Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors is a tool intended to increase and improve education in practical organic agriculture and horticulture skills and concepts. While the majority of the manual is devoted to practical training, the instructional materials also cover the science behind the practices, and provide a detailed introduction to social and environmental issues in agriculture. Although much of the material is designed for field or garden demonstrations and skill building, most of the units can also be tailored to a classroom setting. The manual is designed so that units or even individual lectures or demonstrations can be pulled out to be used on their own or in any sequence.
This manual is divided into three sections:
Part 1: Organic Farming and Gardening Skills and Practices
The eleven units in this section emphasize the “how-to” aspects of organic gardening and farming, including propagation, irrigation, tillage, transplanting, and compost production. This section also introduces students to critical skills and considerations in the management of soil fertility and agricultural pests (arthropods, diseases, and weeds) in organic systems. The information included in the manual is based on certified organic production practices that meet or exceed the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP)
standards. Included throughout is an overview of principles and practices used in NOP certified production.
Part 2: Applied Soil Science
This three-unit section covers basic information on soil physical properties, soil chemistry, and soil biology and ecology, providing a more detailed overview of the underlying scientific principles that inform many of the organic farming practices covered in Part 1.
Part 3: Social and Environmental Issues in Agriculture
This four-unit section first outlines the history and development of agriculture in the U.S. and then introduces students to social and environmental issues associated with conventional agriculture practices and the current organization of the food system. This section also introduces students to the various forms of resistance and alternative movement to the dominant systems.