/MCC’s new agriculture program has successful first year

MCC’s new agriculture program has successful first year

McHenry County School is On the brink of welcome A mannequin new crop of Entrepreneurial Agriculture college students this fall.

This method, which educated its first group Of college students final yr, is designed To rearrange each diploma-looking for college students and meals and farm innovators for a worthwhile and rewarding future Inside the areaal meals financial system.

“Our college students are gaining direct, palms-on expertise All of the biggest method from seed to gross sales,” said Emily Zack, farm practicum director at MCC. “This spring, our ‘Intro to Farm Practicum’ class started seeds Inside the greenhouse, planted in Definitely one of our extreme tunnels, and harvested for an on-campus pop-up farm stand.

“Scholars In a single other class interviewed native and areaal agriculture professionals to study extra about alternatives Inside the enterprise. This method actually provides college students a Sort of what It is Want to work Inside the meals and farming financial system.”

The group additionally frequently provides produce to the MCC Café and Culinary program, and Shall be starting a weekly on-campus farm stand to currentcase their produce.

“This Shall be structured like We’re heading to a market,” said Zack. “We’ll harvest, wash, bag, weigh, and current the morning of the stand.”



Earlier to the program’s inception, MCC spent over a yr talking to native farmers and agricultural and enterprise specialists all by way of McHenry County and The encircling area To place collectively a curriculum That provides the teaching college students Want to make a distinction On the earth of meals manufacturing.

“What mannequins our program aside is that — Together with studying about primary rising — We have additionally included enterprise and advertising packages so college students will graduate In a place to create a worthwhile, scalable enterprise,” said Zack.

Garrett Beier, an Entrepreneurial Agriculture teacher who additionally heads up The school’s Horticulture program, added that it was very thrilling To level out as An factor of The mannequin new program this yr.

“You can inform how passionate The college students have been simply by talking to them,” Beier said. “They’re actually excited To mix The thought with the palms-on facet of agriculture and farming. They love rising meals, and simply Want to study extra. The suggestions We have acquired from college students has been overwhelmingly constructive.”



One of many new initiatives started by way of the program is Scholar Farm Week, an event the place college students can currentcase their work and promote their crops and produce every Might. This method has additionally added some gear this yr, collectively with photo voltaic panels and A mannequin new tractor, and made confacetrable enhancements to the greenhouse hydroponic system, collectively with new methods And automated dosing and monitoring methods.

The center for Agrarian Learning at MCC is garnering statewide consideration as properly. Sheri Doyel, director of the CAL, and MCC college students Israel Sandoval, Amanda Story, and Kitt Garmisch have been recently interviewed for the Illinois Farm Bureau’s podcast and YouTube channel in April, As properly as to featured in Companions journal and Farmweek Now newspaper.

As properly as to the AAS in Entrepreneurial Agriculture, MCC provides an AAS in Horticulture and certificates in Entrepreneurial Agriculture Industry/Marketing, Entrepreneurial Agriculture Production, and Floral Design. No prior expertise Is required To hitch any of the packages.

“Anyone Who’s Considering about any An factor of our meals system — somebody who likes crops, working outfacet, or has an curiosity in environmental science and ecology — Can be An best candidate,” said Zack.

“We tevery every facet, from saving seeds to soil well being, harvest methods to right storage.

“The possibilities are actually countless with this diploma,” she added. “Our graduates can pursue Pretty a Little bit of thrilling profession paths, collectively with farm possession and operations, greenhouse administration, landscaping, floral manufacturing and design, And even bookkeeping and advertising particular to farm companies.”

Scholars Considering about becoming a member of the program or studying extra can go to www.mchenry.edu/ag or e-mail [email protected].