Environmental Studies

Independent Study in Sustainable Agriculture - Spring 2005 - Tentative Outline

 Siobhan Fennessy , IS Director


Since 2000, local farmers have been working formally and informally with Kenyon students and faculty in areas of mutual interest concerning issues of sustainable agriculture, environmental concerns, and preservation of farmland surrounding the college. This has led to a growing interest and involvement of more students in sustainability issues, local foods, and connections with the local and global community.


The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the principles of sustainable agriculture through hands-on experience on local farms and through readings and tutorials with the farmers.


Students must have available in their schedule five continuous hours one day per week (including weekends) to spend on the farm. Travel time will be in addition to these five hours. Those going to the Rickard s Fox Hollow Farm should plan on 30 minutes of travel time and those going the Helt s Dharma Farm 15 minutes. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the farm.

Grading for the course will be determined by the number of hours spent on the farm. To receive an A in the course will require 70 hours of farm work (5 hours x 14 weeks), as well as the completion of the readings and participation in discussion of these readings.

Course Content and Expectations:

Farmers will plan work for the students that is varied, as determined by the seasons and farm projects underway. In addition, students will be taken to the local Producers livestock auction, and other off-farm visits as the time and season allows.

Students can expect to handle animals, clean barns, harvest crops, plant crops, prepare farm products for market, build and repair fence, bale hay, feed animals, and work with, repair, or clean equipment and buildings and other activities as needed.

Students will not be required to operate dangerous equipment or engage in any activity where they do not feel prepared or otherwise feel uncomfortable. Chain saw operation and firearm use are strictly prohibited. Students will sign a waiver of liability prior to starting the course.

Students are expected to have appropriate clothing for work on the farm, which includes: boots, globes, insulated coveralls (or the equivalent) .