AAS in Sustainable Agriculture
As a pioneer in innovative curriculum programs for the community college system, CCCC scored another winning effort with the establishment of its Sustainable Agriculture program in 2002. Developed in partnership with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension and with input from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the curriculum is about better growing methods. Sustainable agriculture focuses on production that renews resources. The program is about more than environmental awareness. It is also about the farming community. Urban sprawl has inflated land prices and small farmers, unable to deal with rising taxes, diminished markets for traditional crops, and supply and equipment costs, are losing their farms. All this is occurring at a time when the market is rapidly increasing for sustainably-grown products such as cut flowers, vegetables, meat and dairy products. Approximately 85 percent of the organic products sold in North Carolina are grown out-of-state. The unique curriculum offered through the Sustainable Agriculture program has attracted students from throughout North Carolina, as well as many other states. The program provides both the small business and technical skills needed to develop and manage a profitable, environmentally sound and community-based small farm or agricultural business. Students work with fellow classmates to plant, cultivate, and harvest a variety of produce. They learn to utilize a variety of tools and equipment, including tractors and tillers. Field trips, farm tours, and internships enhance the learning experience.