HRT 251: Organic Farming Principles and Practices
Course Code: HRT 251
Credits and Offerings
- 3 credits
- Spring semester of every year
- Develop a deep understanding of the following principles and practices and how each relates to various organic farming systems and enterprises and be able to answer the following questions:
- Organic certification – why and how do farmers certify as organic? What practices are allowed, restricted or banned in organic production? What other certification options are available?
- Soils – What are the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of soil? What management practices can organic farmers use to build organic matter and ensure fertility, tilth, water retention and a healthy soil food web? How can one assess soil health?
- Farm Ecology - How can organic farmers manage farm biodiversity, crop rotations and plant health to ensure crop productivity and reduce weeds, pests & diseases?
- Enterprises – How are vegetables, fruit, grains, livestock and other farm enterprises managed on organic farms and educational gardens?
- Entrepreneurship – How do organic, sustainable and small farms fare financially? What opportunities, challenges and barriers exist for beginning and established farmers?
- Food & Farming Systems – What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in local, national and international food and farming systems? How can each of us have a positive impact on food and farming systems?
- Research organic farming topics and write fact sheets to explain farming practices in language that is accessible to farmers and farm advocates.
- Collaborate in groups to synthesize information from many fact sheets into a well-organized, fact-checked, visually engaging Guide to an organic farming topic, such as a collection of farm profiles or Guides to organic certification, cover crops, organic soil management practices, organic weed management, organic pest control strategies or organic crop production.
- Develop hands-on farming skills through service learning at the MSU Student Organic Farm.
- Demonstrate the ability to knowledgeably discuss organic and sustainable agriculture ideas and methods.
- Create 7 Organic Farming Fact Sheets
- Organic Farming System Guides Group Project and Presentation using information from 30 Fact Sheets
- 8 hours of Service Learning at the MSU Student Organic Farm
- Midterm and Exam