View article online at http://www.goupstate.com/news/20171104/spartanburg-community-college-looks-to-grow-agriculture-program
Spartanburg Community College hopes one of its newest programs is the final step to
prepare students interested in careers in farming, agriculture or food science.
SCC is working to expand its sustainable agriculture program, which started at the
college this year. Last month, the Mary Black Foundation awarded SCC $76,860 for infrastructure
changes on campus to grow the program s capabilities.
Rebecca Parrish, director of grants at SCC, said the effort will fund a production
building with a meeting room, equipment and storage area, was station and coolers
along with a fruit and vegetable processing area.
A majority of this grant will be used to build that infrastructure on campus, she
said. It s incredibly crucial to have grant funding. Whenever you build a new program
at a college, you have to have partnerships in place and you have to have that funding
to build the infrastructure.
The building will be on the back corner of campus closest to the Fairforest community
with the horticulture program facilities and greenhouse.
Sustainable agriculture combines the best ways to grow food sustainably with agribusiness
and food services studies. SCC students graduating from the program could move on
to most careers in the food industry.
Courses at the college are focused on the ecological, biological, environmental and
economic impacts of sustainably-grown food.
Landscaping, greenhouse nursery work and rain harvesting the process of collecting
rainwater and using it to water the plants inside are also taught in the program.
Last year, Dominion Energy awarded the college $5,000 in grant money for installing
a reservoir tank to catch rain, along with piping to help it flow to the greenhouse.
Jason Bagwell, chairman of the horticulture department, said sustainable farming involves
multiple crops being produced and harvested from a limited amount of land with either
the grower or a specific consumer benefiting.
SCC s program is similar to one started in Spartanburg District 6, Parrish said.
The district grows crops on a piece of land in the historic Cragmoor Farms area, along
with other vegetables grown in a greenhouse just behind the Dorman High School Freshman
Fruits and veggies grown by Dorman High students are used in the district s food service
program, part of lunches for students, and sold at farmers markets at the school some
SCC sustainable agriculture students in the program will work closely with the Hub
City Farmers Market and other local businesses during and after harvests, Parrish
The business experience provided in the program combined with the more science-focused
efforts should give students more than enough preparation for a job in the agribusiness
field, she said.
It s a really hot industry right now. There isn t another program really like it
in this region, she said. We really wanted it to be a teaching tool and to be a resource
to connect us to other people and other organizations.