Education and Outreach in Sustainable Agriculture

When Spring Valley Ecofarm was established on an abandoned and degraded cotton farm in 1993, it opened an opportunity for students interested in growing food that was fresh from the farm and not contaminated with chemicals. First we developed a short course in organic agriculture, and later a 12 week summer course that allowed students to experience a full cycle of crop production.

CLICK HERE  to download/view the first full summer organic agriculture class (this is a large Powerpoint file and may take a few minutes to download/open).

 Pictured below: "Maymester” Course in Organic Agriculture, circa 2005

Soon, undergraduates in several ecology courses were visiting the farm for laboratory sessions, as well as groups from regional colleges.

Pictured at right: Tour for Teaching Assistants

When the College of Agriculture began their “Certificate in Organic Agriculture” Program in 2008, the Spring Valley course was one of the electives.  Spring Valley was unique in that

  • the role of poultry, pigs, cattle, and horses were included as part of the nutrient cycle in sustainable farms
  • the course was given for 12 weeks during the summer when problems of insect pests, disease, and weeds are at their highest.

Graduate students became involved in our programs, and received their Ph.D. degrees from research done on the farm.

Pictured below: Study of N-15 dynamics in Amorpha fruticosa

We gave tours to local groups, K-12 classes, church groups, YMCA programs, and retirement organizations.

Agroforestry Conference

Guest Lectures

School Groups

Church Groups

Although the organic agriculture course is no longer given, more than 1000 undergraduate students still  visit the farm each year as part of their lab exercises for several ecology courses.

Pictured at right: Dr. Jordan and students after presenting their research titled “An Agroecology Toolbox” at the 2007 Georgia Organics conference.

CLICK HERE  to download/view a Powerpoint version of the Agroecology Toolbox document. (This is a large file and may take a few minutes to download/open).

 
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