SPARTANBURG — Spartanburg Community College is one step closer to finalizing materials and equipment needed for a new Sustainable Agriculture certificate program thanks to a grant from Dominion Energy of Richmond, VA. The $5,000 grant will fund startup costs of SCC’s new program, which is scheduled to begin in August at the start of the fall 2017 semester, and will introduce students to sustainable agriculture, agribusiness and food systems.
“We are so appreciative of the generous donation from Dominion Energy to our new Sustainable Agriculture program and what it will mean to students interested in this thriving profession,” says Jason Bagwell, SCC’s department chair of horticulture. “This grant will allow us to begin work on developing the agriculture production facilities and gardens. Our new sustainable agricultural area will have a variety of gardens, bee hives and greenhouses used for teaching hydroponics and aquaponics — all which will be awesome additions to our arboretum and outdoor classroom for our students and community.”
Bagwell says this certificate is designed for individuals interested in or already employed in the production of agronomic crops in a sustainable environment, and will prepare graduates for jobs in the agribusiness and food systems industry. “Students will learn the ecological, biological, environmental and economic impact of growing food such as fruits and vegetables sustainably,” he explains. “The program is designed to strengthen our local environment, food systems and economy by providing educated and skilled employees for the farm to table industry in our state. It’s a great way for someone to jump into this professional or learn more to compliment previous education or skills they may have already acquired. And, it’s a flexible opportunity for students since they can begin any term (fall, spring or summer) and credits can transfer into our horticulture associate degree as well.”
“Dominion Energy and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation serve our communities through charitable giving, volunteer activities and educational programs. We are pleased to partner with the Spartanburg County Community College to advance agricultural education through the new Sustained Agriculture Program,” said Kristen Beckham, External Affairs, for Dominion Energy.
Although the “idea of agricultural sustainability — stewarding the food production resource base for the use of future generations” — may seem as a new, popular trend among those conscious of healthy eating and living, it’s actually not so new according to the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA cites the 1990 Farm Bill by Congress as defining “the term sustainable agriculture to be an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term will …
• satisfy human food and fiber needs
• enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends
• make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls
• sustain the economic viability of farm operations
• enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole
“Our goal is to begin construction of the gardens and infrastructure with students, when classes begin on August 14,” adds Bagwell. “I hope to graduate students that are passionate and prepared for the requirements of the profession and have knowledge of environmental systems, design, farm construction, management, harvesting, and marketing of farm to table systems.”
For more information on SCC’s Sustainable Agriculture certificate program, visit
www.sccsc.edu/horticulture/ or contact Jason Bagwell [email protected] or (864) 592-4646.
Registration for SCC fall semester classes is going on now for classes begin on August 14, September 19, October 9 and October 25. Individuals interested in registering for classes can apply online at www.sccsc.edu or contact the admissions center at any SCC location for more assistance.
About Dominion Energy.
Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 26,200 megawatts of generation, 15,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,600 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion Energy operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves more than 6 million utility and retail energy customers. For more information about Dominion Energy, visit the company’s website at www.dominionenergy.com.
About Spartanburg Community College
SCC offers more than 70 academic program offerings including associate degrees, diplomas and certificates, plus University Transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities. SCC provides flexible class scheduling including day, evening, weekend classes with multiple start dates and more than 100 online classes through SCCOnline. Offering the lowest tuition in the region, convenient locations, and regional/national accreditations, SCC offers educational opportunities leading to high-growth, high-demand jobs. The SCC Corporate & Community Education Division provides job and career enhancement, workforce development and personal enrichment courses and training programs. For more information, visit www.sccsc.edu.
Cheri Anderson-Hucks is Director of Marketing for Spartanburg Community College.