Learn to grow food and earn college credit or certificates.
If you are interested in learning to grow food, and would like to earn a degree or certificate in sustainable or urban agriculture, you are in luck. Colleges and Universities have long offered agricultural degree programs focused on industrial agriculture. But more and more urban and sustainable farming programs are beginning to take shape.
In Arizona, the Center for Urban Agriculture at Mesa Community College offers courses in aquaponics, greenhouse science, organic farming and meat processing with a focus on small scale and urban agriculture. Students in the program can earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Sustainable Agriculture, the first of its kind in Arizona. The Sustainable Agriculture degree provides students with both the technical and small business skills needed to manage or develop a small farm or agricultural business. The center also offers free workshops and talks on urban farming to the public. Read an interview with Peter Conden, Program Director for Sustainable Agriculture here. Or visit the MCC Sustainable Agriculture website here.
In addition to college programs, private organizations offer training and certificates. Pictured to the left is the Youth Farm in Brooklyn, where high school students and young adults can learn to grow food. Interns in the program learn to propagate plants, build soil, and run a farm business. Interns receive hands-on training as they grow food, run the farmers market and sell products to local businesses. Upon completion, they are equipped to start and run their own profitable urban farms.
Where to Find Training Programs
Check with your local college or university to find a program near you. Additionally, check with local organizations that support urban agriculture, and with your university agriculture extension office. Or use the following links to locate academic programs in the US and Canada.
Sustainable Agriculture Education and Training Programs listing posted by the USDA
Academic Degree Programs listing posted by Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA)
Beginning Farmer Training Programs listing by BeginningFarmers.org