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Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Permalink What information can you give me on college programs and careers in sustainable agriculture?


Answer: I am pleased to provide you with a few resources to assist you in seeking and following a dynamic career in sustainable and ecological agriculture. I have listed several organizations and colleges below that offer programs in this area, as well as the contact information for getting on the COMFOOD listserve, which is a professional email discussion list that includes academics, food system activists, non-profits, schools, farmers, educators, and policy makers, definitely an exciting list to be a part of. Often times apprenticeship opportunities and job openings are announced on the listserve.

Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships

This directory of on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture in the U.S. (and some in Canada) has been published since 1989 as a tool to help farmers and apprentices connect with each other. The listed farms are primarily seeking interns/apprentices from North America.


Center for Whole Communities – Knoll Farm
700 Bragg Hill Rd
Fayston, VT 05673
(802) 496-5690
Programs include Whole Thinking Forums, Vision and Values Workshops, and Measures of Health – an ethically-based, community-oriented standard on why and for whom land is conserved.

Heifer Project International
1 World Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72202
Promotes sustainable development worldwide using livestock and sound environmental practices. Heifer Ranch is a 1200-acre, hands-on educational facility offering internships and volunteer opportunities in livestock, organic gardening, community supported agriculture, beekeeping, agroforestry, and environmental education. Learning centers in Arkansas, California, and Massachusetts; study tours.

New England Small Farm Institute – The Explorer Program
275 Jackson St.
Belchertown, MA 01007
The Explorer Program is intended for those who are considering farming. Its purpose is to help pre-venture, aspiring farmers learn what it would take to start and mange their own commercial agricultural businesses, and decide whether this is a path they really want to take. Its workbook and supporting resources are designed for use in a variety of learning settings: introductory workshops, formal four-session courses, and independent or guided self-study. Created as a decision-making tool, Explorer can help you establish the clear vision and goals you will need to guide a new agricultural venture.

The Intervale
180 Intervale Road
Burlington, Vermont 05401
To develop farm-and land-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources, through farms programs, community kitchens, farmstead renovation, and farm to school programs.

The Pfeiffer Center for Biodynamics and Environmental Education

260 Hungry Hollow Road
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977
845-352-5020, ext. 20
Instruction in biodynamic gardening, and organic beekeeping. Workshops, lectures, and courses, including weekend seminars. Training for teachers on how to teach developmental gardening to children. Garden planning and consulting for schools and groups. Internships available.

Agricultural Colleges, Departments, and Courses

The Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture
The Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture provides training in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale farming. This full-time program is held at the Center's 25-acre Farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UCSC campus. Run in conjunction with UCSC Extension, the Apprenticeship course carries 20 units of Extension credit for the approximately 300 hours of classroom instruction and 700 hours of in-field training and hands-on experience in the greenhouses, gardens, orchards, and fields. Tuition for the six-month course is $3,750. CASFS – UC Santa Cruz, 1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064, 831-459-3240

Agroecology Program, University of Wyoming

Department of Plant, Soil, & Environmental Sciences, University of Maine

Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University

Sustainable Agriculture Emphasis Area, University of Missouri-Columbia

Sustainable Agriculture Major, Sterling College, Vermont

Sustainable Agriculture Program, Central Carolina Community College

Sustainable and Entrepreneurial Agriculture Program, Marshalltown Community College, Iowa

Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, University of California at Santa Cruz

Agroecology Home, Univeristy of California at Santa Cruz

Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, Washington State University

Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program, University of Illinois

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (UC-SAREP)

Agriculture and Landscape Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Agroecosystems Management Program, Ohio State University

Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University

Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society (PEAS), University of Montana

Interdisciplinary Studies Program in Organic Agriculture, Colorado State University

COMFOOD Listserve

COMFOOD is an electronic mail list created to link individuals and organizations involved with or interested in community food security (CFS). The server provides a forum for CFS-related topics. Groups and individuals use this server to share information, to discuss issues, to make technical assistance inquiries, and to share documents that are of interest to subscribers. Educational and professional opportunities are also posted as they become available.

The USDA maintains a list of Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture on the National Agricultural Library's AFSIC program Web site. It includes college and university programs (but not on-farm programs). The list was last updated in December 2006.



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