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Horticulture – Food and Farming – Durham College

We’re offering the Food and Farming program because there is an immense need in the area, there’s a lot of farming operations as well as food producers. There’s also a big movement to go more local. People are really interested in local produce and so we want to help students that are interested in doing that. I farm in North Durham and create grains for food stock and ethanol production. I work on a family farm. The idea is to give a really comprehensive base so that they take everything from soil, plant nutrition, germinating plants, growing, propagating, looking at actually getting the product and then once they have the product, how do I create something that is sellable to a market, how do I engage the market to want to buy my product, so how can I make my business successful, determine who my niche market is and make a living out of it. The most rewarding thing about agriculture in the agricultural industry is entrepreneurialship the agricultural industry in Durham is the largest industry in Durham Region and we employ basically for every farmer 7 people are employed. It is an up and coming industry that has much more needed employment as the farms basically become much larger. The new program, Food and Farming within the Centre of Food is an exciting program. It’s part of a whole concept of food. Of course we know we grow food and Durham College has a long history of food sciences and at the end of it we go into service of food within the culinary arts. It’s really the beginning of the idea of the field to fork centre, the food and farming is going to allow us to bring in students that will look at the demonstration of pots, while work within greenhouses and soil and hydroponic and try to replicate what’s occurring in the Durham Region. As we know in the Durham Region, we have vegetable growers, we have cash croppers, we have people who are using brand new technology and growing 12 months a year, spinach and lettuce. It’s about bringing the use of technology all within our program at the Whitby Campus as part of the Centre for Food. Most people who take this have a real desire to work for themselves in a lot of cases. It’s gonna be hard work but it’s really fulfilling work. There’s also working for other farmers and supports for other farms. There are smaller farming businesses that do need assistance, they need people that know what they’re doing to assist them with operations. The skills and knowledge the students are going to gain are going to really replicate the industry itself. We’ve had about a 2 and a half year conversation with the farming and the horticulture industry in preparing for this program and developing the curriculum in this program. So we believe that it aligns very closely with their needs, with the type of skills and knowledge that students are going to need to be employed within the 2 sectors. If you take a look at the concept of urban farming or urban agriculture and living close to Toronto, it’s an ongoing discussion, how can we grow things within an urban centre. I really enjoy the agricultural industry, I’ve done it basically since my graduation. I find it fulfilling because I get to create things and it is very entrepreneurial.

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