Sep 16, 2012

A Permaculture Track at the University of Minnesota

In the past, I have advised current and prospective students about their coursework and permaculture.  Below is the self directed track for my BS program in permaculture design. It was called Temperate Climate Polyculture Design. This is not an actual track in the university system, but a list of courses I have taken or are required within horticulture majors. Some 1xxx courses are high school AP classes.  The combination of design, ecology, and horticulture courses builds an education with the breadth and depth to design resilient ecological systems. It also builds the skill required for professional design presentations incorporating permaculture principles. Choose your path and specialize your expertise in design. Be advised,  I have heard from graduates in my classes that their Landscape Architecture degrees do not contain the horticultural and biological foundations for ecological design. That is why they are in my permaculture design classes after graduation.

If teaching is the goal, I suggest immediate and prolonged experiential learning in real courses starting as a TA and progressing ASAP to presenting lesson plans. Mileage with constant improvements is the key to good teaching. Find a mentor and learn by teaching.

Similar courses exist at OSU, MSU, UNL, Cornell, and other research universities. Offerings change each semester and course content varies per instructor. Many important educational opportunities are outside the college system. Take advantage of short term work-study opportunities.

My Masters degree courses are also listed at the bottom.

 Degree             :  Bachelor of Science and MPS
 Academic Program  :  CLA or College of Continuing Education
 Plan                  :  ICP, BIS, or Hort
 Concentration   :  Permaculture in Horticultural Design

Temperate Climate Polyculture Design

Suggested  Ecological Design Track     
BIOL 1009    General Biology

HORT 1015    Woody & Herbaceous Plants            (Species and Taxonomy)
MATH 1031    College Algebra
CHEM 1061    Chem Prin I and CHEM 1065 Chem Prin I Lab
HORT 2100    Agricultural Biochemistry             (Optional)
HORT 1001    Plant Propagation                (Plant Structures and Physiology)
PLPA  2001    Introductory Plant Pathology for Horticulturists    (Optional, Diseases)
HORT 3005    Environmental Effects on Horticultural Crops    (Climate and Weather)
HORT 1014    Edible Landscapes                    (Global Reference)
FR       3104    Forest Ecology                         (Montgomery)
SOIL   2125    Soil Science Resource                 (Cooper)       
AGRO 4888    Issues in Sustainable Ag            (Summer, Week Trip)
FR       3131    GIS for Natural Resources            (ArcMap Skills)

Permaculture Ecological Designer Track (Years 1-4)
DES 1101W    Introduction to Design Thinking
DES 2101     Design and Visual Presentation    (Adobe Creative Suite)
GDES 3351    Text and Image                 (3352 prereq.)
DHA 3352    Identity and Symbols                (Suman Chu)
HORT xxxx      Sustainable Horticultural Design         (New Design Course, Fall, 2013)

Independent Study (Years 3-4)
HORT 3090.1     D.S., Permaculture Design Certification    (Off-site Summer PDC)
HORT    3090.2  D.S., Mechanisms of Facilitation  (Student Research)
HORT 3090.3     D.S., Polyculture Design     (Using Natural Capital Plant Database and Dave Jacke Books)
American Indian Semester Intensive
AMIN 3201W    American Indian Literature
AMIN 3301    Am Indian Philosophies
AMIN 3303    Am Indians and Photography

AMIN XXXX    Many Options

Degree: Masters of Professional Studies, Horticulture
HORT 5032    Org Veg Prod
HORT 5090    Directed Studies (Design Project)
HORT  5031    Org Viticulture & Fruit Prod
HORT 6011    Plant Prop (unless 1011 was taken)
EEB*  5068    Plant Physiological Ecology
ENT*  5341    Biol Control:Insects & Weeds
CI       5540    Ecology for Educators    (Summer, Educator Track)
HORT 5012    Chinese Medicinal Herbs, Grow & Process
HORT 6002    Problem Solving in Hort   (Final Project)

* Intense study with topics outside previous courses. (But very good)
D.S., Directed Study, (Independent Study).

Your comments on this list and other institutional offerings are appreciated.



Max Daye said...

i go to the uofm... should i major or minor in fisheries to go along with my degree in hort

Daniel Halsey said...

Hi Max,

I do not know the fisheries track, but I would suggest a focus on the ecology, ecological functions, and relationships of fish with plants. Aquaponics is a growing field and needs knowledgeable teachers. People are raising Blue Gill and Perch for food in natural systems.

I would think Fisheries is like hatcheries,all about propagation. Little about dynamics and ecological balance. What have you done so far. There is a lot to do in ag fields and plant physiology.


Ryan Anderson said...

Hi Dan,
Thank you for this helpful information. I am looking to follow a similar path. Right now my husband and I have our PDCs and are starting a Permaculture Design company specializing in GIS. I would like to use my GI Bill benefits to get a Masters and take some of the classes you mention here. Is there someone at the U that you can recommend I talk with?
Thank you,
Megan Anderson
Bemidji, MN

Permaculture and Polyculture Consulting and Design

Permaculture and Polyculture Consulting and Design
Getting to know your property, the plants you have and those you can grow, is a fulfilling endeavor. With most I am the steward of the land. I give them good soil biology and they do the rest. If I group them in cohesive plant communities, they respond with greater yields. If I encourage the micro-organisms (Fungus and bacteria) , the roots obsorb more nutrients making a pest and disease resistant plant. A stronger plant that gives us more organic food and takes less energy.

A Ten Acre Farm Transformed to an Edible Forest Garden

A Ten Acre Farm Transformed to an Edible Forest Garden
Self Renewing Fertility, Soil Building, Water Catchment, Tea Trail Swale, Erosion Control and Native American Medicinals