Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ag students get hands-on experience

Blair van Pelt holds a baby goat at Monteillet Fromagerie, which makes goat and sheep cheese.

Over spring break, 32 students in an online sustainable agriculture class got together in the Walla Walla Valley to learn about sustainable food systems.
WSU assistant research professor Kevin Murphy led his Agriculture and Food Systems 445/545 class on the weeklong field trip. The class visited a winery, cider house, slaughterhouse, and an onion farm.
“We visited quite the variety of mills, food production centers, co-ops, and farms,” Murphy said. “The farms we visited ranged in size from a couple acres to 40,000 acres.” More...
The purpose of the class is to explore food production techniques in the Walla Walla region, and to understand how to apply sustainable agriculture methods, Murphy said.
“This field trip is the central element to the whole class,” Murphy said. “You can learn a lot by reading and lecture, but you learn a lot more by actually visiting these farms and talking to the farmers about what they are doing.”
“It really did a great job of framing all the concepts we were learning about within the bigger picture,” student William Henderson said. “I really learned a lot.”
Students can now apply for summer and fall online organic agriculture classes. Internships, required to complete the organic agriculture certificate, are also available. For more information, go to the Web site.

By Kathryn R. Sullivan/CAHNRS Marketing and News intern

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