What is PICA?

PICA began in Fall 2002 in collaboration with the Colleges and University Housing Services. It is an experiential living/learning program located at the Village in the Lower Quarry (map).

PICA's primary academic mission is to engage students with sustainability through practical experience and the sharing of community based knowledge. Through seminars, practical training in agroecology and organic gardening, student involvement in campus and community gardens, and the development of local composting projects, PICA students are able to integrate classroom instruction with hands-on learning.


PICAns work in the classroom and the field to address such questions as:

  • How do issues of environmental quality and social justice interact in sustainable communities?
  • How does an understanding of ecology inform decisions about farming/gardening practices?
  • What impact can consumer choice have on how farmers design and manage their farming systems?
  • What roles do art and creativity play in shaping social change and in sustaining communities?

Activities and opportunities:
  • Practical training in agroecology, horticulture and organic agriculture
  • Saturday workdays at the Foundational Roots Garden in the Village
  • Community Meals with organic food from the garden
  • Local internships and field studies
  • International exchanges and studies in agricultural communities
  • Collaborations with other campus programs working towards sustainability

“An effective way to achieve environmental education is through consciously and actively living in a locality within which we focus our studies. Integrating our learning into our lives, giving it context and applicability. Our homes and our lives become the context of our studies.” – Peter Isaksen