CCCC student farm ranks on Top 20 list
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PITTSBORO - Central Carolina Community College's student farm on its Chatham County Campus ranks among the Top 20 best college farms in America, according to Best College Reviews.
Best College Reviews noted: "Central Carolina Community College is a pioneer in the teaching of sustainable agriculture among community colleges."
The CCCC five-acre student farm was ranked 14th on the list. Only two other North Carolina college farms were among the Top 20 - Warren Wilson College was ranked No. 1 and Duke University was ranked No. 16. To see a complete list, visit www.bestcollegereviews.org/best-university-farms.
According to the Best College Reviews website, ranking criteria included farm size, integration with the main campus, sustainability, and integration with the community.
Through the love and efforts of staff and students, CCCC's student farm has become a unique place of community learning, one that stresses the importance of business profitability, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship, according to CCCC Farm Manager/Instructor James L. Fry III.
"The farm is a place where Sustainable Agriculture students can apply and build upon knowledge they are gaining through their coursework. At the farm, students are able to practice what they learn in classes from Soil Science and Crop Production to Livestock and Business Management," said Fry. "It's a place where they also get to experiment with what they learn through CCCC's cooperation with successful local farmers. The farm is where 'the rubber meets the road' converting ideas into movement that takes the students where they are trying to go, giving them experience helpful in gaining employment, while teaching them how to avoid costly mistakes both personally and professionally.
"The Farm and Sustainable Agriculture Program have an inclusive atmosphere that embraces diversity and encourages creativity. We value the perspective that our students offer, and believe that it can make the collective experience more meaningful and worthwhile through challenging the norm in order to build a better future."
Robin Kohanowich, CCCC's Sustainable Farming Coordinator, says the ranking gives the college opportunity for more people to know about the resources available for students.
"Learning how to farm is a really important thing. Everybody eats, therefore, somebody has to know how to grow the food," said Kohanowich. "I'm grateful for the support that the college has given this program and continues to give this program."
CCCC's Sustainable Agriculture Associate in Applied Science program began in 2002. The Farm and Continuing Education classes in sustainable farming began in 1996. Developed in partnership with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension and with input from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the curriculum focuses on farming as a business, with the production and entrepreneurial skills associated with that.
Students work with fellow classmates to plant, cultivate, and harvest a variety of produce. They learn to utilize a variety of tools and equipment, including tractors and tillers. Field trips, farm tours, and internships enhance the learning experience.
Graduates are awarded an Associate in Applied Science degree. The curriculum, designed as a two-year program, includes classes in soil, plant and animal science, practical gardening skills, biological pest management, sustainable livestock management, greenhouse design and agricultural marketing.
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