Courses that Will Change Your Life: Ecological Agriculture


Session and Location: Summer Session II, Pacific Rim Campus (Washington)

There are few skills more practical, or more biblical, than that of growing your own food, and doing it right. In Genesis, Adam’s first responsibility was tending a garden. Today, amidst all the technology and complexity of modern life, understanding the basics of an ecological approach to agriculture has never been more important. That practicality is vividly presented to students in Au Sable’s course, Ecological Agriculture. Offered at Au Sable’s Pacific Rim Campus in the central portion of Washington’s Whidbey Island, a region of active and diverse agricultural activity, Ecological Agriculture offers students an opportunity to learn how to make an agricultural system as productive and as environmentally valuable as the natural system it replaces. Instead of the usual one-dimensional approach typical of modern industrial farming, Ecological Agriculture shows students how to design agricultural systems that can achieve multiple outcomes that not only produce food, but create stable communities, vibrant and diverse economies, and healthy environments.

Dr. Ron Vos, Emeritus Professor of Agriculture at Dordt College (Iowa), brings to his students the benefit of worldwide travel and consultation in developing agriculture systems and in-depth Christian reflection on the problems of agriculture and its role in Christian life and community. Through the unique combination of life experience, scientific study and biblical reflection, Ron notes that “the greatest value for students who take Ecological Agriculture is that they can take a course that is not available on their own campuses. Many students have commented that the course has transformed their lives and opened up career opportunities and graduate school possibilities that they had not thought of before.”

Students who have taken Ecological Agriculture wholeheartedly agree. As one noted, “Before I took this class, I knew nothing about farming or agriculture. I am not a biology major, I have never planted anything that survived more than a week, and I'm freaked out by soil organisms. But this class really gave me an appreciation for agriculture, and for farming in general. I knew that farming was hard, but I never knew just how difficult it was or how important it was until after taking Dr. Vos's class. Although I will probably never be a farmer, I can now appreciate the role that farmers play in my community and to my survival.”

Ecological Agriculture is a course filled with “take home lessons.” Or, perhaps, “take back to the garden lessons.” It is an experience that can change the way a person goes about living at the most basic level and in one of the most universal and essential human activities: eating. Few changes can be more foundational than that.

Click here to begin the registration process for Ecological Agriculture or any of our summer courses.