Developing an Interdisciplinary Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Curriculum at the University of Florida

in HortTechnology
Authors:
James J. FergusonHorticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville.

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Elizabeth LambHorticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Indian River Research and Education Center, Ft. Pierce.

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Mickie SwisherFamily, Youth, and Community Services Department, University of Florida, Gainesville.

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With funding to increase support for organic farming research at land grant universities, organic growers have collaborated with faculty and administrators to develop an undergraduate, interdisciplinary minor at the University of Florida. Required introductory courses focus on general concepts of organic and sustainable farming, alternative cropping systems, production programs, handling, and marketing issues. An advanced horticulture course requires intensive examination of certification procedures, farm plans, soil fertility, and crop management, all of which are integrated into a required field project. Extension faculty have also fostered development of this new curriculum by coordinating regional workshops and field days in collaboration with organic growers and by developing educational materials on organic certification and related issues.

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