Adult Education

Become a Farmer

Sustainable Agriculture Certificate

Presented by Westchester Community College and Hilltop Hanover Farm

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If you’re interested in becoming a vegetable farmer, have a passion for sustainable agriculture, or simply want to improve your own produce growing skills, this exciting new program is for you!

All classes take place at beautiful Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights. This 187-acre farm is owned by the County of Westchester, and includes a five-acre commercial crop farm, two greenhouses, and a composting facility that all highlight best practices in sustainable agriculture. Seasoned agricultural service providers and farming professionals make up the certificate faculty.

The certificate curriculum will prepare those who wish to develop agricultural and entrepreneurial skills, as well as those wishing to enhance their knowledge of vegetable production. Program focus is based on environmentally sound, community based, small-farm practices.

The program consists of 45 hours of core courses, 18 hours of electives, and 16 hours of community service at the farm, for a total of 79 hours.

Coursework includes classroom study and hands-on field work highlighting practical farming skills and concepts. You may opt to complete the certificate program in 2 semesters or you may choose to take courses as stand-alone courses at your own pace.

All courses are held at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center, located at 1271 Hanover Street in Yorktown Heights.


Core Courses:

Sustainable Crop Production: Spring – Learn about organic crop production practices, including vegetables, cut flowers, and culinary herbs. Topics include variety selection, production methods, record keeping, and extending the season using unheated hoop houses. Upon completion, you will have knowledge of crop production strategies for the upcoming season. CE-GRDN 2025, 4 Sat., 9:00 am-12:00 noon, Barn F, $300.  Sec. A: Feb. 4-25. #13466.  Sec. B: Apr. 8-29. #13467

Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture & Soil Science – Discover the “nuts and bolts” of our new agricultural program at Hilltop Hanover. Learn the basic principles and practices of sustainable agriculture. Topics covered include botany, composting, irrigation, and basic principles of crop production, rotation, and protection. Upon completion, you will have an enhanced understanding of how to manage the complex interrelationships of air, water, soil, plant, and human on a small sustainable farm.  CE-GRDN 2024, 4 Tues., Feb. 21-Mar. 14, 5:30-8:30 pm, Barn F, $300. #13468


Elective Courses:

Agriculture Business and Marketing – Explore basic business and marketing principals for agricultural products. Topics covered include: buying, selling, processing, grading, storing and marketing of agricultural products. Small scale business practices will introduce students to hands-on techniques and procedures for planning and starting a small business. Emphasis will be on market research, finance, time management and day-to-day activities owning/operating a small business. Upon completion, students should be able to write and implement a viable business plan.  CE-BUS 2040, 3 Tues., Jan. 10-24, 5:30-8:30 pm, Barn F, $225. #13469

Basic Farm Maintenance – Learn about fundamental maintenance and repair of farm facilities and equipment. Topics include safe use of hand tools and farm machinery, carpentry, concrete work, painting, plumbing and calculating costs and materials needed. Upon completion, students should be able to answer theoretical questions and topics covered and assist with maintenance and repair of farm facilities and equipment. CE-GRDN 2028, 3 Sat., Mar. 4-18, 9:00 am-12:00 noon, Barn F, $225. #13470

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Fees: The $5 Registration fee is charged once per term and is non-refundable. Student fees are charged once per term.

If one or more enrolled classes are held at the Valhalla campus, the student fee is $8. If all classes are at off-campus or extension locations the student fee is $3.25. Student fees are not refundable once a class begins.

For further questions contact Michelle Graham at michelle@hilltophanoverfarm.org

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