HORT3131: Student Organic Farm Planning, Growing, and Marketing

3 Credits

Organic fruit and vegetable production has been one of the fastest growing segments of the US economy for almost two decades, stimulating an overwhelming number of biological and ecological innovations to produce food using organic approaches. This course aims to increase student's knowledge of ecological concepts as applied to managing organic systems, with an emphasis on soil nutrient cycles and plant-soil-microbe interactions that serve as the cornerstone of organic systems. Students in this course will learn tools needed to manage an organic diversified vegetable operation. The course consists of two components. The lecture session is designed to help students think about concepts and principles that are useful in planning and managing production strategies on organic farms. We spend a significant amount of our time reviewing soil nutrient cycling and its critical importance for organic farms, including how to effectively use soil and organic nutrient inputs such as cover crops, manure and fertilizers, to provide vegetable crops with the nutrients they need to grow. We also learn about successful marketing strategies for organic produce. Finally, near the end of the semester we will discuss pest management, including both weeds and disease/insect pests, and compare different tillage options available to organic producers. What we learn is then applied to planning next year's season of the UMN student organic farm. Throughout, we will use case studies, guest speakers, games, and active learning discussion approaches to move these classroom sessions \"beyond the lecture\" and allow students to engage with the material in a meaningful way. The lab is designed to allow a space to put into action some of the concepts students learn in lecture, including soil organic matter analysis, microgreen propagation, calculation of organic fertilizer rates, and operation of driven and walk-behind tractors.

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All Instructors

B+ Average (3.496)Most Common: A (45%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

118 students
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  • 4.69


  • 4.64


  • 4.50


  • 4.56



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