Summer Institute in Sustainable Agriculture

Zena Farm, West Salem, Oregon


Since 2009 the Summer Institute in Sustainable Agriculture at Zena Farm has been offered as a two-credit residential program providing students with hands-on organic farming experience and interdisciplinary academic coursework examining the ecological, social, economic, and ethical implications of our food system, while living in a sustainable community in the heart of the fertile Willamette Valley. Students have learned about the challenges and benefits to establishing a sustainable farming system, get dirty implementing farming techniques, and participate in midday workshops and seminars on sustainable living, which cover such topics as food preparation and preservation, energy conservation, and DIY homesteading methods. In addition to two academic courses and valuable field experience, the program has included field trips to local farms, dairies, food processing plants and markets, as well as free time for exploring the 305 acre property.


February 2, 2015: The University has determined that agricultural activities at Zena must halt to address legal issues with the property. Unfortunately as a result the Summer Institute in Sustainable Agriculture will not be offered in 2015. Please see the February 2nd Bearcat Bulletin for more information about this decision. For additional information please contact:

Joe Abraham, Ph.D.
Director, Willamette University Sustainability Institute
and Zena Forest & Farm
(503) 370-6482