Practice of Organic Farming: Fall

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Fall 2017
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

sustainable agriculture, entomology

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

What does it take to be successful at farming? This program, formerly titled Practice of Sustainable Agriculture, spans three quarters (spring, summer, and fall) and can help you answer this question and more. The 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 underpinnings 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 study and work at the Evergreen Organic Farm through an entire growing season, from starting seed to selling farm products and preparing the farm for winter. 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 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 and diseases, equipment maintenance and repair, and composting. Students will also learn how to market produce through community-supported agriculture, 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 call (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.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: farm and garden management; nonprofit organizations focusing on food, land use, and agriculture; state and county extension offices; and state and federal regulatory agencies

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$490 for field trips to other Northwest farming regions, conference fees, and farm supplies.


Students must have taken high school algebra, biology, and chemistry. They must possess good communication skills and the ability/willingness to adhere to a structured work schedule. They must also be able to follow detailed directions in a work environment, and resolve conflicts in a group setting.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:

Spring 2016-17

2017-04-28Fees increased (from $475 to $490).