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Feb 1

Urban Agriculture Soil-Less Certificate: Introduction to Urban Agriculture

February 1 @ 8:00 am - March 16 @ 3:00 pm EST

This course provides a basic introduction to soilless growing, with an emphasis on hydroponics and aquaponics.

This course gives participants a glimpse into the past and looks at current soil-less growing trends in today’s agricultural world. Participants will dive into the basic needs and choices of system design, material selection, the best options for fish and plants, and the implementation of first steps.

The program includes 11 courses:

I. Introduction to Urban Agriculture

This course is a basic introduction to soilless growing, with a focus on hydroponics and aquaponics. It dives into the history and trends of soilless growing and why urban agriculture is needed. Also, this course includes a video tour of UDC’s onsite soilless systems!

Course Instructor: Victoria Mirowski

II. A Closer Look at Hydroponics

This course provides a basic introduction of “why” soilless growing is used and an in-depth introduction to hydroponics. The focus is the Urban Food Hubs Model at Bertie Backus, including its business plan.

Guest Speakers: Bryan Jackson, owner of District Flora.

III. A Deep Dive into WHY Soilless?

This course provides a basic introduction to why soilless growing is used, with a focus on the Urban Food Hubs Model at PR Harris. This course offers a more in-depth introduction to soilless growing and takes a deeper look at the Urban Food Hubs Model business plan set up at PR Harris.

Guest Speaker: Thomas Wheet, UDC P.R. Harris Food Hub Manager.

IV. System Design and Material Selection

This course provides a basic introduction to all soilless system designs, including Dutch buckets, NFTs, and more. It also looks at choosing the best setup for the space you have – location, location, location! In addition, it provides a basic introduction to materials used for the system design and the multiple options you can choose. It discusses growing mediums, seedling mediums, tank options, filter options, and more.

Guest Speaker: Brian Filipowich, owner of Anacostia Aquaponics and cochair of the Aquaponics Association.

V. Fish and Plant Selection

This course provides a basic introduction to popular plant and fish species used in soilless systems. It looks at what is currently being grown and how system design advances can change what the future holds.

Course Instructor: Victoria Mirowski

VI. Seeding and Transplanting

This course provides a basic introduction to the best how-to-methods for seeding, transplanting, and propagating in soilless systems. It gives participants access to hands-on demonstration videos to succeed in these tasks and discusses issues that may arise.

Course Instructor: Victoria Mirowski

VII. Nutrient Management

This course explores the best practices and techniques for managing nutrients. It covers each nutrient’s role for the plants, how and why they show up in our systems, and how to manage the balance over time and growth. It also discusses symptoms of unmanaged nutrients.

Course Instructor: Victoria Mirowski

VIII. Integrated Pest Management

This course gives a general introduction to integrated pest management methods. It identifies pests, prevention methods, and post infestation solutions specifically focused on a greenhouse setting. Also, it dives into the risks specific management solutions may cause for fish.

Course Instructor: Victoria Mirowski

IX. Fish Environment

This course looks at the best practices and techniques for managing fish health and discusses how to create the perfect environment for your fish in an aquaponics system. Also, it dives into balancing a system, stocking densities, health risks, and more.

Course Instructor: Victoria Mirowski

X. Harvesting

This course covers the best how-to methods for harvesting in soilless systems and the unique techniques farmers have found helpful over the years.

Course Instructor: Victoria Mirowski

XI. Food Safety

This course introduces basic, standard guidelines of food safety, focusing on soilless growing and best practices of postharvest handling.

Course Instructor: Paul Brown, Jr., UDC Food Safety Coordinator.

What You Will Learn:

– The history and trends of soilless growing

– Why urban agriculture is needed

– Introduction to hydroponics & aquaponics

– Urban Food Hub business planning (Bertie Backus & PRH Models)

– Soilless system designs

– Growing and seedling mediums

– Filter options

– Popular plant and fish species used in soilless systems

– Advances in system design

– Methods for seeding, transplanting, and propagating in soilless systems

– The role of nutrients in plants

– How to identify deficiencies in plants

– The basic knowledge of plant structure

– Integrated pest management methods, specifically in terms of greenhouses

– IPM risks that threaten fish health

– Best practices and techniques for management of fish health

– Methods for harvesting in soilless systems

– Basic food safety guidelines

Credentials Earned: These are ALL noncredit courses. The courses may be used towards an Urban Agriculture Soilless Certificate, a 15-hour UDC certificate (all courses must be completed).

How Offered: Available Online- Courses are pre-recorded for participants to watch on their own time. Live Q & A are offered throughout the course, TBA.

Time Offered: February 1 – March 15, 2021.

Length of Course: 11 courses; 15 hours. Classes range from 30 minutes – 90 minutes.

Course Fees: Free

For further information about this course, please contact Victoria Mirowski at victoria.mirowski@udc.edu or 202-819-5704.

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