Gettin’ Educated

I’ve been going to school for approximately forever, with no end in sight. I’m working on  degree in something but it’s been so long, I can’t remember what credentials will someday grace my wall. This semester has presented me with a unique challenge opportunity. California’s budgetary crisis has caused my community college to cut classes by 25% and increase enrollment at the same time. For me, this means that I couldn’t get the two classes I need in order to transfer. I also can’t just take a semester off because I’ve been going to school for so long, the criteria for my degree has changed. If I stop going, I will have to comply with the new criteria and I am not even close to being on track for that. As long as I stay enrolled, there’s good faith that I am working on my degree and I get to stay the original course. Since I have to stay enrolled and I can’t get the classes I need, I figured I should take the classes I’m interested in taking. What a novel idea! I might actually enjoy school this semester.

How does this apply to you dear reader? Well, I’m gettin’ educated for the greater good of the ranch. I’m taking Organic Food Production (HORT 71.) HORT 71 focuses on “principles of good management agriculture.” I’m assuming he’s using good management in the same way that one might use sustainable or biodynamic; as another farming technique/philosophy. Most of the class is hands on. By the middle of March we will be done reading text and all theory will be presented as lecture with hands on training at the college’s farm. I’m pretty excited about propagating, composting and irrigating for college credit. Every Saturday morning is a lab conducted at the college’s horticulture center. We will be taking field trips to local farms to learn about marketing and CSA practices. Who knew school could be so interesting?

To add to all that, I think I may actually enjoy the instructor, which is a rarity in my academic life. Most of the time I tolerate my instructors, at best. I frequently drop classes when the instructor rubs me the wrong way on the first day of class. It took me three semesters to find an English professor I could live with for English 2. This instructor, Doug O’Brien, actually works in the real world as a crop consultant and though quietly unassuming, he made a statement about local agriculture that involved the phrase, “the tyranny of strawberries,” denouncing the cash crop monoculture that rules our Santa Cruz County. I love a good catch phrase.

I can’t wait to learn new things that I can apply to the ranch. This class is very exciting, especially since I have decided to sell some of my seedlings this year. Actually, it wasn’t a decision so much as a necessity. As it turns out, I’m an addict and I can’t stop buying seeds. Then when I plant them, I’m pretty good at growing them. Well, today, I started 180 various pepper seeds. Let me know if you’re interested in buying seedlings. I’ll get a list up shortly of all the things I have planted and all the things I’m selling. Hopefully, I’ll get a lot out of the marketing section of my course.

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