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Students who enroll in the nine-week residential Agroecology Summer Intensive (ASI) at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center all share something in common: they are passionate about sustainable agriculture. ASI is the foundation of Goshen College’s agroecology minor and a part of the environmental science major’s agroecology track. Whether you care about high-quality local food, sustainable farming practices or healthy food systems, ASI will empower you to explore your passion first-hand.
During the ASI, you’ll engage with all aspects of the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm. Our professors will work with you on the ground level, digging holes to understand soil, planting seeds, managing weeds, picking fruit in orchards, and caring for flocks of chickens. Your course work will be rooted in local ecosystems, with concentrations in small-scale agricultural problems and solutions, including courses on soil properties and management, vegetable crops and small farm management. Weekly integrative sessions include travel to a variety of regional farms and food-related enterprises. An agroecology minor will give you the practical experience you need to ignite local food initiatives and spur change in small-scale agriculture.
Living at Merry Lea for the summer is an adventure. Sustainable living at Rieth Village is an important part of the educational experience. You will live in the platinum LEED-certified eco-village sharing meals, working and studying together daily. You will interact with engaged peers, program faculty, staff, Merry Lea Sustainable Farm interns, and volunteers from the region or other countries. An to top it off, you will have opportunities to learn and play in the wetlands, prairies, woods and lakes of Merry Lea!
James (Jim) Gingerich ’66 has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya and has served in agricultural economic development for 34 years in six countries. He was awarded the 2016 Goshen College Champions of Character Award.