Goal: Understanding the organic process from the crop farmer and the certified inspector points of view.
1) ORGANIC HISTORY
Students presented with social, economic, and ecological consequences of the modern, industrial agriculture paradigm. Topics include history of agriculture, worldviews, the sustainability concept, organic agriculture systems, world food systems, and local food systems.
2) FIVE STEPS TO ORGANIC CERTIFICATION
Students will learn how organic farming differs from conventional, contrasting factors in a conventional vs. organic farm system operation.
Students will gain an understanding of the parameters of USDA organic label.
3) ORGANIC OVERVIEW/ORGANIC SYSTEM PLAN
Introduction to sustainable and organic agriculture definitions, concepts, principles under the governance of USDA Agriculture Marketing Service, National Organic Program
4) PROHIBITED, ALLOWED SUBSTANCES: NATIONAL LIST Review of National List; record keeping requirements for documenting prevention of contamination, commingling, w/GMOs and prohibited substances.
5) SOIL FERTILITY, SOIL HEALTH
Relationship between the USDA organic regulations and sustainable soil management. Role of organic agriculture in a sustainable food systems model.
7) ORGANIC SEEDS (CROPS ROTATION, COVER CROPS)
Like other organic products, seeds used in organic agriculture can’t be genetically engineered or treated with prohibited substances.
8) WEEDS CONTROL AND DISEASES (§205.206)
Weeds happen. Students will be introduced to a broad spectrum of important factors that comprise weed-control strategies including soil conditions, weather, crop rotation, cover crops markets and specific market quality demands, and available time and labor.
9) CROP PEST, WEED, DISEASE MANAGEMENT PRACTICE
History of pest management, including development of I-Pest-M strategies, tactics and how they are utilized in ecologically based pest management programs.
10) POST HARVEST HANDLING, LABELING, COMMINGLING
The instant a crop is removed from the ground, or separated from its parent plant, it begins to deteriorate. Under organic production, growers harvest and market their produce at or near peak ripeness more commonly than in many conventional systems.
11) RECORD KEEPING
Record keeping is required certified operations, production, harvesting, post-harvest handling products; require full transparency of all activities and transactions of the certified operation in what USDA defined as “in sufficient detail as to be readily understood and audited.”
12) SUPERVISED AGRICULTURE EXPERIENCE (SAE) REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE
Gaining real life experience in regulated techniques, methods, standards in with emphasis on the Organic System Plan and record keeping, and other aspects of diversified farm management and maintenance. Include a mock Inspection experience at the school’s farm.