Living at Merry Lea for the summer is an adventure. Sustainable living at Rieth Village is an important part of the educational experience. Students live in a LEED-certified eco-village sharing meals, working and studying together daily. Throughout the program, students will interact with peers from Goshen College and other institutions, and engage with program faculty, staff, Merry Lea Sustainable Farm interns, and volunteers who may be local to the area or from other regions or even countries. Weekly integrative sessions include regional travel to a variety of farms and food-related enterprises.
Students will not only gain a greater understanding of ecosystem functions, but will also be exposed to a wide a range of agricultural production practices. The ASI program also explores social and economic systems and allows students to participate in agricultural management and decision making processes. Students will experience life in an academic community and have the opportunity to explore the intersection of faith, environment and agriculture.
Participants leave the ASI at Merry Lea better equipped for lives of thought and purpose in their homes, communities and world. Many have gone on to pursue careers in small-scale farming, work for hunger relief organizations, serve overseas in development-related projects, enroll in graduate programs in various environmental fields, including law, or return to family farms. Others pursue careers unrelated to agriculture but garden at home and/or contribute to community gardens.
We welcome you to our next Agroecology Summer Intensive! Take the next step and learn more about the application process, click here or contact the program director, Jon Zirkle:
To learn more about the vegetable production, soils, agroecology, and small farm management and marketing courses, see the Agroecology Summer Intensive course listings.
Jon Zirkle introduces the agroecology summer intensive and the need for sustainable agriculture.
Merry Lea Blog
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the dates? The Agroecology Summer Intensive takes place during the summer semester (nine weeks) of the academic school year. For more information, please visit our application and registration page.
What is the deadline for receipt of my completed application? Please visit our application and registration page for this information.
Where are the courses delivered? In the classrooms, gardens and environmental laboratory of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.
How many credits would I earn? 12 credits for the four courses of the ASI.
Can I take just part of the program? Although it is recommended that the four courses making up the ASI be taken together as a unit, a two-course (soils and vegetable crops), 6-credit option is also available.
What alternatives are available if I do not need college credit? A certificate program allows you to participate in the ASI, but instead of college credit you will receive a certificate of participation.
What does the ASI cost? ASI is included in Goshen College’s tuition, however for more information about the cost for students from other colleges, please visit our tuition and financial aid page.
Is room and board included in the cost? Room and board is a separate cost. Housing is provided at Rieth Village. Food is at the expense of the students although fresh vegetables are available from the greenhouse and kitchen gardens. For more information, please visit our tuition and financial aid page.
Are scholarships available? Yes, there are a limited number of scholarships as long as funds are available. For more information, please visit the tuition and financial aid page.
What should I be sure to pack? You will want to bring all of your own linens (i.e. sheets, towels, pillows), a bicycle if you own one, food for personal meals and snacks, a laptop if you own one, a lunchbox, a swimming suit, and good quality rain gear. For a more extensive packing list, see the Rieth Village packing list. Any further questions can be directed to Tom Hartzell.
An alumnus tells the story of how the Agroecology Summer Intensive helped him find his passion in life: sustainable farming.
What do I not need to bring? At Rieth Village, you will be provided with refrigerators, microwaves, pots and pans, cooking utensils, dinnerware, silverware, cleaning supplies, dishwashing supplies, laundry detergent, a bed, a dresser, a desk, and a desk chair. Any further questions can be directed to Tom Hartzell.
I don’t attend Goshen College; must I enroll at GC in order to participate? Yes, but only for the summer term. Credits are then transferable to your home institution. For more on this, see the application and registration page.
What are the course prerequisites? None, but general biology and general chemistry are recommended.