CLC to offer sustainable agriculture degree this fall
College of Lake County Librarian Holly Ledvina, of Third Lake, waters in her garden plot at the college's community garden. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:58PM
GRAYSLAKE — The College of Lake County will launch a new sustainable agriculture degree and certificate program this fall.
Prospective students are invited to attend a horticulture information session at 5 p.m. Aug. 9 in Room H105 (Horticulture Building) to learn more. Professor and Horticulture Department Chair Rory Klick will explain the career opportunities in sustainable agriculture, as well as the educational requirements for all of CLC’s horticulture degree and certificate programs.
CLC fall semester classes begin Aug. 20.
Sustainable farmers typically operate smaller farms of five to 20 acres that help feed the local population, usually within a 150-mile radius. Customers — from individuals to restaurants — enjoy the freshness of locally grown food, while the farmer earns a viable living and provides local jobs, according to Klick.
“Future generations benefit from sustainable farming as well, since buying locally grown food helps reduce the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas exhausts associated with buying food trucked in from hundreds of miles away,” Klick said. With traditional American farming and grocery distribution, the average spoonful of food has traveled 1,500 miles from where it was grown to reach the table, according to a Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture report from July 2003.
Illinois consumers spend $48 billion annually on food, and nearly all of this money leaves the state. But the appetite for locally grown food has increased over the past 10 years.
According to a 2009 state report, the number of outdoor farmers’ markets in Illinois has jumped from 97 in 1999 to 300 in 2011. Meanwhile, Illinois colleges and universities, corporate kitchens, schools, hospitals, restaurants and grocery stores have been unable to obtain adequate supplies of products grown by Illinois farmers. The same is true of Illinois’ “food deserts” — pockets of full service grocery store scarcity that extend from inner-city neighborhoods to rural communities.
The new CLC sustainable agriculture program will help students learn to grow and manage perennial food and orchard crops such as apples, berries and nuts; increase profits by lengthening the growing season using cold frames and season extension strategies; maximize fruit and vegetable production through intercropping, sequential planting and other methods; effectively market and sell produce through farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture and other channels.
In addition to sustainable agriculture, the CLC Horticulture program offers associate arts of science degrees in horticulture production, landscape design, landscape construction and maintenance and natural areas management. Certificates are available in landscape design, landscape maintenance, floral design, arboriculture and natural areas management.
To learn more, contact Rory Klick, horticulture department chair, at (847) 543-2320 or email@example.com; or Gianna Fazioli, local foods coordinator, at (847) 543-2632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.