Sustainable Agriculture

Healthy Farming, Healthy Food, a Healthy Future

Known for its abundance of organic farms, world class vineyards and wine, artisan food producers, great soil and mild climate, Sonoma County is one of California’s most desirable agricultural areas. The Sustainable Agriculture Program at SRJC reflects this rich farming legacy.

At the forefront of sustainable farming practices, SRJC’s Sustainable Agriculture Program recognizes the significance and opportunities of organic and sustainable agricultural production in today’s growing marketplace. Santa Rosa Junior College is one of the few California Community Colleges that offers an Associate in Science Degree and two certificates in sustainable agriculture.

Graduates are in demand now more than ever as entrepreneurs, innovative problem solvers, and producers of premium niche products. The curriculum’s relevance is enhanced by faculty who are experts in the field, with input from an active industry advisory committee.

Instruction and Hands-On Learning

SRJC's Sustainable Agriculture classes give students a foundation in plant and soil science, integrated pest management, diverse crop production, and direct marketing strategies while focusing on the ecological underpinnings of agriculture. Courses emphasize the “how-to” aspects of organic farming and gardening, including tillage, compost production, crop planning and production. Specialty areas include: organic viticulture, specialty crops for the culinary market, organic apple and olive production, sustainable landscapes, and direct farm-marketing. Students also have the unique opportunity to gain experience setting up and managing a community-supported agriculture (CSA) system. There's even a class on how to drive tractors!

Most Sustainable Agriculture courses are held at Shone Farm, SRJC’s 365 acre outdoor lab, near Forestville. In addition to classroom instruction, students have the opportunity for real-world direct marketing experience through involvement in the Shone Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, and through a weekly on-campus farm stand held during the growing season. Students can also participate in student enterprise projects, learning how to grow, market, and distribute an agriculture product of their own choosing.

Sustainable Agriculture Unit

  • 5-acre market garden
  • 7-acres for large-scale row crop production and student enterprise projects
  • 2-acre apple orchard
  • 2-acre olive orchard
  • Compost production area
  • Greenhouse, shade house, office, equipment shed
  • Perennial beneficial insect landscapes
  • Herb production
  • 1-acre instructional vineyard
  • Native hedgerow

Green Jobs, Green Future

Agriculture supports 1.1 million jobs, nearly eight percent of all jobs in California. Agriculture and related industries directly account for seven percent of the state’s gross product. Now more than ever, the public values buying fresh, local products. While the market for organically produced food has been consistently growing at 18 percent per year since 1990, current production and market indicators suggest the demand for local, sustainably farmed food will continue to grow well into the future.

SRJC’s Sustainable Agriculture Program Prepares Students for Diverse Professional Opportunities:

  • Market Gardener/Garden or Farm Manager/Farmer
  • Sustainable Agriculture Consultant
  • Fresh Produce Manager/Buyer/ Farmer’s Market Manager
  • Researcher/Instructor/Extension Agent/Farm Advisor
  • Pest Control Advisor
  • Sustainable Livestock Production/Ranch and/or Rangeland Manager
  • Sales, Marketing & Outreach
  • Food Manufacturing, Processing, Preparation
  • Handling, Packaging, Shipping
  • Compost Production and Sales
  • Organic/Sustainable Retail & Support Services (organic fertilizers, seeds, equipment)
  • Organic & Sustainable Certification Services, Organic Inspector
  • Chef/Restaurateur
  • Sustainable Landscape Design/Nursery Sales/Garden Center

Certificate and Degree Programs

The Sustainable Agriculture education offered at Santa Rosa Junior College increases the student’s marketability to prospective employers and also offers transfer options for those who wish to continue their education to the bachelor’s degree level or beyond. SRJC’s Sustainable Agriculture Program has developed three options to meet the needs of students. These options build upon each other to form an educational ladder that encourages students to maximize their educational achievements.