Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



NACTA Journal (November 2019) 64: 183-187


University instructors are compelled to anticipate future changes in farming and food systems that will impact their students. Sixteen educators met in 2018 to envision the future of organic agriculture courses needed by 2025. Likely future global issues include food access, especially for people of limited economic means; climate change; and fossil fuel costs. Changes that will impact education are increasing demand for quality food, more organic production, and globalization of food systems due to consolidation. Probable course content changes are increasing focus on whole farm systems; designing for resilience in changing physical, economic, environmental, and political climates; and increasing diversity of systems and emergence of the urban and peri-urban food sector. Expected changes in teaching methods include more practical, hands-on learning; face-to-face interactions with farmers; guided practical apprenticeships; and student-driven learning activities. We were surprised by the difficulty that workshop participants confronted in discussing transformational change, often opting for fine-tuning the current system. We identified a need for developing and practicing skills for future visioning, currently a challenge for instructors and for many students.