EdCC offers program on sustainable agriculture

LYNNWOOD — When looking for a job, just look down.

That’s the advice of Jason Niebler, director of Edmonds Community College’s new Sustainable Agriculture Education program.

“Growing food can happen in residential and community gardens, rooftops, even parking lots,” Niebler said. “There is nothing but opportunity. We need people to produce food and opportunities are emerging daily.”

The Sustainable Agriculture Education program, started at the college last winter, aims to teach people how to grow food, harvest it in a manageable way, market the product and deal with compostable material.

“Consumers want to be more connected to their food and are looking for options to reduce the distance food travels through to market,” Niebler said.

People can use the skills taught in the program to get jobs in production, processing or distribution on farms or at food banks, commercial greenhouses or hydroponic operations.

Niebler also envisions people starting their own firms— such as an edible landscaper— or becoming consultants or educators.

One of the students is Marni Swart, who is also a program assistant. She said the nation must overhaul its food policy and the program will help her teach others.

“(I entered the program) because I want to educate myself so that I can educate others,” Swart said. “Our food system has to change and I want to be a constructive part of the solution, not just someone who sits around complaining.”

Niebler spent several years in Latin America and when he returned, he noted an increased consumer interest in sustainable food and organics.

This spurred him to explore developing an educational program. He and the college received a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to start an urban agriculture program.

EdCC is working in partnership with Skagit Valley College, Seattle Central Community College and Washington State University to develop the program to prepare students for emerging green careers in sustainable agriculture and related environmental fields.

The program aims to develop new and improve existing community college curriculum; offer field-based research and real-world service and internship opportunities; design education and career pathways from secondary school through two- and four-year institutions.

It also aims to establish a metro and rural student farm in cooperation with farm partners; and expand the collaborative throughout Puget Sound to demonstrate a bioregional model for sustainable agriculture education and community development.

The Sustainable Agriculture Education Program offers three different certifications ranging from a 15-credit micro-certificate to a 40-credit program that can be completed within one year.

Students have the opportunity to continue coursework through transfers to Washington State University, The Evergreen State College or Antioch University.

Edmonds Community College also has partnered with Pinchot University, a graduate studies institution in Seattle, offering students a seminar series on developing a business plan and acquiring capital.

Putting practice to work, the program has space within the college’s Community Farm, a pocket-sized garden full of raised beds, edible trees and shrubs, bee-loving flowers, an edible rain garden and a hoop house.

Students also have access to seminars with experts and working professionals.

Internships round out students’ access to the workings of food banks, edible landscaping, green house businesses, aquaculture and food hub processing.

More in Herald Business Journal

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Washington, Amazon sue company over seller training programs

Braintree is accused of using deceptive ads promising information on how to make money on Amazon.

The Marine Corps’ version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is designed to land vertically like a helicopter. (Lockheed Martin)
F-35 fighter costs, $1 trillion over 60 years, draw scrutiny

Pentagon’s ability to repair F-35 parts at military depots is six years behind schedule.

Incidents of severe disturbances on commercial flights climb

The number of cases in which the cabin crew had to restrain a passenger rose to 169 last year.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company’s new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Funko starts to bounce back after disappointing stock debut

The Everett toys-and-collectibles maker also announced the acquisition of an animation studio.

Now hiring: Younger factory workers, at Boeing and elsewhere

The company and its training partners are fighting perceptions of a dying manufacturing industry.

‘The President Stole Your Land’: Patagonia, REI blast Trump

The outdoor recreation industry is allied with Indian tribes and conservationists.

Most Read