Training for New Food & Farm Workers in Our City of Gastronomy:

Rural Development & Community Food Systems Certificate Courses


The Center for Regional Food Studies is offering continuing education short courses through the UA Global Initiatives program to help underemployed but skilled citizens in southern Arizona more capably seek green jobs with live-able wages in the food & farm sectors of our economy. Most of these 4 day short courses will first be given at the UA Tech Park on the east side of Metro Tucson.


Here are the synopses of the first four courses:


Fruits of Your Labors:
February 16 – 19

This hands-on field course will focus on the care of fruit trees in the Desert Southwest & the elaboration of value-added products from the fruits themselves. Backyard & small scale orchard keepers will be offered tips on selecting low-chill, heat-adapted fruit tree varieties for planting; on designing orchards & amending their soils; on pruning & grafting apples & stone fruits; on rooting cuttings of other fruit bearing species; & on elaborating products such as syrups, shrubs, fruit leathers & bitters from your own harvests. It will include one field trip to Patagonia.


Greenhouse & High Tunnel Management:
March 29 – April 1

This course will offer both backyard food producers & potential commercial greenhouse workers or managers will basic management principles for food production for direct-marketing in greenhouses, hoop houses & high tunnels. The issues of managing controlled environments in desert regions with summer high temperatures & radiation levels mean adapting strategies used in conventional greenhouses in temperate zones. Focus will be on high-value food crops, medicinal & culinary herbs that require multiple harvests over a long season. Field trips will go to Amado-Tumacaori & Patagonia.


Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land:
April 26 – 29

This course will focus on offering hands-on experiences in adapting small scale food production to hotter, drier conditions associated with global climate change & urban heat islands. It will feature design-principles for growing food in landscapes ranging from a quarter acre to four acres in size, covering water & nutrient harvesting, water storage & building soil water-holding capacity & efficient delivery of irrigation to root zones of crops. It will offer the permaculture principles of spatially & temporally managing a diversity of crops in “desert nurse plant guilds. Selecting seed & fruit crops for hot dry conditions is another key topic. Field trips will go to Patagonia & central-western Tucson demo sites.


Food Safety Compliance: Strategies, Permits & regulations, from Field to Table:
May 31 – June 3

This short course will take an ecosystem approach to food safety in fields, gardens, orchards and pens for small-scale livestock, all the way to the dinner table. It will note possible entry points & environmental conditions which enable the introduction & proliferation of food-borne pathogens, & feature common-sense strategies for their control & management. In food preparation, it will focus primarily on the issues of maintain food safety in value-added products prepared in home- or community-based commercial kitchens. It will emphasize food spoilage issues common in arid lands.


If you would like to attend these courses, please register at The Center of Regional Food Studies, of the University of Arizona.





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