Curriculum Development for Organic Horticulture: Introduction

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  • 1 Michigan State University, Department of Horticulture, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • 2 Iowa State University, Departments of Horticulture and Agronomy, Ames, IA 50011.
  • 3 Kansas State University, K-State Research and Extension Center, Olathe, KS 66061.
  • 4 Oregon State University, Department of Horticulture, Corvallis, OR 97331.
  • 5 University of Florida, Horticultural Sciences Department, Gainesville, FL 32611.
  • 6 Rutgers University, Rutgers Research and Extension, Monmouth County, Freehold, NJ 07728.

As organic agriculture continues to grow, pressure from students and the public to develop novel curricula to address specific needs of this sector of agriculture also will increase. More students from the cities and with limited background in production agriculture are enrolling in agricultural programs with special interest in organic production. This new student population is demanding new curricula based on a better understanding of agroecology principles and more experiential training. Several universities throughout the nation have engaged in a profound curriculum transformation to satisfy the emerging need of students in organic production. This workshop was organized to bring together experts that are working on different organic and sustainable agriculture curricula throughout the country to share their experiences and lessons learned. Most of these curricula include a traditional classroom teaching component, a major experiential component, a student farm for hands-on experience and internships, and in some cases a marketing—typically a community supported agriculture (CSA)—component. Others programs are more extension oriented, providing applied training to growers outside of the university teaching curriculum.

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