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Course Descriptions for the BA in Regenerative Organic Agriculture

Ecosystems are living systems comprised of human, more-than-human, and biogeophysical components. Understanding and living in alignment with living systems principles is essential for regenerative, thriving societies. In this course, we explore living systems principles through the lens of ecology and ecosystems sciences. We apply those principles to how humans have and could live as powerful agents of change. We look at ecosystem components, dynamics, processes, and systems across scales. We examine living systems along a spectrum of less influenced by humans to human-dominated, considering how human consciousness and actions influence ecosystems. We consider how understanding and living in alignment with ecosystems and living systems principles supports thriving planet + people. We explore indigenous cultures, knowledge, and practices; societal development; governance; economics; the built environment; food systems; water systems; energy systems; equity and justice; human psychology, consciousness, and happiness; and more. You will explore concepts in self-designed and assigned field trips. By the end of this course, students will be able to explain the complexity of ecosystems and why a foundation of ecology is important for regenerative sustainability, understand and explain the potential effects human consciousness and actions have on the ecosystem, think systemically, and apply this thinking to specific living systems. (4 credits)
Horticulture represents the foundational knowledge of the Regenerative Organic Agriculture program. Students will learn basic botany related to plant physiology and seed production, along with strategies for farm layout, land preparation, plant propagation, and soil and nutrient management. We head out to the field for sessions on planting systems and irrigation methods. Other topics include strategies for building soil organic matter, composting, basic entomology, and pest management methods. (4 credits)
Permaculture Design is an attempt to rethink and redesign every aspect of human endeavor in terms of sustainability. In this course, you will learn about the principles, ethics, and scientific reasoning that guides permaculture design, along with how to apply it to homes, cities, and natural landscapes. Students will engage with concepts and strategies for building soil health, maximizing water efficiency, and increasing biodiversity through integrated plant dynamics and agroforestry. There will also be workshops related to mushroom cultivation and fermentation sciences. The course will culminate in a final comprehensive design project involving a real client, where you will work to perform site analysis and develop practical solutions for real-world design challenges. Upon successful completion of the course, students earn an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. This course includes a weekend field trip. Course Fees: $100 (4 credits)
The ability to analyze, build, and manage soil is a key component of regenerative agriculture. In this course, students will learn fundamental concepts in soil science relating to physical, chemical, and biological properties, along with instilling an awareness of soil as a natural basic resource. This class will involve fieldwork sessions where students gain experience in strategic garden bed preparation while developing technical skills for building soil fertility through the creation and application of compost, biochar, and other soil amendments. (4 credits)
This fieldwork course combines experiential learning in greenhouse management, transplanting, and field maintenance with an in-depth understanding of various vegetable crops produced throughout the farm season. Students will learn the unique characteristics and considerations associated with different vegetable crops, including growth patterns, propagation techniques, lifespan, specific pest and disease issues, and potential companion plants. (3 credits)
This fieldwork course continues with daily engagement in the farm’s operational activities and includes an emphasis on concepts related to plant maintenance, along with practical applications in pest and fertility management. Students will develop technical skills involving pest identification, nutritional management, and the ability to create biological remedies that promote plant health and pest resistance. (3 credits)
This course involves fieldwork and will focus heavily on harvest and post-harvest efficiencies, including cleaning, storage, and washroom policies. Students will also be preparing succession plantings and cover crops as spring crops begin to be terminated, along with continuing to engage in the general sales of produce through the CSA, farmers market, and Annapurna. (3 credits)
This course involves fieldwork and will focus on planting cold season crops such as spinach, kale, carrots, and beets. Students will also be exposed to season extension methods like row covers, low tunnels, high tunnels, greenhouses, cold frames, and mulching along with continuing to engage in the harvest of crops, sales, and general marketing strategies. (3 credits)
This block will involve a combination of fieldwork and independent study with an emphasis on the full-scale development and strategic approach to starting a farm enterprise. Students will develop an in-depth understanding of land acquisition, crop planning, and enterprise budgeting. This final block of fieldwork will also involve a capstone project. Student capstone projects are subject to faculty approval and explore an issue related to food, agriculture, or anything else deemed appropriate. Emphasis is placed upon project management, the application of technical skills and technical creativity to specific projects, informal communication skills, a formal written report, and formal oral presentation. (3 credits)
Sustainable business management is an attempt to execute triple bottom line performance in business through social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and economic viability. In this course, students will develop an understanding of the basic concepts associated with aspects of business management including economics, operations, finance, and marketing. Students will also learn about issues related to sustainability and how to identify economic trends that influence general business strategy. The course will involve practical applications in performing cost analysis, financial modeling, digital marketing, lean management, and how to write a business plan. (4 credits)
Students will have the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge related to regenerative sustainability in real-world situations while earning academic credit. Internships are coordinated by the Career Services Office in conjunction with the department and the Office of the Registrar to ensure proper credit and approvals. (4-16 credits) Prerequisites: Internship Proposal and consent of the Sustainable and Regenerative Living Department.
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