This curriculum is designed as an instructors guide. It is intended to give instructors in a variety of settings information on the scientific basis for Organic Farming and Gardening. It can be used in its entirety as a full course or selected sections can be inserted as a supplement to a general course on agriculture or gardening. The design assumes that instructors will have access to curricula that cover general agricultural topics, such as tillage and cultivation equipment and greenhouse management. Information in these areas is limited in this curriculum, to specific organic management techniques which may not be included in existing curricula.
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The Table of Contents is an overall outline of the curriculum. It lists the Units and shows the major breakdown of topics. Within each Unit is another Outline of the individual Topics. This organization into Topics will allow instructors to customize the course to meet individual needs.
Each unit has a title page which lists all the resources available in the curriculum to teach that unit. Resources include:
- Student experiments and activities
- Teacher demonstrations
- Videos with focus questions
- Power point presentation of each unit
- Power point presentations of specific topics
- Short power point presentation on soil, pests, and composting for 1-2 hour focused classes
There is also a lesson plan which lays out a strategy for incorporating the various curricula elements into a student-focused, interactive experience. These lesson plans can be modified based on the level of student, length of class time or depth of class.
Two types of activities are threaded throughout the curriculum. The Practical Application of Unit 8 is a description of how to set up an organic demonstration plot. Instructions for planning, planting and maintaining the bed are included and can be used as hands-on teaching activities throughout the course. Actual participation in developing an organic bed is important in skill development and long-term retention of the information. Students who practice with the demonstration bed are more likely to try an organic bed, field, or garden on their own.
If the course is being taught on a farm, use the Farm Activities for Students for ideas of student tasks related to the topics being taught. These activities are found in the Appendix. Activities that need to be done on a farm may not always coincide with the lesson, but are valuable in the over all experience. Students generally enjoy these activities and for an all day class, a couple of hours of work can bring home the physical nature of the job.
Most units include a short (3-5 minute) case study video of an organic farmer. These videos tell a brief story about each farmer including their marketing strategies, and are spread out among the units to start students thinking about marketing from the very first. Since marketing is often a weak area for many beginning growers, the videos serve as a spring board to sustained discussions about the importance of marketing throughout the course. Marketing can be worked into many of the units, as the type of market will effect many production decisions.
Meeting farmers who are currently engaged in the practice of growing organically can inspire and enlighten students. These opportunities are facilitated by the list of farmers who have agreed to be available to host a farm tour of students of the curriculum or be a guest speaker. Please be respectful of these farmers’ time and make arrangements with them in advance. If funds are available, an honorarium is appropriate.
Short videos on organics can be accessed from the Appendix in the Table of Contents. There are a variety of videos from a 30 second public service announcement promoting organics to animated organic spoofs on popular movies. The videos can be used to spark discussion at any point in the curriculum.
Feedback from those who use the curriculum is of vital importance to Georgia Organics and we sincerely solicit your opinion. Please send us feedback if you use the curriculum. The Feedback Form on the last page can be used to send us information about what you found useful, or not, and any other comments you would like to make. We would like to continue to revise this curriculum and your comments and suggestions will guide us in making it more helpful. You can attach the form to an e-mail, paste into an e-mail, or print and mail the form in.