Washing lettuce and carrots at COA's Beech Hill Farm. Washing lettuce and carrots at COA's Beech Hill Farm.Understanding food and its production requires insights from history, anthropology, economics, politics, ecology, botany, chemistry, and so on. Accordingly, we have a diverse and interdisciplinary set of classes in the area of farming and food systems, such as Transforming Food Systems, Agroecology, Corn and Coffee, Farm Animal Management, and Land and Climate.

Get your hands dirty

In addition to learning about the ethics, anthropology, and politics of food, there are lots of opportunities to get your hands dirty. Literally. The college owns and operates two organic farms. Classes make use of these farms, and there are opportunities to work on the farms both during the school year and during the productive summer months. The college’s farms host 8-12 public workshops every year, on a wide range of topics in sustainable agriculture. The college also holds an annual Farm Day event which features guest speakers and a community meal at Beech Hill Farm.

Multiple scales of learning and action

Students who choose to work on farming and food systems at COA do so on different scales. Some focus on learning production techniques and farm management skills, or contributing to local food security and resilience efforts. Others work at the international level to understand food politics and the economics forces that affect agriculture. Students participate in the yearly meetings of the UN Committee on World Food Security and its civil society mechanism or in classes such as French Food Politics and European Political Institutions. On campus, students learn about the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the local effects of international trade regimes.