HIGHLINE COLLEGE |Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Farm and grow organic food in agriculture course

By Brielle Perri- Staff Reporter

If you want to be a farmer, you don't have to leave Highline to get a good start.

Through its Urban Agriculture program, the college offers a one-year certificate and a two-year transfer degree available to students who are interested in farming or growing food sustainably.

Bobby Butler, the program manager for Sustainable Agriculture, and professor for many different classes, held a tour of the Organic Micro-farm and campus greenhouse during Green Week. The organic micro-farm is right below Building 16 and the greenhouse is located between Building 12 and Building 6. The tour consisted of Butler going over what the program has done on campus.

It started at the micro-farm.

This farm is certified organic and "no synthetic pesticides or chemicals are ever used. It is safer for you and the environment," Butler said.

During the tour students were able to harvest vegetables in the farm and see what food looked like without harsh chemicals being applied to them. If you create a micro-farm about the same size as the one Highline has here "you could make $1- $2,000 per month by growing" produce, Butler said. If you attend the "spring, summer and fall practicum you have the resources to make your own garden or micro-farm," Butler said. The two-year transfer degree can apply to Washington State University, University of Washington-Tacoma and The Evergreen State College.

Or you can take Butler's classes and get elective credits up to 15 credits. Some upcoming credits that students can take are SUST 175, permaculture and edible landscape design; SUST 252, indoor growing, and GEO 201, soil science.

Butler continued the tour to the front of Building 25, the Library, showing students the big pots filled with a variety of apple trees and blueberry bushes. Those pots were originally for people to put their cigarette butts in. But students and staff turned them into something that will look more attractive. Butler also said to feel free and grab the ripe fruit when you see it. "It's there for the community. If you get to the fruit sooner than I do, go for it," Butler said.Butler also said the Sustainable Agriculture Program has added another farm site in Mary Gay Park, located at 1616 223rd St. Des Moines. Highline and the City of Des Moines are working together to manage Mary Gay Park as well as "Sonju Park; as a student farm site, as a community farm site, and as a sustainability education site," Butler said. For more information on the new farm and classes, go to sustainableag.highline.edu or go to Highline Sustainable Agriculture Program's Facebook Page.


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