Assiniboine Community College will offer a new advanced diploma starting this September with a focus on food production.
The one-year sustainable food systems program is designed to emphasize innovation in food production, food security and post-harvest management.
"This is for people who already have post-secondary training that really want to get that hands-on experience," Derrick Turner, dean of business, agriculture and environment at ACC, told the Sun in a recent interview.
"It’s definitely got a labour market focus to it, which is (ACC’s) priority. But it’s also got a society part to it where people are really getting interested in how their food is produced."
The program will give students a chance to utilize greenhouse and field space at ACC’s North Hill campus during fruit and vegetable production, greenhouse operations and agronomic crop production.
"It’s using it in a way that it was originally used as a mental-health facility," Turner said, referring to the North Hill campus grounds. "They had gardens and they grew food up there."
Students will also contribute to the college’s long-term research being done on different greenhouse models and how they impact food security in northern climates.
ACC started accepting applications for the program earlier this month, and Turner said he predicts it will be a popular one among both students and interested community members.
"People are really starting to be interested in where and how their food is produced and food security," he said. "We wouldn’t be surprised if people just have more of a general interest wanting to find out what this is about."
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