The Certificate in Organic Agriculture was conceived of in 2006 by a group of faculty, lead by Dr. Mark Rieger. The concept was to provide research and learning opportunities for students, who at the time, lacked the opportunity to study organic agriculture practices in a formal setting at the University of Georgia. The original core of faculty pursued a USDA Higher Education Grant that funded the establishment of a certified organic farm at the Durham Research Farm, built two greenhouses for student research, and funded a farm coordinator position to manage the organic unit. A capstone organic agriculture course was created, as well as an organic seminar course that provides an opportunity for students to reflect and share in their experiences while completing the research and/or internship requirement.
There have been some personnel changes, and the capstone course was moved to UGArden to be closer to campus, however the fundamental concept of providing practical, experiential learning, based on scientifically-proven organic practices, has persisted.
The Certificate Program in Organic Agriculture provides students with the science, philosophy, and experience needed to produce food organically. To complete the certificate, students take four required courses and choose six credit hours of electives from a long list of complementary courses.
The Certificate program emphasizes experiential learning and provides opportunities for students to combine theory and practice both in the classroom and on the certified organic farm that is a critical part of the overall certificate program. The Certificate is open to anyone, including UGA students majoring in any discipline, as well as individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree at UGA or elsewhere. The Certificate is scientifically based, and anyone pursuing the certificate should be aware that required courses in the program require prerequisite knowledge. Download the CPOA Brochure.