The Sustainable Small Farm Agriculture program at Skagit Valley College provides students and community members with knowledge and skills in agroecological sciences, natural resource management, and environmental conservation. With an emphasis on ‘small farm’ agriculture in the Puget Sound bioregion, this program trains participants to sustainably manage production and operations as the underpinning of a resilient and local food system. SVC is a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) Collaborative and partners with Seattle Central College (SCC), Edmonds Community College (ECC), Washington State University (WSU), and other higher education institutions and farm and food system organizations and enterprises in an effort to provide diverse educational and training opportunities in sustainable agriculture and related fields. Students may substitute SVC SAgE courses with SCC SAgE or ECC SAgE courses, given Department Chair approval, if alternative SAgE courses are better suited to meet education or career goals.
As a leading producer of diversified vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats, the Washington State agricultural industry and workforce play an important role in the regional economy while maintaining food security and advancing sustainable agriculture. Over the last two decades, for example, Washington organic farmland acreage and food sales and direct market sales have increased exponentially alongside a growing agricultural employment sector that is expanding the ‘green-collar’ job market. These trends are most evident in the Puget Sound bioregion and especially among the agriculturally productive counties where SAgE colleges are located, such as Skagit County where over 1,200 farms and 180 agriculture-related businesses employ approximately 5,000 people and account for the greatest increase in sustainable small farm agricultural practices. For further information about the SVC SAgE program and associated education to career pathways, contact the Department Chair.
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Environmental Sustainable Agriculture program will be able to:
- Describe the ecological principles that support agroecosystems at different geographic and economic scales, including the significance of plant diversity and soil properties and processes to terrestrial ecosystems and human societies.
- Select and grow bioregionally appropriate vegetable, bush, and tree crops according to their site-specific growth and cultural requirements within polycultural intercropping, succession planting, crop rotation, and season extension systems.
- Design, plan, and operate a small farm agricultural enterprise from greenhouse propagation to local direct market sales through the development and implementation of whole farm management and business plans.
- Discuss how the emergence, growth, and practice of small farm agriculture affect the sustainability of local and global food systems, and how those systems, in turn, relate to associated fields in natural resource management and environmental conservation.
- Demonstrate a synthesis of existing and new knowledge and skills and the ability to work as part of a team and independently within a sustainable agriculture internship, practicum, or research work environment.
Entry into the Program
Please apply at Enrollment Services. Students are generally admitted in Fall or Winter quarters. It is highly recommended that students have completed their pre-college coursework before entry. However, students with relevant work experience or equivalent coursework may be admitted at other times, given Department Chair approval. Advanced standing may be requested. For further information, contact the Department Chair or Enrollment Services.
Associate in Applied Science Transfer (AAS-T) Degree
The Environmental Sustainable Agriculture Education, AAS-T degree is awarded upon completion of the Sustainable Small Farm Agriculture & Food Systems curriculum with a minimum of 90 credits of specified technical and related education coursework above 100-level with both an overall 2.0 grade point average and a 2.0 grade point average in the technical major. Entry into a baccalaureate program at a four-year college or university will generally require a higher GPA for admission.
This AAS-T degree provides a theoretical foundation in small farm agriculture through the study of environmental sustainability principles, ecology in agricultural systems, and plant and soil sciences. There is also a practical hands-on focus on sustainable small farm agriculture production and enterprises. The production emphasis trains students to cultivate organic food crops for year-round production and harvest in the maritime climate of the Puget Sound bioregion. The enterprises emphasis trains students to design, plan, and operate agriculture systems relevant to small farm environments-including the development of whole farm management and business plans and associated best agricultural practices tailored to local direct market enterprises. Students explore career options and apply knowledge, skills, and techniques through internship, practicum, or research experience. General Education courses prepare students for transfer to a four-year college or university, while Diversity Intensive, Integrative Learning Experience, and Elective courses build upon program requirements to provide further training in natural resource management and environmental conservation practices associated with sustainable small farm agriculture and food systems.
The Sustainable Small Farm Agriculture & Food Systems AAS-T degree transfers into the following programs:
- Washington State University, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural & Food Systems, Organic Agriculture Systems major
- Skagit Valley College, Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Conservation
- The Evergreen State College, Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Agriculture
This AAS-T degree is a professional/technical degree that requires a core of general education courses commonly accepted for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. All students who intend to transfer should talk with a four-year college or university advisor to review specific admission requirements. Transfer into the WSU Bachelor of Science in Agricultural & Food Systems is available in western Washington at the WSU-Everett campus and eastern Washington at the WSU-Pullman campus.
These certificates focus on a specific skill within this program. A certificate is awarded to students who complete requirements with a 2.0 grade point average or above.
Degrees, Certificates & Courses
CoursesEnvironmental Sustainable Agriculture Education