Organic Gardening and Local Food Systems

Course Description: 

This course will be both a theoretical and practical introduction to agroecology and organic gardening techniques. It will include an overview of soil management, crop rotation, companion planting, and pest management, urban composting techniques, and local food systems.  It will include a brief overview of different philisophical approaches to organic management practices, such as permaculture, biodynamic, and  biointensive techniques.The students’ main task will be to make a garden design plan for the spring CEU rooftop garden, justifying their choices, thus integrating various aspects of the theory they have learned. Students will also sign up for volunteer sessions to manage the first steps in planting the rooftop garden, including starting seeds, transplanting, watering, etc.

The course will also feature various guest speakers and field trips related to understanding the historical and contemporary development of local food systems in Hungary, particularly in and around Budapest. Students will have a chance to meet with Budapest farm, garden, and market managers and hear about the challenges they face. There will also be training sessions held on the Zsambok organic farm (near Godollo), managed by Matthew Hayes, Logan Strenchok and colleagues.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Understand and farming techniques, and the complexities and challenges of managing small organic garden or participating in a local food system
  • Create a functional garden design, including crop selection, crop rotation, and soil and pest management elements
  • Apply and reflect upon basic practical organic gardening techniques


  • Class attendance 15%
  • Journal reflection  20% 
  • Garden design 35%
  • Volunteer and field work and blog entries 30%


This course will be a prerequisite for the spring term organic gardening practicum