Sustainable Food and Farming
Turn your Passion for Locally-Sourced Food
into a Career
100% Online: Concentration in Sustainable Food and Farming
A concentration in Sustainable Food and Farming is available to all programs.
- Improve your job readiness by learning additional skills necessary in today’s workplace, while working towards your undergraduate degree.
- Concentrations appear on your transcript and diploma so future employers know what skills you’ve acquired.
- One-on-one academic and professional advising Our world-class faculty and trained staff strive to make your professional and academic goals a reality.
- Unity College is an accredited institution by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
- Study when and where you want and finish your degree while still working full-time.
- Make professional connections with leaders in your field.
- Get job placement assistance through our career development department.
- Eight start dates per year
To obtain this concentration, complete the following courses:
SUFA 201 Farm to Table: Exploring Food Production Systems
This course will explore organic food production systems using the three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental, and social justice. Topics will focus on small-scale organic production but will compare and contrast it to other production systems. Discussions will cover the scientific and cultural underpinnings of sustainable and organic food production to develop the critical thinking and observation skills necessary to grow food using ecologically informed methods. Students will explore the farm management and business skills necessary to operate a small-scale farm. The focus will be on farm and business planning, crop physiology, storage techniques, seed-saving practices, and cover crops. Students will learn record-keeping practices, alternative crop-production systems, techniques for adding value to farm products, hand-tool use and maintenance and farm equipment safety.
SUFA 203 Sustainable Farm Management
Students in this course will study environmentally and socially sustainable enterprises to learn about management strategies for running a farming or food-based operation. Discussion will include farm management strategies, such as lean management strategies for farm operations and food establishments. We will also discuss business opportunities within all aspects of the greater food system. How does organic certification, Food Safety Moderation Act (FSMA) and other government regulatory requirements affect a business model? What infrastructure is needed? What is the role of County Extension, conservation districts, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)? Students will also study social purpose corporations and other forms of business ownership. Students will study the parts of a business plan, competitive business model, and a solid strategic plan. They will consider marketing, accounting, human resources, and strategic planning. Students will learn how to estimate taxes, do break-even analysis, calculate payroll costs and prepare pro forma financial statements.
SUFA 301 Production Systems: Permaculture, Greenhouses, Irrigation, and Ecological Design
In this course, students will learn quantitative and hands-on skills needed to measure, calculate, and work with sun and shade patterns, greenhouses, solar energy systems, passive solar structures, water-capture and irrigation systems, soil tests and plant nutrients, composting systems, seeding rates, planting densities, and yields for annual crops, cold storage, and natural building materials. Students will understand practical math skills appropriate to sustainable farming systems and ecological design. Topics include soil science, nutrient management, and crop botany, introduction to animal husbandry, successional crop planning, season extension, and the principles and practice of composting. Students will work together to design a food production system that takes into account solar energy, water management, irrigation design, disease, and weed and insect pest management.