Education and Training Opportunities

Food Systems-Related Certification Programs

This is a regularly updated list of training programs around the U.S and Canada

Community-Based Development Certificate, Colorado State

This online certificate program is designed for people who plan to work or volunteer in community development, or who already work in this field and want to advance their careers. Participants will be prepared with practical tools to meet today's challenges as project directors, community leaders, grassroots activists, funders, and field workers in community-based organizations and governmental and nongovernmental organizations. With a wide variety of electives, participants are able to tailor the program to meet their needs and interests.

Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic Development, Penn State University

This postbaccalaureate certificate program provides graduate-level courses for entry and midcareer professionals who wish to expand their knowledge and skills for dealing with quality-of-life and development issues in neighborhoods, towns, small cities, and rural regions. The program also meets the needs of those who are considering a career in community and economic development and want to find out if this profession is right for them.

Sustainable Local Food Certificate, St. Lawrence College, Canada (ONLINE)

This certificate explores the practices, principles and philosophies involved in local food system development. The focus is on increasing both academic and hands-on knowledge of regional food initiatives across Canada, alongside international best practices. There is a specific concentration on applied learning, online networking, and community research. This certificate is the first of its kind in Canada, providing a cutting edge advantage when competing for work in the sustainable local food sector. To successfully complete this program, participants must complete six (6) compulsory courses.

Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming, University of Massachusetts

15-credit Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming designed for: adults looking to make a career change, returning Veterans, high school grads not yet ready to go to college full-time, and those of you pursuing a lifelong interest related to food, farming, homesteading or gardening. Our online program has been particularly attractive to the fastest growing farm demographic in New England, farms managed by women. We know how busy your lives can be, so our online classes may be taken on your own schedule. You don't have to compromise your personal health to learn how to make the world around you a healthier place!

Sustainable Food Systems Certificate, University of Minnesota

The Sustainable Food Systems certificate is a self-paced, independent study format. It contains topics of study with resources and activities, as well as questions guiding to a discussion forum.

Participants in the certificate will gain an understanding of sustainability and how it relates to the current United States food system model. The certificate will provide a strong foundation of learning and skills for working in regional food systems from production, to advocacy, to service, to education. The certificate will provide opportunities for online learners to acquire the knowledge, skills, and understanding that are needed to create change in their communities and build a sustainable food system model for the future – one that is ecologically, economically, and socially viable.

Breakthrough Leaders for Sustainable Food Systems Professional Certificate, University of Vermont 

True leadership is about the capacity of people and communities to shape the futures they desire. This innovative online and on-campus cross-disciplinary program addresses the social, environmental, economic, and diet and health (SEED) impacts of our food system. Our Breakthrough Leaders Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems builds. on UVM's distinction in this field.

Food Hub Management Professional Certificate Program, University of Vermont 

The first of its kind in the country, this program is an innovative blend of hands-on, community-based online and on-campus learning to prepare you for managing food hubs. The program provides the tools you need to advance your career in food systems.

Certificate of Completion in Sustainable Food Systems, Rio Salado College, Tempe, Arizona

The Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Sustainable Food Systems program is designed for students who want to learn about historical events that mark the nation’s current food model and take part in creating solutions to alter this model to produce a more sustainable food system worldwide. Course topics include concepts covering gardening concepts, food safety and security, sustainability principles and strategies, global food systems and sustainable food production systems. Students may also earn certification in a national food service safety and sanitation program. An Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Sustainable Food Systems is also available.

USDA Education and Training Programs

Sustainable Agriculture Education and Training Directory

This online directory of academic and training programs in sustainable, alternative, and organic agriculture serves to insure the public's knowledge of and access to the most current information on today's educational opportunities in the United States. It identifies undergraduate and graduate programs, university research programs, research and demonstration farms, student organic or sustainable farms, and related training programs and opportunities.

SARE Professional Development Program

SARE's Professional Development Program (PDP) works in every state and island protectorate providing training, grants and resources for ag professionals to build their awareness, knowledge and skills related to sustainable agriculture concepts. PDP opportunities are intended for a wide range of professionals, including: Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), the private sector, and NGOs.

PDP Competitive Grants

Professional Development grants educate Cooperative Extension Service staff and other ag professionals. Contact SARE PDC in each region for grant opportunities.

SARE Professional Development Coordinators:

North Central
Rob Myers, Ph.D.
Regional Coordinator (Chapter 3) and Director of Professional Development (Extension) Programs
University of Missouri
238 Ag Engineering Bldg.
Columbia, MO 65211
Office phone: 573-882-1547
Fax: 573-884-5650
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Janet McAllister, Professional Development Coordinator
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4067
Storrs, CT 06269-5102
Phone: 860-486-1950
Cell: 860-992-5046
Fax: 860-486-4062
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
David Redhage, PDP Manager
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture
24456 Kerr Road
Poteau, OK 74953
Phone: (918) 647-9123
Fax: (918) 647-8712
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jim Freeburn, PDP Regional Training Coordinator
4516 Highway 26/85
Torrington, WY 82240
Phone: (307) 532-2436
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.