Fundamentals of Organic Agriculture
The economically-successful and ecologically-sustainable management of agroecosystems requires knowledge from multiple disciplines including botany, soil ecology, plant ecology, entomology, marketing, and small business management. Students will delve into all of these fields as they survey the theory and practice of cutting-edge organic vegetable production and marketing techniques including soil management, plant propagation, pest management, season extension, and direct marketing. Particular emphasis will be placed on planning, observation, and record-keeping with a constant eye on economic efficiency.
Integrated Production Systems
Small, highly-diverse farms must take advantage of multiple, systems-based synergies to replace the economies of scale and intense capital development available to larger agricultural operations. To do this, farmers must be able to integrate various farm components. This course will develop a systems-perspective of various farm components and help students understand how to integrate these components so as to increase profitability and decrease environmental impacts. Students will have the opportunity to work with and assess several integrated farm systems at Cerridwen Farm.
Sustainable Regional Food Systems
This is an interdisciplinary, advanced course in which students will experience, investigate, and evaluate first-hand the “alternative” sustainable local food system during peak agricultural production and marketing season. Participation in Cerridwen Farm's production system will enable students to study, literally hands-on, their food supply from field to fork. This will entail cultivation, selection, harvest, and preparation of seasonal produce; dairy animal care, hand-milking and cheese making; and even poultry processing from living animal to stewpot. Through designing and preparing menus, and sourcing non-Cerridwen Farm ingredients, students will become local food system consumers. In this capacity, they will assess and compare different, sometimes contradictory, nutritional models (vegan, vegetarian, traditional, “raw foods,” USDA-approved) that shape market demand. Additionally, the course will explore the wider foodshed via qualitative research (including interviews with farmers, chefs/cooks, food distributors and farmers’ market coordinators) and field site visits to local farms, markets, restaurants, and value-added processors.
Four, one-credit courses will be offered to summer intensive students aimed at the development of practical farm-and-food-related skills. These will include:
Food Safety: Within the context of the farm's commercial kitchen that students will use to prepare their own food as well as preserve food for sale, students will learn best practices in food preparation and processing as well as pertinent regulations.
Raw Milk Production: Students will learn the basics of running a small, raw-milk dairy including basic dairy cow management, milking procedure, and the laws and regulations for raw milk in Vermont.
Oxen Basics: Students will learn the fundamental skills needed to utilize oxen in farming including basic driving skills and strategies for using them effectively for haying and vegetable production.
The New Organic Grower, by Elliott Coleman
Weeds of the Northeast, by Uva, Neal and DiTomaso
Sharing the Harvest, by Elizabeth Henderson
Botany for Gardeners: An Introduction and Guide, by Brian Capon
Edible Forest Gardens, Vol. 1, by Dave Jacke
Manage Insects on Your Farm, by Altieri, Nicholls, and Fritz
Food, Agriculture, and Society, by Pimentel and Pimentel
Small Scale Livestock Farming, by Carol Ekarius
Haying with Horses, by Lynn Miller
The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir, by Amy Trubek
Additional readings will be taken from:
Food and Culture Reader, ed. by Carol Counihan
The Revolution Will not be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements, by Sandor Katz
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon
as well as works by John Elder, Bill McKibben, Gary Nabhan, Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, and Vandanna Shiva