Austin Community College’s new Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program is launching additional courses in spring to teach aspiring and small-scale farmers needed skills to grow sustainable crops and bring them to market.
“There is a growing need in our community for fresh produce. Our supply doesn’t meet demand,” says Evelyn Rosas, ACC sustainable agriculture specialist. “We’re seeing fewer farmers and less successful, profitable businesses in agriculture.”
In Central Texas, demand for fruits and vegetables is valued at $356 million, while supply is $78 million, according to consultant New Venture Advisors.
Offered at the 98-acre Elgin Campus, the agriculture program includes classroom instruction and hands-on training at the campus’ farm and greenhouse. Students learn technical skills such as planning crops and operating equipment as well as marketing and financial planning for growing a viable business.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the future of agriculture,” says Sophia Roseburns, ACC sustainable agriculture student and local herbalist. “I’ve been searching for resources in our area and an opportunity to learn more. I jumped at a chance to enter this program.”
Roseburns is a student in the program’s beekeeping course. The course was one of three offered in program’s debut semester this fall. Additional courses will be added in spring including:
- Small Scale Farming
- Beekeeping Intermediate
- Marketing for the Small Farm
“An entrepreneur who’s interested in agricultural business can come here at square one, get introduced to sustainable agriculture concepts, then get training on the campus farm,” says Rosas.
Students who complete the three-semester program graduate with a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship, which recognizes their preparation for entry-level jobs in ecological farm, produce, and school garden management, and related fields.
The program offers its noncredit courses through ACC’s Continuing Education Division, so students don’t need to complete the ACC enrollment process in order to register.
For more information on the Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program and to enroll, visit ACC’s Continuing Education webpage. Registration is underway.Back to Top