The certificate in Sustainable Food Systems offers a practical, hands-on learning experience in the rapidly growing field of small-scale local/urban agriculture. Students will learn how to grow, harvest and market sustainably grown produce in urban and suburban environments by engaging in traditional and online hybrid courses coupled with hands-on lab and field experiences. Foundational courses in soil and plant sciences, greenhouse production, integrated pest management and sustainable landscape practices will provide the groundwork from which other courses will be built. This certificate program is geared towards individuals with interests in growing healthy and nutritious food, based on organic and sustainable methods and a strong desire to engage both mind and body while working in an outdoor environment.
Sustainable Food Crop Production (LAHT2040)
This course is designed to introduce students to sustainable practices in food crop production including the identification of both annual and perennial species suitable for growing in the upper mid-west, propagation techniques, cultural requirements, harvesting and storage techniques and procedures and regulations involved in bringing food crops to market. Through both lecture and hands-on experiences in the campus greenhouse and farm, students will plan their own garden layout, create crop production calendars, and propagate the crops they plan to grow on the campus farm. Students participating in the on-campus internship will also have the opportunity to see their crop production plans through to harvest and sale.
Intro to Sustainable Food Systems (LAHT1700)
This course explores agricultural systems from early history through current practices and beyond with an emphasis on emergent trends in urban agriculture and local food production. Students will gain an historical perspective in the development of agricultural systems, the socioeconomic influences driving our modern day food systems and its impact on human health and the environment. The emphasis of this course will be on the exploration and investigation of current methodologies in urban agriculture through research of case studies allowing students the opportunity to sharpen research skills while focusing on areas of particular interest.
Permaculture Based Food Systems Design (LAHT2020)
This course explores Permaculture-based design principles and their application to the small-scale homestead or urban farm. Through research and hands-on design studio exercises students will learn how to design small-scale food systems in urban environments that mimic the resiliency and abundance of natural ecosystems. Students will learn techniques for gathering and organizing critical site information in preparation of the site analysis, program development and a successful design solution. Information and skills learned in this course will be synthesized in a final design project for the student's own homestead or urban farm.
Infrastructure for Sustainable Food Systems (LAHT1740)
This course introduces students to the multitude of manmade and natural structures essential to the successful production of food crops including soil building and bed preparation, raised beds, trellising and other means of plant support, water catchment and irrigation systems, structures for season extension and protection from garden predators. Through hands-on exercises and projects, students will learn about the materials, tools and techniques used in their construction and upkeep.