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Learning About Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems

The Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems is a learning organization. We offer educational materials and programs for motivated individuals to learn from experienced growers and University specialists. The Center has offered a high school curriculum for teachers since its inception, and is now linked with other centers and a national curriculum project. There are opportunities on the Madison campus for students to earn a Masters degree, undergraduate certificates in organic agriculture and food systems, conduct special projects and participate in student organizations.

Curriculum for High School and Technical College Students

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

A curriculum for high school students developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Division of Extension.

Educators are welcome to adapt and reproduce sections of the curriculum for non-commercial use.

Access Toward a Sustainable Agriculture Curriculum


Farm to school and farm to early care and education (ECE) support your efforts to serve local foods in school and early care and education settings, engage in food and nutrition education in the classroom, and provide experiential education including school gardens.

Access Farm-to-Institution Resources

Curriculum Partnerships

CIAS partners with schools, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations to further sustainable agriculture education.

—–The Sustainable Agriculture Education Association offers lesson plans for college-level courses and a way to link with student farms, degree and certificate programs across the country. Participating universities host a biennial conference on even-numbered years.

Access Sustainable Agriculture Education Association

—–North American Food Systems Network works at the forefront of the food systems profession itself, providing networking opportunities, access to practitioner tools, career guidance, student chapters, webinars, and a curated jobs board for people at all levels of this critical-change work.

Access North American Food Systems Network

—–The Inter-Institutional Network for Agriculture, Food and Sustainability is a network of faculty and staff who are actively involved in sustainable agriculture and food systems centers on college campuses in North America. This community of practice hosts various working groups, include one on curriculum development.

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—–The Agriculture of the Middle Working Group offers curriculum on values-based supply chains using business case studies. CIAS is a founding member of this working group.

Access AOTM working group

—–The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program is the first of its kind in the nation. CIAS is a founding member of this collaboration, led by Grassworks. It is now an independent organization operating in several states as a federally accredited apprenticeship program.

Access Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship

—–Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship program, involves many CIAS partners, including faculty associate Julie Dawson, Fair Share CSA Coalition and University of Wisconsin Extension. CIAS also supported development of a professional development program geared toward managers on organic vegetable farms, on topics such as communication and delegation, delivering and receiving feedback, and addressing conflict.

Access Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship Building Leadership Skills for Aspiring and Beginning Managers on Organic Vegetable Farms

Resources For Farmers and Practitioners

Farm 2 Facts

Farm 2 Facts assists farmers market managers to reach their market goals using data and information.

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Apple Talk

Apple Talk connects apple growers and experts during the pest management period – April to August.

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Organic Transitions

CIAS partnered with the University of MN and others to offer curriculum on transitioning to organic, based on stories from award-winning organic farmers.

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Classes For Agricultural Support Professionals

Organic Farming

An organic strawberry farm

Teaching organic dairy farmers how to manage their pasture acreage can enhance their success and profitability.

Access Organic Pasture Management and Soil Health Training

Campus Opportunities

Agroecology M.S. at UW-Madison

The Masters program trains students to research and engage with agricultural systems in a broader environmental and socio-economic context.

Access Agroecology M.S. at UW-Madison

Summer research minigrant program

This program supports graduate students’ summer research. A yearly call for proposals is released in late winter.

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The People’s Farm

A student organization working to promote sustainable agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Formerly known as F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture, The People’s Farm hires students to run a market-type garden and distribute fresh produce to other students every growing season. They also organize workshops on topics of interest.

Access The People's Farm

Food Systems certificate

The certificate in food systems is an option open to all undergraduate students. It assembles an interdisciplinary curriculum, integrating different paradigms across all aspects of food production, distribution, and consumption, along with the context and values inherent to the systems.

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Organic Agriculture certificate

The Organic Agriculture certificate is open to undergraduates to learn about production and processing approaches that define organic agriculture, as well as other dimensions including economic, environmental, health, food systems, and policy.

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Kaufman Lab

The Kaufman Lab for the Study and Design of Food Systems and Marketplaces serves as a home to foster the work of many undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students conducting various projects.

Access the Kaufman Lab

Soil Health & Agroecological Living Lab

SHALL is committed to examining social dynamics that contribute to more than just agroecosystems in Wisconsin and beyond. Our work sits at the intersection of ecological and human well-being. Topics of interest include agroecological justice, the social organization of environmental action, social links between human health and agroecological health, the cultivation of environmental knowledge, perceptions of and connections with the natural environment, socio-ecological conflict, and community, and catalysts of environmental transformation.

Soil Health & Agroecological Living Lab