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Spartanburg Community College is one step closer to finalizing materials and equipment needed for a new Sustainable Agriculture certificate program thanks to a grant from Dominion Energy. The $5,000 grant will fund startup costs of SCC’s new program, which is scheduled to begin in August at the start of the fall 2017 semester, and will introduce students to sustainable agriculture, agribusiness and food systems.
“We are so appreciative of the generous donation from Dominion Energy to our new Sustainable Agriculture program and what it will mean to students interested in this thriving profession,” says Jason Bagwell, SCC’s department chair of horticulture. “This grant will allow us to begin work on developing the agriculture production facilities and gardens. Our new sustainable agricultural area will have a variety of gardens, bee hives and greenhouses used for teaching hydroponics and aquaponics – all which will be awesome additions to our arboretum and outdoor classroom for our students and community.”
Bagwell says this certificate is designed for individuals interested in or already employed in the production of agronomic crops in a sustainable environment, and will prepare graduates for jobs in the agribusiness and food systems industry. “Students will learn the ecological, biological, environmental and economic impact of growing food such as fruits and vegetables sustainably,” he explains. “The program is designed to strengthen our local environment, food systems and economy by providing educated and skilled employees for the farm to table industry in our state. It’s a great way for someone to jump into this professional or learn more to compliment previous education or skills they may have already acquired. And, it’s a flexible opportunity for students since they can begin any term (fall, spring or summer) and credits can transfer into our horticulture associate degree as well.”
“Dominion Energy and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation serve our communities through charitable giving, volunteer activities and educational programs. We are pleased to partner with the Spartanburg County Community College to advance agricultural education through the new Sustained Agriculture Program,” said Kristen Beckham, External Affairs, for Dominion Energy.
Although the “idea of agricultural sustainability – stewarding the food production resource base for the use of future generations” – may seem as a new, popular trend among those conscious of healthy eating and living, it’s actually not so new according to the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA cites the 1990 Farm Bill by Congress as defining “the term sustainable agriculture to be an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term will
satisfy human food and fiber needs
enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends
make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls
sustain the economic viability of farm operations
enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole
For more information on SCC’s Sustainable Agriculture certificate program, visit www.sccsc.edu/horticulture/ or contact Jason Bagwell firstname.lastname@example.org or (864) 592-4646.
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