Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS)

Teaching Organic Farming & Gardening: Resources for Instructors

Over the past 35 years, instructors at the University of California, Santa Cruz have taught organic farming and gardening skills to more than a thousand apprentices through the UCSC Farm & Garden Apprenticeship program. Teaching Organic Farming & Gardening: Resources for Instructors draws on that 35 years of experience to offer teaching resources based on many of the skills and concepts taught during the six-month Apprenticeship training program.

Published by the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, the 600-page manual covers practical aspects of organic farming and gardening, applied soil science, and social and environmental issues in agriculture. Units contain lecture outlines for instructors and detailed lecture outlines for students, field and laboratory demonstrations, assessment questions, and annotated resource lists. Although much of the material has been developed for field or garden demonstrations and skill building, most of the units can also be tailored to a classroom setting.

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Insructors

For farmers, growing crops is just one step in running a successful farm—making the farm or market garden economically viable requires another suite of skills, including finding land, planning what crops to grow, marketing the crops, and managing income and expenses.

Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors is organized into six units, three focusing on marketing and three covering other topics related to making a small farm economically viable. Included are lessons and resources for running a CSA project, selling at farmers' markets, forming collaborative marketing groups and grower cooperatives, and selling to restaurants. Also covered are strategies to improve small farm planning, including enterprise visioning and market assessment; creating a business plan, including marketing and crop plans; and managing cash flow. Land tenure options such as cash-rent leases from non-profits, shared ownership models, conservation easements, and community land trusts are reviewed as additional mechanisms for addressing the complex issue of the economic viability of small-scale agriculture. This resource also reviews the trends and factors that influence small-scale agriculture's economics, and provides an overview of produce marketing in the U.S.

Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture Curriculum

Image Credit: Francisco LasoIn creating this online resource, the CASFS has reviewed hundreds of resources—textbooks, popular books, web sites, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more—to identify the highest-quality and most relevant materials on sustainable agriculture available. Whether you’re teaching a 2-hour community gardening workshop on irrigation or a semester-long college course on the social and environmental impacts of agriculture, this resource will help you locate the best materials to meet your instructional needs.

CASFS has also developed a catalogue description and outline for a comprehensive course on sustainable agriculture, appropriate for the community college, state college, or university level. The Course Outline includes topics in social and environmental sciences; plant, soil, crop, and animal sciences; pest management; natural resource management; the adoption of sustainable agriculture; and the growth and development of sustainable agriculture and the organic food industry.

About the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Research, education, and public service program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system.