Eric Belsey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fri, 5 Feb 1999 17:25:54 -0700
I need to add my .02- as a highly idealistic organic/biodynamic/co-creative horticulturalist who mistakenly attended a state ag school (Colorado State University). After profound disillusionment with the research directions and general attitude in the Hort. Dept, I finally find myself graduating this semester in Extension Ed.
Here, the students who are interested in hands-on hort education have had to practically commandeer a plot and a budget to teach ourselves about organic gardening. There has been support (a small budget), but no faculty leadership, and many of the faculty wish organics would go away. There is a general attitude that hands-on learning is by definition "vocational" and below the scope of this prestigious research institution. The most concentrated faculty support we have received has been from the Sociology Dept! Our real leadership has come from highly qualified students who have given time and direction almost uncompensated.
Now, when I discuss this experience, I tell people I came here to learn how not to farm. I believe (hope!) there are other land-grants and institutions that have a more balanced approach. Here, the overwhelming emphasis is on industrial agribusiness, livestock, and ornamental (landscape) hort. They considered eliminating the Food Crops program, due to lack of student interest, which can be traced to the fact it was run into the ground by its' present leadership. It is sad, but it is slowly changing in response to our activities and prodding.
I believe that the presuppositions of agribusiness which form the background here make it such that many would-be organic farmer/activists like myself would be better served by going directly to a farm, and skipping this expensive batch of lies altogether. It does educate one in what one is up against though!
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