ASI Course Listings


The Agroecology Summer Intensive is a full semester’s worth of credit that combines hands-on learning, classroom instruction, and unique real world experiences with community partners throughout the food system to provide a well-rounded introduction to sustainable agriculture and food systems.  Credit is divided between 4 course areas and an internship.

SUST 210:  Animal Husbandry

3 credits, Professor Ruth Mischler
This course builds student understanding and experience with animals in agricultural systems from the ground up.  Students work extensively with Merry Lea’s pigs, turkeys, cattle, milk goats, honey bees, laying hens, and meat chickens to become familiar with the life habits and unique niche of each animal.  Field trips to pastured and confined animal operations round out the course as students ruminate on the role of animals in sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.  As part of this course students will also complete an animal research project and connect to other courses through investigations of manure (nutrient cycling), farm biodiversity, pollination, integrated pest management, and soil microbiology.



SUST 215:  Food Systems

3 credits, Professor John Mischler
This discussion-based course frames the interdisciplinary nature of food and includes a systems approach to thinking about how food gets from soil to table. Attention will be given to understanding a definition of a food system, and wrestling with how to identify, measure, and implement elements of sustainability into any food system. Discussion topics will include the natural resources of food production, human actors in food systems, food distribution, food processing and the food industry, food policy and food activism, as well as unifying cultural and spiritual aspects of food.

SUST 316:  Crop and Soil Management

4 credits, Professor Jon Zirkle
This course provides a holistic view of cropping systems from the soil all the way up to the finished crop and market demand.  This course includes a comprehensive introduction to soils management with emphasis on scientific principles and their application to solve practical soil management problems.  Emphasis is also placed on development and production and management of annual and perennial crops from planting to harvest, including vegetables, herbs, fruit, forages, and grains.  Topics include soil organisms and ecology, nutrient management, soil testing, regenerative practices that improve both soil health and agricultural productivity,botany of food crops, plant propagation techniques, cropping tools and equipment, post-harvest handling, and alternative crops in light of climate change resilience.

SUST 318:  Agroecology

Aquaponics - July 2015

4 credits, Professor John MischlerCourse investigates the ecological and social systems involved in and affected when manipulating natural systems to produce food, feed, fiber and medical products. Students are given tools to critically assess landscapes for both their agriculture merits and ecological features. Topics will include the theoretical basis of agroecology, social movements in agricultural history, biological life cycles and nutrient cycles, and alternative agricultural production systems.



1 credit (optional), Professor John Mischler in combination with community partners

Experience on a working farm to deepen a student’s experience and real-world context for food production. Internship can involve a particular project or participation in the general work of the selected farm. The internship is intended to reflect a farming operation that reflects the student’s interest in practice, scale, products, and philosophical approach.  This 1 credit course is optional for completion of ASI and is offered at no extra charge after the 10 week experience has concluded.  An additional lodging fee of $121 per week is required while the student is in residence at Rieth Village.