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Agroecology Courses on the Farm!

Summer Short Courses by Gill Tract & Berkeley Food Institute

Dark green banner with collaged hands and illustrated nature elements emerging. Summer courses in agroecology, herbal medicine, and indigenous lifeways

The Berkeley Food Institute and Gill Tract Farm Coalition are delighted to present three in-person short courses this summer:  Introduction to Herbal Medicine & Allyship, Introduction to Urban Agroecology, and Indigenous lifeways & Two Spirit Medicine, taught in-person at the UC Gill Tract Community Farm. These courses represent a cross-section of the farm’s community-managed food system, centered around local, organic, agro-ecological farming practices. Come learn from experienced practitioners about how to apply the healing powers of herbs, how rematriation aligns with Indigenous land sovereignty, and how farming practices like composting and seed saving can be practical tools for collective liberation.  A limited number of scholarships are available for each course, on a first come first served basis. 

Introduction to Urban Agroecology 

Dates: June 25th-27th, 2021

Times: Friday 5-8pm, Sat/Sun 9am-5:30pm Location: UC Gill Tract Community Farm,  1050 San Pablo Ave, Albany CA 

Price: $150


This in-person course will center the agroecological practices used at Gill Tract Farm to give short succinct lessons on intercropping, composting, cover cropping, hedgerows, pollinator plants, building seed banks, and more. This course includes multiple members of the farm community to help provide demonstrations, instructions, and recipes for the best ways to apply these practices to one's growing space, big or small. These topics will also discuss how agroecological social movements influence global land sovereignty and how political ideology is integral for a food revolution. This will guide community brainstorming of methods and ways our spaces can build solidarity with other social movements and deepen our political framework. For example, the course will include a community visioning session for developing the Gill Tract Farm’s role as a center for urban agroecology. Appropriately, the keynote speaker will be Miguel Altieri, one of the world’s leading agroecologists, professor emeritus of UC Berkeley, and Gill Tract farmer for over 30 years. 

Introduction to Herbal Medicine and Allyship 

Dates: July 30th- August 1st, 2021

Times: Friday 5-8pm, Sat/Sun 9am-5:30pm Location: UC Gill Tract Community Farm,  1050 San Pablo Ave, Albany CA 

Price: $150

Introduction to Herbal Medicine + Allysh

In the backdrop of the country’s largest outdoor collection of medicinal herbs, this course explores how to observe, cultivate, harvest, process, honor, consume, and relate to medicinal herbs, especially those relevant to keeping the immune and nervous systems strong in the age of COVID-19. In addition to herbal education, Gill Tract herbalists will share practical instruction on self consultation, garden design, and hands-on medicine making techniques, including essences, teas, vinegars, tinctures, oils, salves and syrups. Honoring ancestral traditions of folk herbalism, students will be encouraged to share their own experiences and herbal knowledge, along with the facilitators, to build allyship with these sacred herbs.  The course facilitators bring a wide range of experiences through a spectrum of healing modalities, including clinical and folk herbalism, Agroecology, Naturopathy, Permaculture design, street medicine, community organizing, Reiki, and Nutrition.  

COVID-19 Related Information

Relying on guidance from The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), City of Berkeley Public Health, and UC Berkeley, we have developed protocols for gathering at the farm in small groups, and have had no incidents of COVID spread. Our best practices, include:

  • Staying outdoors at all times.

  • Face coverings required for all facilitators and students.

  • Increased hand-washing. 

  • Sanitizing shared tools and surfaces between users.

  • Adapted programming, such as individualized equipment, physical distancing, and rotating work stations that allow students to separate themselves while still learning together. 

Cancellation Policy

Please note: UC Berkeley and UC Gill Tract Community Farm are subject to the restrictions and/or guidance of public health authorities and the University’s policies and practices regarding COVID-19. Our first priority will be the health of the communities we serve. Although the courses are planned at this time, COVID health guidelines could affect our programming, up to and including, cancellation. 

  • Course sessions may be cancelled due to public health epidemic or pandemic, natural disaster, public safety restrictions, and other unforeseen circumstances. Full refunds available, if the course cannot be rescheduled. 

  • Course sessions may be canceled if minimum enrollment is not met. Full refund available. 

  • If a course is canceled due to weather and no make-up class is offered, a refund will be provided; but no refunds are offered for weather related concerns if the program is running as scheduled.

If you wish to withdraw, please submit notification using the Course Withdrawal Form must be submitted by the student who initially completed the purchase.  Refunds will be processed as detailed below:


  • Within 24 hours of signing up: refund will be processed with no withdrawal fee.

  • 60 - 31 days prior to the course - Withdrawal requests received 60 - 31 days prior to the first day of the course are subject to a 50% withdrawal fee (percent of program price, per person, per item), regardless of the initial purchase date.

  • 30 - 0 days prior to the first day of the course session - Withdrawal requests received 30 - 0 days prior to the first day of the course will not be eligible for refund or credit.

Other than providing the refunds described, the Berkeley Food Institute and UC Gill Tract Community Farm are not responsible or liable for any losses arising out of such cancellation of courses and will not provide any other compensation. Refunds will be made directly to the credit card or original form of payment that was used in the purchase; there is no action needed by the customer to receive a refund. All refunds will be completed within 15 days of the customer being notified.

Archived Resources                     

Urban Agriculture and Education Internship, Fall 2019

Application Deadline: 5:00 PM, September 1, 2019

The UC Gill Tract Community Farm (UCGTCF) is excited to be participating in the Urban Agriculture and Education Internship. This program offers UC Berkeley students the opportunity to work here at the farm for class credit! Interns will work directly with one of our working groups on Farm production, events, organization, funding, and social justice work.  Minimum 6 to maximum 12 hours/week,  with commitment to regular days and times each week to be worked out with site coordinators.  Send resume and cover letter as a single PDF to Kathryn De Masters by Sept. 1st. Indicate your top two sites.

UC Gill Tract Farm Students Coalition

The Farm has an RSO; a coalition of students committed to the farm.  Membership in the Coalition will include collaborative projects that will provide valuable experiential learning opportunities for the growing number of students interested in food justice, agroecology, urban farming, community-based organizations, non-profit administration, and equitable economies; allowing them to become successful change-makers.  Gill Tract Farm Students Coalition will offer an opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills and deepen their knowledge and experience of solving issues in the food system, from chemical-dependant production to inequitable distribution.

Come join us for good food, friendship, and internship experience in improving our local food system!  Email for more information.

Harvest Days

January 22, 2017

The UC Berkeley Fresh Produce Security Committee hosts monthly Harvest Days at the UC Gill Tract Community Farm as part of our peer-to-peer efforts to eliminate food insecurity. Attendees will learn about the food movement, participate in group discussions, help with farm work, and harvest produce to bring back to the UC Berkeley Food Pantry for students who are food insecure. Lunch is provided by the Berkeley Student Food Collective. Harvest Days are typically the last Sunday of every month, with the 2017 dates being these:

January 22nd

February 26

March 19th

April 30th 

Agroecology Research Internship

This semester-long internship is offered for credit through Miguel Altieri’s lab and the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP). Interns will work with the UCGTCF’s Farm Manager in the greenhouse and the farm to support the implementation of Agroecological techniques, in collaboration with Professor Altieri’s lab. Interns will select one agroecological practice at the farm that they will research to create community education materials for the farm and community members. Interns will support data recording and evaluation at the farm.

Details on how to apply will be updated in August. See the URAP website for more information about the program.

Undergraduate & Graduate Research

In it's first two years  of operation, the UCGTCF has already helped support 2 Undergraduate Theses and a Masters Thesis in Landscape Architecture, as well as dozens of class projects and independent research assignments in ESPM, Public Health, City Planning, and more. If your research interests match our mission and values, and you would like to collaborate with the UCGTCF on a research project, contact the Research Working Group (for Theses & Dissertations) or the Education & Events Working Group (for class projects & field trips) and we will set up a meeting to determine what kind of support we can offer. 

Other Food Systems Opportunities on Campus

There are many departments and programs on campus that offer classes, research, and opportunities to engage in changing the food system. Click below to see a list of resources created by the Berkeley Food Institute.

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