures, land preparation and sustainability.
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