Fall 2020 - Return to campus

See the latest plans and communications for our return to campus this fall.

Fall 2020 - Return to campus

Learn to Farm and Earn College Credit at the University of Vermont


Dig deep with your education this summer and immerse yourself in the vibrant learning environment of Catamount Education Farm at the University of Vermont. Use your hands and head in these farm-based courses that are simultaneously experiential, innovative and rigorous. Start with the Summer Farm Practicum and add up to three more classes for a summer of learning that could earn you a semester’s worth of credit.

Catamount Farm 2020

The Catamount Farm Summer Experience is based within the Plant and Soil Science Department at UVM.

“Awesome summer course, hands on experience is unparalleled especially in agriculture, learned a lot of valuable information.” – 2014 Sustainable Farm Practicum student

PSS 096 – Herb Growing, Design and Use

CRN: 61272
Instructors: Leonard Perry
Credits: 3
Dates: May 18 – August 7, 2020
Location: Online
Course Description: (Required text: HomeGrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung, Storey Publ, 255pp or Kindle version.)

This course will be of use to anyone interested in learning more on this always popular group of plants. Sufficient background is provided through the texts and supplemental materials for any, regardless of prior background knowledge. Herbs have been used by so many worldwide for many centuries, and consistently remain popular both for flower and vegetable gardeners, or those merely interested in herbs and using them. Students, home gardeners, beginning agricultural producers, retailers and their staff, will benefit from this course, no matter the region of the country.

This completely online course is based on the chapters of the text, grouped into five tests: 1. Selection and Design (chapters 1-2); 2. Culture (chapters 3-6—soils, propagation, maintenance, pests and diseases); 3. Harvesting (chapter 7)’ 4. Using herbs (chapters 8-9, in personal care and cooking); 5. Plants (chapter 10, main herbs and their specific needs and uses)

Tests are open book, untimed, done online, and will be comprised of several question formats. Tests are designed to reinforce student’s familiarity with the material, to synthesize various topics, and to problem solve.

The final garden plan project will guide and provide practice to students in creating a personalized herb garden for their needs and purposes, and on a specific topic such as edible flowers, cooking, historic, ornamental, or a specific crop such as various mints, basils, or thymes. Email communications, and meetings if needed, with the professor will provide guidance and ideas, suggestions for improvements, and considerations from plant choice through culture.

PSS 161: SU: Fundamentals of Soil Science

CRN: 61542
Instructors: Josef Gorres
Credits: 4
Dates: June 15 – July 10, 2020
Location: Jeffords Hall 118

Course Description: Soils are at foundation of most of our food system, yet soils are degrading in many places. How are we going to feed the 9 billion, provide human habitat and involve the soil in solving environmental problems? PSS 162 teaches the most fundamental principles of soil science. How does soil form? What is its place in the modern food system? What makes a soil a good soil for agriculture or residential developments? How is the soil involved in nutrient cycling? And much more…The class uses a mix of on-line and in person lectures, readings and labs. The summer version of PSS162 emphasizes outdoor lab experiences. We’ll visit soils on the UVM farms and learn how to describe profiles and how to interpret them. Our text book will be Brady and Weil, The Nature and Properties of Soils, 15th Edition.
Contact the instructor.

PSS 195: Introduction to Beekeeping

CRN: 61888
Instructors: Samantha Alger
Credits: 3
Dates: June 15 – July 10, 2020
Location: UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center

Course Description: So much has changed in the world of bees since UVM offered its last beekeeping course over 30 years ago. Due to the spread of emerging pests and pathogens and changes in agricultural practices, today’s honey bees and their beekeepers face far more challenges. In this exciting new course at UVM, students will learn the fundamentals of being responsible stewards of honey bee colonies and the skills to support good decision making in today’s changing world. This introductory course offers a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on field experience on topics including basic bee biology, the factors driving global pollinator decline, purchasing equipment and bees, integrated pest management, and successful strategies for overwintering. Students will gain additional experience and ‘hive time’ outside of the course through 1-2 individualized field trips with local beekeeping mentors. On the last day of the course, students will attend the Vermont Beekeepers Association (VBA) summer meeting on July 13 and have the opportunity to become VBA certified beekeepers. Attendance is mandatory for every class as each class serves as foundation for the next. For this course, students are required to purchase a VBA membership ($5 for students), a veil/jacket, and gloves. Will you get stung? Protective clothing and proper handling techniques greatly reduce the risk of bee stings. However, some bee stings are inevitable. If you have an allergy to bee venom, you should not take this course.
Contact the instructor.

PSS 209: Diversified Farm Operations

CRN: 61771
Instructors: Terence BradshawS’ra DeSantis, and Rachel Stievater
Credits: 6
Dates: May 18 – August 7, 2020
Location: UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center

Course Description: In this hands-on, experiential course, students will learn principles and practices of sustainable, diversified specialty crop production on-site at the Catamount Educational Farm.  Topics include: vegetable crop families; soil fertility management; composting; weed, insect and disease management; propagation and planting; crop planning; irrigation systems; farm financials and business planning; marketing techniques; broiler chicken management; and tractor operation.  The class format will consist of a combination of lectures, hands-on fieldwork, and visits to local farms. Lectures will be presented by instructors and guest speakers from UVM Extension, the Plant and Soil Science Department and local farmers. Concepts and skills taught will immediately be applied through participation in Cat Farm’s five-acre vegetable operation that supplies produce to the community through a CSA; a farm stand; and multiple wholesale accounts. Some work will also be performed in the UVM orchard and/or vineyard.

This course partners closely with the UVM Farmer Training Program (FTP), a noncredit, 6-month intensive program offered through Continuing and Distance Education. We will learn alongside FTP students both in the field and in the classroom.

Mondays begin with a crop class in the field, followed by a field walk to assess farm management and work tasks required for that week. After the field walk, students will learn farm skills and participate in the weekly farm tasks. Students will learn how to harvest, weed, direct seed, transplant, set up irrigation and operate a tractor.
Contact the instructor.

PSS 311: Introduction to Agroecology

CRN: 61570
Instructors: V. Ernesto Mendez and Victor Izzo
Credits: 3
Dates: May 18 – June 5, 2020

Course Description: In-depth overview of research and applications in the field of agroecology, with a focus on providing the student with conceptual and analytical content. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or Instructor permission.
Contact the instructor.