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University of Guelph launches Certificate in Organic Agriculture

University of Guelph launches Certificate in Organic Agriculture

Students can enroll beginning this fall


The University of Guelph is introducing a new program in the fall.

The school will offer a Certificate in Organic Agriculture at its Centre for Urban Organic Farming on the Guelph campus.

The certificate program will replace the organic agriculture major. Student interest in organic agriculture that helped the university make that decision, according to Karen Landman, a professor in the landscape architecture department.

“There were many students who wanted to take courses in organic agriculture of some kind but were not in the B.Sc. agriculture program,” she said.

Beginning in the fall, “any other student, along with the agriculture students, can take this (certificate) program. So, now, you might have sociology students who are interested in the social issues of organic agriculture.”

And university researchers continue to investigate many aspects of organic agriculture.

Youbin Zheng, an associate professor in the school of environmental sciences, compared high-tunnel and open field production of bitter melon.

The tropical crop did not do well in open field trials, but researchers were able to produce a crop in high-tunnel production, says Landman.

“They used insect netting to keep insects out and they found that also helped reduce any kind of disease,” Landman said. “They concluded that you can grow organic bitter melon in high-tunnels with anti-insect netting. Of course, you need a pollination strategy because you’re keeping the bees out.”

Representatives from the University of Guelph will be on-hand during the Guelph Organic Conference from Jan. 25 to 28. They will have information on the organic certificate program and answer any university-related questions from conference attendees.