Agricultural sustainability is rooted in the viability of each individual farm. Ecologically and socially responsible farming practices can only be successful within the structure of a farm business that relies on effective resource management, efficient food production, and sales. Thus anyone interested in achieving sustainability through small scale, organic, local farming must first understand how farms function and then consider how to integrate sustainable practices to maximize positive impact. This course will consider the kinds of farming we see in our local area, and the guiding principles that farmers use to set up and structure their farming operations for success. Along the way, we will cover the sciences that inform farm management decisions and principles. Focus areas in farm management will be crop planning, crop rotation, soil fertility, insect and disease control, direct marketing, business structure/money management, cover crops, local/organic/sustainable/IPM, greenhouse management, winter production, and farm ecosystems. Focus areas in the sciences will be insect life cycles/ecology, soil science, plant physiology, and crop pathogens. Coursework will include visits to nearby farms, discussions, readings, short assignments/papers on specific topics, and the option for independent work. Jarrett Man is a current owner/manager of The Kitchen Garden, former manager of Stone Soup Farm and Red Fire Farm, and an alum of Hampshire.
|Course Objectives: |
To be comfortable and knowledgeable giving answers to the following questions:
- What are the on-farm practical differences between organic, IPM, conventional, local, and sustainable?
- What are the advantages of different business models for a farm? (Sole proprietorship, partnership, llc, s-corp, co-op)
- What is needed to have a healthy soil that can support a financially viable farm in the long run? What are some of the barriers for farmers in our area to achieving this?
- How do farms in our area plan their businesses to be able to provide a sustainable income?