Practice of Sustainable Agriculture: Fall


Fall 2013 quarter

Taught by

sustainable agriculture, entomology
Stephen Bramwell


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

Do you want produce food for yourself, your family and other families 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 investigate how food production systems operate with our primary focus on small-scale organic production. We will concentrate on the scientific knowledge, critical thinking and observation skills, management and business tools, and practical hands on training needed to successfully grow food and fiber in a sustainable way. We will explore the details of sustainable food production systems and evaluate them through the three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental and social justice.

We will be studying and working on the Evergreen Organic Farm through an entire growing season, seed propagation to harvest. The farm includes 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 as part of the practicum. The 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.

During spring quarter, we will focus on soil science, nutrient management, and crop botany. Additional topics will include introduction to animal husbandry, annual and perennial plant propagation, season extension, and the principles and practice of composting. In summer, the main topics will be disease and pest management, which includes entomology plant pathology, 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 production and business planning, cover crops, and crop storage techniques and physiology. Students will develop and present a detailed farm and business plan, which will integrate all the topics covered in the program into a culminating project to allow students to demonstrate their learning and creativity.

Additional topics will include record keeping for organic production systems, alternative crop production systems, and techniques for adding value to farm and garden products. Students will learn about hand tool use and maintenance, farm equipment safety, and types of field operations. Topics will be explored through on-farm workshops, seminars, lectures, laboratory exercises, farm management groups, guest lectures, field experimentation and field trips to regional agricultural operations.

Books to be used in the program include  Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers  by Theriault and Brisebois,  Planning Workbook: Organic Whole Farm  by Huelsman,  Plant Propagator's Bible  by Smit,  Building Soils for Better Crops  3 rd  ed by Magdoff and van Es,  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 prior to the start of the quarter. Access Services, Library Bldg. Rm. 2153. Contact Program Coordinator Steve Schmidt, PH: 360.867.6348; TTY 360.867.6834; E-mail: . If you require accessible transportation for field trips, please contact the instructor 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 2012 to develop a financial aid plan that includes summer quarter 2013.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

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

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$200 in spring and summer and $400 in fall for field trips to other NW farming regions, conference fees, and farm supplies.

May be offered again in



Date Revision
August 13th, 2013 Fall fee has increased (from $200 to $400).

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Signature Required


Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 10094
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 10469

Go to to register for this program.

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