Ecosystems and Regeneration
Ecosystems are living systems composed of human, more-than-human, and biogeophysical components. Understanding and living in alignment with living systems is essential for regenerative, thriving societies. In this course, students will 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 with an emphasis on the human influence on ecosystems. We conclude with an understanding of how living in alignment with ecosystems and living systems principles supports people and the planet. 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.
Introduction to Regenerative Agriculture
This course acts as an introduction to the principles and practices involved in regenerative agriculture with an emphasis on horticultural sciences. Students will learn basic botany related to plant physiology and seed production, along with strategies for farm layout, land preparation, crop rotation, and fertility management. By the end of this course, students will have the contextual knowledge and conceptual framework needed to understand the management strategies involved in regenerative farming.
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, along with participating in 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.
Soil Science & Applications
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.
Vegetable Crop Sciences
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.
Pest and Fertility Management
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 skill sets involving pest identification, disease management, and the ability to create biological remedies that promote plant health and pest resistance.
Water Management and Conservation Strategies
This fieldwork course emphasizes a practical understanding of the hydrological cycle with a strategic approach to water conservation, greywater systems, and methods for irrigation. Students will learn how to analyze a landscape to identify hydrological issues related to runoff, pollution, and improper drainage, along with implementing solutions that save water, improve percolation, and increase absorption.
Biodynamics is a unique, spirit-based approach to agriculture that was first developed by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. In biodynamics, farmers are regarded as “cosmic artists” that use specific preps at various times throughout the year to reinvigorate the Earth and improve soil fertility and plant nutrition. This course will cover various lectures involved in Rudolf Steiner’s “Agriculture Course” and explain the philosophical principles that underlie Biodynamics, with an emphasis on how to create and utilize the preps and applications that represent the “life force” of biodynamic agriculture.
Solutions for Environmental Challenges: Urban Design and Season Extension
This course focuses on problem solving for farming in unique environments and explores the design, development, and economic considerations involved in urban production, cold-season extension, and winter preparation. Students will gain hands-on experience working on the farm while learning about the strategies involved in urban agriculture and season extension with a special focus on intensive small-scale production, farm infrastructure, and land acquisition.
Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship
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 explore issues related to sustainability and learn 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.