SAG 397 Apprenticeship in Sustainable Agriculture provides students with hands-on experience working on a diverse organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce farm and marketing the produce in the local community ((http://ukcsa.wordpress.com).  Students receive training across the full range of production and marketing activities under the guidance of the Course Coordinator and the professional staff of the farm management team.  Apprentices also have opportunities to interact and learn from researchers at the Horticultural Research Farm. By overlapping academic semesters, SAG 397 introduces students to the seasonal nature of market gardening and affords them a broader range of experiences.  This fall-registered course is required for all majors and minors in the program and work typically begins in April and continues until November. In addition to working on our farm there are opportunities to work on other area farms and gain experience in other sustainably managed systems, such as livestock and agronomic crops.

Through 15 weekly lectures during the summer and 200 hours of hands-on farm work spread across the growing season, students are trained in a comprehensive array of production practices including seed germination and transplanting, irrigation, soil fertility and maintenance, pest management and equipment operation and maintenance.  In addition, student responsibilities include the weekly harvest, preparation and delivery of produce to CSA members during the growing season. It is expected that students work ~4-6 hours per week during the semester and ~10-15 hours per week during the summer. Students arrange their work schedule with the Course Coordinator and CSA Manager. Students taking SAG 397 must be prepared to work reliably and safely under the physically demanding conditions experienced on a commercial farm.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

 ~ Develop and apply the fundamental skills needed to establish and maintain a small to medium scale organic produce production system including seedling establishment, fertility management, pest control, harvest, and equipment operation and maintenance.

 ~ Understand how the CSA model functions and gain direct marketing experience by participating in the weekly delivery of shares to CSA members.

 ~ Serve as a responsible and productive member of a work crew that sets goals, shares responsibilities, coordinates activities, follows through on commitments, and meets objectives.

 ~ Express in oral form the technical knowledge and personal insight gleaned during the apprenticeship experience.

 ~ Convey a working knowledge of organic production and the certification process, and identify significant management issues for converting a conventional management system to a certified organic system.

If you need more information you can contact the course coordinator Mark Williams at mark.williams@uky.edu.