Sustainable Agriculture – Resources & Courses

We just received an awesome email through the COMFOOD listserv at Tufts University, so we thought we would share it with you all. Big thanks to MOSES team for putting this together.

It’s an outline of the premiere Sustainable Agriculture resources & courses in the US at the moment.  It’s a window into the Production & Distribution sector of our food system – one that is crying out for more farmers with a focus on sustainable land use practices.  So, if you’re thinking of going back to school, getting a crash course online, or delving deeper into what sustainable agriculture looks like in c21st – here’s your guide. You can also find out more about existing resources in our Tips & Tricks for Local Food distribution here.


Agro-Ecology & Sustainable Ag. Program (ASAP)
U of I Urbana-Champaign, W503 Turner Hall, MC-047, 1102 S Goodwin Ave   Urbana, IL
217-333-9471 fax 217-244-3219
Facilitates and promotes research and education which protects Illinois natural and human resources and sustains agricultural production.

Black Hawk College
26230 Black Hawk Road   Galva, IL
309-854-1722 fax 309-856-5601
Exploring the use of sound agricultural practices to produce and market alternative agricultural crops. Offers courses and operates a four acre production program that follows USDA organic certification guidelines through certifying agent, Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA).

Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS)
1535 Observatory Drive   Madison, WI
608-262-8018 fax 608-265-3020
A sustainable agriculture research center at UW-Madison that brings together farmers, researchers, and policy makers to study farming practices and profitability.

Indian Hills Community College
721 N First Street   Centerville, IA
641-856-2143 fax 641-856-3158
This program is designed to provide area landowners, farmers, and young adults with access to land the entrepreneurial skills necessary to start a new or further develop an existing land-based business, and/or gain employment in an agriculturally related field.

Iowa State University, Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture (GPSA)
253 Bessey Hall   Ames, IA
515-294-6518 fax 515-294-1337
The first program to offer the MS and PhD in sustainable agriculture, the GPSA emphasizes experiential learning through an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students acquire depth of knowledge as well as systems-level thinking while pursuing advanced research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Iowa State University, Dept of Agronomy
1126J Agronomy Hall   Ames, IA
515-294-3846 fax 515-294-8146
Agronomy at ISU is dedicated to maintaining a systems approach to agriculture. Our undergraduate program in Agronomy includes an Agroecology option that has been of high interest to students who want to study organic and sustainable agriculture.

Iowa State University, Organic Ag Program
106 Horticulture Hall   Ames, IA
515-294-7069 fax 515-294-0730
Dr. Delate’s position in ISU Extension is devoted to organic agriculture. ISU Extension also offers fact sheets and other materials on sustainable agriculture.

Lake Land College
5001 Lake Land Blvd   Mattoon, IL
217-234-5569 fax 217-234-5200
This program is designed for students planning a career in alternative agriculture production. Emphasis on the fundamentals of agroecology, incorporation of biological pest management, and sustainable crop and livestock production along with the concepts of direct marketing.

Maharishi University of Management, Sustainable Living Dept
Dr Keith Wallace Drive   Fairfield, IA
641-472-7000 x 1109 fax 641-472-1235
A rapidly expanding sustainable living undergraduate program gives students understanding and skills to develop sustainable systems and communities to create a more sustainable world. Courses cover policy, renewable energy, ecology, organic and community supported agriculture, and green design and building, etc.

Marshalltown Community College – Entrepreneurial & Diversified Agriculture Program
3700 S. Center Street   Marshalltown, IA
This program offers one year certificates and two year degrees. Included on campus is a 140 acre farm used for demonstration to students and new farmers who wish to begin farming on site.

Michigan State University Extension
303 Natural Resources CAARS   East Lansing, MI
517-353-3543 fax 517-353-3834
The C.S. Mott Group at MSU engages communities in applied research and outreach that promote sustainable food systems to improve access to and availability of healthy, locally-produced food. There is a focus on organic farming approaches for vegetables and field crops.

Michigan State University W.K. Kellogg Biological Station
3700 E Gull Lake Drive   Hickory Corners, MI
269-671-2341 fax 269-671-2351
Year-round biological field station conducting research on the ecology of managed and unmanaged systems that supports educational and extension/outreach programs, including sustainable agricultural practices for row-crop production (conventional and organic), cover crops, grazed pastures, and biofuels.

Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA)
1991 Upper Buford Circle   St Paul, MN
612-625-8235 fax 612-625-1268
Bringing together the diverse interests of the agricultural community and the University to promote sustainable agriculture.

North Dakota State University – Carrington Research Extension Center
PO Box 219   Carrington, ND
701-652-2951 fax 701-652-2055
Researches crop and animal ecosystems to help family farms maintain profitability. Specializing in ruminants and all crop production.

North Dakota State University – Dickinson Research Extension Center
1041 State Avenue   Dickinson, ND
701-483-2348 ext. 113 fax 701-483-2073
SARE state coordinator for both North and South Dakotas.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
2740 W Mason St, PO Box 19042   Green Bay, WI
Offers accredited, on-line and in-person courses to gain skills in organic agriculture. Courses were developed through process that includes expert farmers working in organics. The courses take you through step-by-step learning with printed materials, short lectures, media, demos, and classroom discussion.

University of California – Santa Cruz – Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
1156 High Street   Santa Cruz, CA
831-459-3240 fax 831-459-2799
A six-month, full time education program held at the 25-acre Farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Course includes classroom instruction, in-field training, and hands-on experience in the gardens, greenhouses, orchards, fields, and marketing outlets.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Crop Sciences
1201 W Gregory Dr   Urbana, IL
217-621-7974 fax 217-333-4582
Developing research and outreach programs on cover cropping, weed management in organic farming systems. Coordinating on-farm research, organic farm tours.

University of Minnesota-Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC)
23669 130th St   Lamberton, MN
507-752-7372 fax 507-752-5097
The U of MN’s Organic Ecology Program explores the science of organic agriculture through on-farm and experiment station research; variety trials; organic field days; workshops; publications; and the Organic Ecology website.

University of Minnesota, Applied Plant Sciences Graduate Program
1991 Upper Buford Circle   St. Paul, MN
612-625-4742 fax 612-625-1268
Biological solutions to real-world problems come to life in the Applied Plant Sciences graduate program. We offer Undergraduate, Minor, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in one or more of the following specializations: Sustainable Agriculture; Agronomy/Agroecology; Horticultural Science; Plant Breeding/Molecular Genetics; Applied Plant Sciences.

University of Wisconsin – Madison, Agroecology Program
1525 Observatory Dr   Madison, WI
We seek to foster the development of the facilitators, researchers, and practitioners of a more equitable and resource-efficient agriculture. Our curriculum addresses agriculture as the simultaneously biophysical and social enterprise that it is.

University of Wisconsin – River Falls, Plant & Earth Science Dept
410 S 3rd St   River Falls, WI
715-425-3941 fax 715-425-3785
UWRF’s Sustainable Agriculture option within the Crop and Soil Science major promotes land productivity, environmental stewardship, economic practicality and rural community viability. Two relevant minors are now available to students as well: Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Studies.


University of Minnesota Duluth – Continuing Education
104 Darland Administration Bldg, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812-3011
The Sustainable Food Systems certificate is self paced and equivalent to 50 hours. This includes the time it takes to read, view and apply the concepts through the activities provided in each module. If you register for the certificate you will have access to the website for one year after registration. If you register for individual modules, you will have access for six months. If you are unable to complete the certificate / modules within these timeframes, your access will be cancelled and you must re-register if you wish to continue.

FastCoExist “World Changing Ideas & Innovation” features Bucky Box

Things are a’bubble here in the office in Wellington this morning as the Fast Company article on Bucky Box went live last night.

Fast-Company magazine's blog FastCoExist which features 'World Changing Ideas & Innovation' features Bucky BoxWe arrived at work to find the twitter feed was ticking over happily with RT of the FastCoExist piece on Bucky Box’s software for a better food system.


FastCoExist is one of our favourite reads. It provides daily news on ‘World Changing Ideas & Innovation’, many of them businesses working for a better world.  It’s a great feeling to be part of that club.


Bucky Box is working on the new operating system for emerging local food systems. We’re open for beta testing in invite-only form. Feel free to share the word to local food distributors you think might be interested.

Creating the operating system for a new emerging local food system - Bucky BoxCreating the new operating system for local food isn’t just about supporting what’s going out in the market, it goes much bigger & broader than that, it reaches into the future.  We see what has happened in the last 30-40 years in our global food systems as a step backwards in environmental & social standards which have borrowed from our future. We’ve created a more fragile food system with less resilience, and now the pressures are beginning to mount up : population growth, soil health, water quality, climate change adaptation, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem functions which are vital to our survival.  All the research points toward moving to sustainable food production, distribution & consumption, which largely means small scale farms (not industrial-scale mono-cropping), regenerative farming techniques (not chemical farming which destroys our soils) and regional food systems (not industrialized supply chains).  We see a better way, and Bucky Box is our first step in making that vision a reality.


Not only are we creating cutting-edge software for the local food movement, but our social enterprise structure means that we’re going to be putting a minimum of 66% of our profits back into the movement itself through our partnerships with local food systems researchers, advocates, educators & practitioners. More to come on that matter soon, so connect with us at @buckybox and be the first to hear.

Local & Friendly Food Champion Showcase: The 30 Project

We’re extremely pleased to announce the fifth in a stream of partnerships with local & friendly food champions!

The 30 Project is a think + do tank for changing the food systemWe are big fans of the work the 30 Project have done already, and inspired by their vision to ‘be a think + do tank for changing the food system‘.

The 30 Project addresses the food distribution problem - 1 billion people are hungry, 1 billion are overweightThey aim to tackle the food distribution problem – 1 billion obese, 1 billion starving.  Through initiatives such as the FEED Project and now ChangeDinner, the 30 Project aims to “bring together key organizations and activists working around the world on addressing hunger, obesity, and agriculture issues to talk about their visions for the food system and the next 30-years. Many of the best anti-hunger and anti-obesity organizations have been so focused on their important work that they have not been able to work together on common challenges. The 30 Project is gathering the best people together to work towards creating a truly healthy and sustainable global food system.”

If you haven’t already seen Ellen Gustafson, the founder of 30 Project, speaking at TEDxEAST – here’s her 10 minutes of passion & purpose:

You can support 30 Project directly here, Follow @the30Project on Twitter, or dive into some of the Change Dinner videos like this one:

#ChangeDinner today!

The Change Dinner campaign from 30 ProjectThe back story: in the early stages here at Bucky Box we decided to forego any marketing budget, and instead work with the best of the local & friendly food champions around the world and give our customers the chance to nominate where these funds will go. We see that these are the individuals & organisations who are making significant headway in catalysing, educating & advocating for a fair, friendly, local food system. We support their work to the hilt.