PICA Seminar (ENVS 91F/191F)

"The garden offered many valuable lessons to learn – which was more interesting and memorable than learning in a classroom…Listening to the opinions of others related to sustainability truly opened my eyes in many ways."

Through seminars and field experience students are encouraged to address questions important in the cultivation of sustainable communities. Environmental Studies faculty member, Steve Gliessman, leads a two-unit PICA Seminar (ENVS 91F/191F) each quarter that introduces students to concepts of community and agroecology in the context of sustainability. Students who take the Seminar for upper division credit are encouraged to take on a leadership role in the class. They are involved in leading hands-on activities out in the field which link discussion topics with practical experience. From planting cover crops in the Foundational Roots Garden, to building the Village composting system, to removing invasive plants at the CASFS farm, these students are able to share their knowledge with other members of the PICA community. Students who want to deepen their understanding of agroecology and gain more hands-on experience can also participate in 2-unit internships at local farms, school gardens, and community organizations. This course takes place on Thursdays from 4-7pm and includes a community meal.

"Another thing this class has taught me is to be confident, to just go and start projects, that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do things, and that a lot of the fun is experimenting and learning as you go.  Also that it is more fun when you are working with friends."

Local Internships

Local internship opportunities range from working with kids in school gardens, to studying ecological garden design, to hands-on engagement with environmental justice initiatives. Agroecology, environmental education, conservation, and sustainability are all topics of study available through these internships which are sponsored by outside organizations.

PICA also offers a local internship working within the PICA community at UCSC. These internship opportunities are varied and can be tailored to fit the interests of each student. Examples of potential projects include leading activities in the PICA garden for the campus community, managing the Village compost system, and outreaching to students and other campus sustainability organizations. PICA internships are open to PICA Village residents and students who have completed the PICA Seminar.

International Internships

International internships are available at farms, non-profits, and environmental organizations around the world. Information about these internship opportunities can be found at the Environmental Studies internship office (491 Interdisciplinary Sciences Building) or through Community Studies. PICA has also recently formed a partnership with the Community Agroecolgy Network (CAN) to host interns in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Please visit the CAN website for more information at http://www.communityagroecology.net/