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About Clemson Sustainable Agriculture Program

Clemson University works to create regionally and nationally recognized models for Sustainable Agriculture through research, teaching and public outreach programs.

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Program History
Planning Process

Program Personnel

Student Organic Farm

Training CalendarBeth Wall picks flowers on the student organic farm

Sustainable Agriculture Program Overview-

The Clemson University Sustainable Agriculture (SA) Program provides sustainable agriculture education and outreach programs to Cooperative Extension Service personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff and other agriculture professionals, farmers, and landowners with an interest in sustainable agriculture.


The Program is managed by stakeholder input through an advisory committee consisting of farmers, agriculture professionals, Non-Government representatives and others with an interest in sustainable agriculture development.


Several research and outreach activities devoted to sustainable agriculture involve various Clemson colleges, departments and outlying research and education centers. For example, the Agroecology Program at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center ( is devoted to sustainable row crop farming methods. The Coastal and Edisto RECs conduct research on sustainable vegetable, small grain, cotton, peanut, soybean and livestock production. (Coastal REC-,Edisto REC- The Clemson Student Organic Farm Project (http...student farm...) is devoted to research and demonstration of organic production methods for high value vegetables, herbs and cut flowers.


The SA Program also host several workshops and outreach opportunities for the benefit of local small farmers in the southeast. Please see our calendar for upcoming events.


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Program History-The CSA held on campus in the beginning

Clemson University has supported the development of sustainable agriculture programs for stakeholders since the days of Thomas Clemson and John C. Calhoun. In May 2000 the position of Sustainable Agriculture (SA) Coordinator was formally established at Clemson. Professor Geoff Zehnder, in the Department of Entomology, Soils and Plant Sciences, currently serves as Program Coordinator for the Sustainable Agriculture and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs and divides his time between the two.


The impetus for the current SA Program at Clemson came in November 2000 when a group of Clemson faculty and staff went on a two-day field trip to the North Carolina State University Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) in Goldsboro, NC. During the trip, participants discussed ways to enhance and promote awareness of Clemson SA programs and projects. It was recommended that a SA conference be organized as a vehicle to highlight current on- and off-campus programs and for participants to exchange ideas. This Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture Futures Conference was held in February 2002. An expert panel of six national public and private sector leaders in sustainable agriculture participated to help identify areas for future development. These recommendations have served and will continue to serve as a roadmap for the current and future development of the Clemson Sustainable Agriculture Program. Conference proceedings and recommendations are available by clicking on the following link:

2002 Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture Futures Conference Proceedings


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Planning Process-

The Program is managed by stakeholder input through an advisory committee consisting of farmers, agriculture professionals, Non-Government representatives and others with an interest in sustainable agriculture development. Every Year the advisory committee meets to determine the direction and focus of the program for that year. Minutes for these meetings are available below.


Overview of the SARE funding mechanism, the SC Model State Program and activity highlights can be viewed in the following PowerPoint presentation: SARE Funding Presentation


A priortized list of the current year's training needs, determined by the Advisory Committee, can be found here:


2016 Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2015 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2014 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2013 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2012 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2011 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2010 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2009 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2008 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2007 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)

2006 AC Meeting Minutes (PDF)


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Southern SARE Professional Developement Program-

Development and Integration of Sustainable Agriculture Core Curriculum Training into the Southern Region Extension Education System


The overall goal of this 3-year project (2005-2008) is to comprehensively incorporate the principles and practices of sustainable agriculture into training modules and programs for agricultural professionals in the southern region. To provide easy access to these materials, the resulting sustainable agriculture curriculum will be integrated with the Cooperative Extension Curriculum Project (CECP), which includes an on-line content management system that was established by the Southern Region Program Leadership Network. Information in this on-line system is available to all 1862 and 1890 land grant institutions in the Southern Region.


[Read 2005-2008 SC SARE PDP Model State Program Grant Proposal]


While Clemson University is the lead institution on this project, it is a collaborative effort with specialists from North Carolina State University, Prairie View A & M University, Central Carolina Community College, Florida Organic Growers, Mississippi State University, and University of Florida.


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CFSA "Institution of the Year" Award - 2004

Clemson University was the recipient of the "Institution of the Year" Award (for 2004) from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. The award recognized Clemson's Sustainable Agriculture Program and accomplishments in promoting the development of sustainable agriculture in the Carolinas. The award, in the form of a hand-made ceramic plaque, was presented on November 13 at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Asheville, NC, attended by over 600 people.


National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Recognition Award

Clemson University was one of seven campuses to receive a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Campus Ecology Recognition Award for the 2003-2004 academic year. These awards are given to reward campuses for setting practical conservation goals towards which significant achievement is made during the academic year.

During the 2003-2004 academic year, Clemson students established a "Worm Wigwam" vermicomposter at the Calhoun Field Laboratory in an effort to demonstrate an alternative method for disposing of cafeteria waste and to increase public awareness of the value of vermicomposting. The worms were fed food scraps (plant material only) from ARA Dining Services at Schilletter Dining Hall. Initially, the worms were fed five pounds of food waste per week. As the worms began to feed more steadily, the amount of food scraps was increased to 25 to 30 pounds per week. In the spring of 2004, worm castings were harvested, air-dried, sieved, bagged and sold at the Campus Farmer's Market for $5 per four-pound bag.

For more details of the project, please visit the National Wildlife Foundation Campus Ecology web site.

          Campus Ecology Recognition Banner and link to the National Wildlife Federation


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For additional information on Clemson SA programs and activities, please contact Geoff Zehnder, SA Program Coordinator, or Kelly Gilkerson, Associate SA Program Coordinator.

Maintained by: Kelly A. Gilkerson    
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