sustainable agriculture education
Whether you want to run a nonprofit focused on improving the food system or start your own organic farm, there’s a degree for that. In fact, America now boasts over 394 sustainable agriculture degrees and certificate programs. With so many great programs out there it’s hard to narrow down the best, so here are just ten of the great offerings for the budding farmer in you.
Getting ready to put together those New Years’ resolutions? If eating more sustainably is among them, here’s a quick guide to get you started
1. Can, freeze and dehydrate all year.
Put up foods like berries and summery fruits and veggies throughout the year instead of buying them out of season. This way you can still cook with local foods even in the dead of winter. Save money by patronizing you-pick farms for berries and vegetables in the summer; apples, pears and pumpkins in the fall.
Jo Ann Baumgartner’s interest in wild farming—the practice of integrating agriculture with local ecosystems to support both high crop yields and a healthy, biodiverse environment— started when she and her husband worked their own organic farm.
Baumgartner “came from an understanding and love of wild nature,” and had always relished a chance vacation or outing that let her be in the outdoors. While farming, she began to see connections between the land she cultivated and the wild places she loved. While working on a book about California’s endangered species, she noticed that many creatures were rare precisely because of agriculture, which has replaced the natural habitat of many species with crops grown in monoculture.
Founded in 1984, the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit advocacy organizations for sustainable agriculture. Teaching children sustainable farming, public programming and lobbying for sustainable agriculture policy at the state and federal level are the daily work of the MFAI. Funded by federal grants and donations, the MFAI also assists retiring farmers in how best to manage their farmland and aids growers in the organic certification process.
Spring Creek Farm, founded by Louise Kellogg, houses Alaska Pacific University’s Kellogg Campus in Palmer, Alaska, with about 800 acres bequeathed as part of a family trust.
“The goal was to create a campus for the University, a very small one,” says Steve Rubinstein, the director of APU’s graduate program in Outdoor and Environmental Education. “And also to keep it as a working farm and to use it for other various educational aspects. We always had the goal of providing educational programs. It was not necessarily slated to become a vegetable farm, but that’s where we took it – it seemed to be a good direction.”