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Sustainable Agriculture CTE Program

As an Oregon State Career and Technical Education Program, students can receive six college credits for taking Intro to Sustainable Agriculture, and four college credits for taking Urban Farming. Complete all four recommended classes (Biology, Intro to Sustainable Agriculture, Urban Farming, AP Environmental Science) and a Senior Capstone Project, and receive a Sustainable Agriculture Endorsement in addition to college credit. These students will be honored at graduation by wearing a neon chord.

Madison’s Sustainable Agriculture Program is rooted in hands-on learning, teaching practical gardening, cooking, and business skills. Agriculture is the intentional attempt by humans to influence what plants grow where, when. Sustainable agriculture is a system of growing food and fiber that does not damage the soil, air or water, even over many generations.

The program offers practical gardening and urban farming techniques. Students visit the school garden regularly and take field trips to local farms and other horticulture programs. Students plant, harvest, and eat food from the garden, start seeds indoors, work in the greenhouse, prepare soil for planting, identify medicinal and edible plants. Students will build a compost pile so hot it will melt cheese!  

This program also provides small business skills and opportunities to pursue paid and unpaid internships in sustainable agriculture. Small business skills include: planning, management, marketing, financing, and networking with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). Put those skills into action by developing and running a Madison Farmer’s Market. This "living" business will sell a combination of produce grown from the school garden, as well as value-added products like jam, pickles, salsa, pesto, and tomato sauce made by students. 


This class is an introduction to growing food and beneficial plants in the school gardens. Students work and learn in the school garden by doing the following things:

  • Break ground to make a new garden bed

  • Build raised beds

  • Build healthy soil biology with plants, good bacteria and fungi

  • Prepare soil for planting

  • Plant seeds and plant starts

  • Identify plant patterns

  • Save seeds

  • Experiment with yield outcomes based on your choice of variables

  • Use an array of garden and small farm tools to grow food and soil health

  • Study and observe the soil food web

  • Cook and make food with vegetables from the gardens

  • Make tea and medicine from various plant parts

  • Store carbon in the soil and DO SOMETHING that will have a direct impact on helping climate change.

In this class we also learn about and acknowledge past and present injustices within the food and agriculture system locally, nationally, and globally. Students reimagine what a just food system will look like, and take steps in creating that. Students also learn about plant science and explore careers related to sustainable agriculture. Receive 3 college credits in Organic Farming Practicum for completing one year of Food and Sustainable Agriculture.


Students are required to take Food & Sustainable Agriculture before Food & Urban Farming.  This class is recommended for but not limited to students in 9th and 10th grade.


 Students in Food & Urban Farming work and learn in the school garden from a leadership and management perspective. The pace of Urban Farming goes much faster as each student in the class has already mastered garden skills. This allows for much more independence and project-based learning. Students in this class get to engage in an independent project of their choosing. Students research and design a real project that they implement into the garden, school or classroom. Urban farming students cook, make plant medicine, and manage the greenhouse and plant sale. 

Receive 3 college credits in Propagation of Edible Plants (HOR-135) from Clackamas Community College for completing one year of Food & Urban Farming. Students are required to take Food & Sustainable Agriculture before Food & Urban Farming. Students in 10th, 11th and 12th grade can take this class.

Prerequisite: Food & Sustainable Agriculture (1-2)  


Students in this independent study will complete a project or engage in an internship with a sustainable agriculture focus. The project can involve community partners that are doing amazing work in sustainable agriculture in and around Portland. Students will develop a detailed plan that includes goals, materials, budget, marketing (if any) and a timeline for their sustainable agriculture project during the first semester. Students will implement the plan during the second semester (and possibly during the summer). Once the project is carried out, students will develop a culminating presentation. Projects can be completed with a partner. Students must be pre-approved for this independent study. Students in 11th and 12th grade can take this class. 


Prerequisite: Food & Sustainable Agriculture and Food & Urban Farming.