Welcome to
Green Skills Academy!

Green Skills Academy: Sustainable Agriculture

Estimated Completion Time: 120 hours

Building Greenhouse: 30 hours
Gardening Workshops: 30 hours
Homework: 30 hours 
Online Learning: 30 hours

Expected Completion: March, 2024
Textbook (Readings): Here
Videos: Here

Green Skills Academy - Green IgluGreen Skills Academy - Green Iglu

(12 Ratings)

Green Skills Academy

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About Course

Welcome to the Green Skills Academy, your ticket to a self-guided learning experience that will teach you the fundamentals of sustainable agriculture!


About Course

The Green Skills Academy Sustainable Agriculture program is for individuals seeking to refine their gardening expertise at any gardening level while gaining the knowledge to enhance food security measures within Canadian communities.

Developed by dedicated growers, the Sustainable Agriculture course was created to address the core issue of food security through the sharing of knowledge, and designed to empower participants with the skills to make meaningful changes to local food security.

Completing the course will give you a Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture, a certificate recognized by Service Canada.

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What Will You Learn?

  • Greenhouse structures
  • The seed germination process
  • Plant care
  • Nurturing seedlings
  • Natural pest control
  • Harvesting methods
  • Seed saving
  • Food preservation
  • Putting your garden to bed
  • A brief introduction to hydroponics
  • And much more!

Course Content

Let’s get started!

  • Course Start

Lesson 1: Greenhouse Overview

Lesson 2: Growing Basics

Lesson 3: Plant Care

Lesson 4: Planning and Layout

Lesson 5: Harvesting

Lesson 6: Hydroponics

Lesson 7: End of Season

Lesson 8: Community Engagement

Lesson 9: Markets/Tourism

Congratulations! You did it!

Student Ratings & Reviews

Total 12 Ratings
10 Ratings
1 Rating
0 Rating
0 Rating
1 Rating
3 months ago
This course was great! I loved being able to talk to other growers around the country.
3 months ago
3 months ago
was clear, precise and informative
Great information!
3 months ago
This is a pretty great way of taking in a lot of information. I have heard a lot of this before but it was still really enjoyable to go through!
3 months ago
Great engagement areas within the course if you are interested in becoming self sustainable!
3 months ago
Loved the information provied in this course.
3 months ago
3 months ago
Not crazy about online programs, would rather take this in a class with other students!
3 months ago
Very well designed to generate interest.
5 months ago
A well-rounded, engaging course. As someone who has never had a backyard/garden of their own, these materials gave me a solid foundation of knowledge. I look forward to applying my learnings when I get to help with a project on-site.
5 months ago
Nice course!
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Workshop/Activity Descriptions

Note: The activity times given are recommendations, but can be flexible and adapted to the needs/interests of the group. In certain cases, you might use one or more of the activities in a more in-depth way and omit others, as long as the general number of hours are used in the end for each section and the material is learned.

Growing Dome Paper Model Activity (1hr)
Supplies needed: Dome diagram cutout sheet, scissors, glue/tape
Participants will be creating a model of the growing dome from paper. This will be helpful to give an idea of how the dome will come together on the build site and can be used as a guide when attaching the polycarbonate later on. 

Seed Germination Workshop (1hr)
Supplies needed: Jiffy pots, seeds, warm water.
Participants will be planting seeds into jiffy pots to watch the germination process. The pots will be soaked in warm water to allow them to expand, then participants will choose seeds to plant and germinate. As the secondary part to this workshop, the seedlings can be transplanted into the greenhouse.

Compost Workshop (1hr)
Supplies needed: Compostable materials, 
Participants will learn what can and cannot go into a compost then get some hands-on experience creating a compost bin to be used in the greenhouse.

Hugelkultur Workshop (1hr)
Supplies needed: leaves, grass clippings, deciduous branches/logs, prepped garden bed, soil
Hugelkultur or ‘lasagna gardening’ uses local decaying wood, branches, grass clippings, and soil to achieve rich compost over time. This will be a hands-on workshop where we learn the benefits of hugelkultur while preparing the garden beds for planting.

Seed packet/catalogue comparison workshop (1h)
Supplies needed: Assorted seed packets and catalogues from various companies, materials to take notes or make posters.

Pass the materials around and, with guidance, participants can practice taking notes on plant care based on the instructions given on the packets and in the catalogues. When more information is needed, practice as a group looking up the specific plant online as well (or even in a library book) to learn more. Participants can create a list of plants they are researching with notes on care and keep it in the greenhouse on a poster, in a notebook, etc. This information can include such categories as:

  • Planting times and methods (inside? Direct seeded? Seed depth, spacing, etc)
  • Companion Planting info
  • Fertilizer needs/schedule
  • Watering instructions
  • Support/trellising needs
  • Pests or diseases to watch out for
  • Sun/light requirements
  • Any special extra information

Design your Greenhouse Activity (1hr)
Supplies needed: Paper, pencils, pencil crayons, rulers, lego, foraged rocks/sticks, etc.

Plan out your dream greenhouse! Participants will be designing the interior of their greenhouse including garden bed layout and plant choices. The plans can be made on paper and coloured, or designed with lego/sticks/rocks for a 3D model.

Build a Trellis Activity (optional) (1-3h)
Supplies needed:  Cutting tools (shears, knives, or optionally using build tools as well), twine, possible buckets as a form, found materials around the site/ on nature walks such as willow, driftwood, or other objects.

This is optional based on interest and time available. Participants can view (online if possible) various ideas on homemade plant trellises, brainstorm what kind of trellis their build needs, and forage wild or found materials to build some. Ideas include willow trellises (freestanding or against a wall), driftwood used to train a vine upwards, an old cot as a cucumber trellis, a fish net hung against a wall, or anything else they come up with. Adults might use the carpenter tools to practice cutting and attaching wood pieces, etc. if this suits the build, and this can lead to good safety discussions as well.

Good resource for ideas: https://www.apieceofrainbow.com/21-diy-trellis-structures/

Creative Planter Activity (optional) (1-3h)
Supplies needed: Found objects to plant in, soil, water, seeds or bedding plants.

This is an optional extra activity. Participants can gather found objects from home, the build site, or around the community to use as creative planters, especially for flowers. This can include boots, dresser drawers, crates, fish boxes, buckets, old barbecues, old sinks or toilets, hollowed stumps, driftwood, and more! If there are bedding plants available, they can plant them with soil and flowers. It will be much more popular with blooming flowers to put into them right away. A way to make this even more fun is to make it a contest with prizes for most beautiful, most unique, funniest, or other categories.

Harvesting activity (1hr)
Supplies needed: Harvesting tools, plants that are harvest ready.

Based on the plants’ readiness, participants can practice harvesting something together and the tech can lead discussions on safe harvest practices, food safety, how to preserve the harvest, how to encourage future harvest, and any other related topics that arise. Earlier in the build it might just be eating pea shoots or pinching and tasting a few herbs, but if done later in the process, more will hopefully be available. In some cases, this might be done several times throughout the build as shorter chats rather than one long activity.

Seed Saving Activity (1hr)
Supplies needed: Flat surfaces (trays or screens), Ripe vegetables, envelopes or jars for storage, labels/ markers, paper bags 

Depending on the type of crop you use for seed saving, the time to harvest will change. Using the ripe vegetable, begin to separate the seeds from the main body. In crops like peppers, this is a relatively easy process as the seeds are already dried, however in tomatoes, this process requires a bit more time in the separation process! Before storing the seeds, they need to be laid out on a flat surface such as a metal screen, or a tray. Allow the seeds to sit out in a dry, airy location for a few days until they are completely dry. Once this process is complete, store seeds in a jar or envelope that is tightly closed and store wherever is cool, dry and dark. Make sure to label the container you decide to store the seeds to be sure you don’t mix any up!

Bottle Hydroponics Activity (1hr)
Supplies needed: 2-liter bottle, growing media,water, wicks or a wicking material,aluminum foil, nutrients, permanent marker or sharpie, scissors, seeds.

Hydroponics can seem daunting to start off with, but this workshop will show how easy it can be to create a simple hydroponics station at home. Participants will be creating their own set up from an old 2L bottle and growing lettuce from seed.

Food Preservation Workshop (1-3hr)
Supplies needed: Food item to preserve, dishes and containers, recipe ingredients, kitchen or other facility. For salsa or tomato sauce: food processor or blender.

This is an optional activity to practice food preservation technique(s). The tech can assess the ingredients available, the groups interests, and the available facilities to process food (is there a kitchen? A stove? Tables?) A small batch of food can be produced and eaten on the spot, or sent home to save. While working together, the tech can facilitate discussion on other food preservation ideas, group dreams for future harvest, and food safety. If eating the results on site, have a vehicle (chips, crackers, bannock, etc) available to eat it on. The following recipes are optional ideas (but certainly do not all need to be done).

Quick Pickled Vegetables (from www.feastingathome.com/quick-pickled-vegetables/)

  • Enough fresh raw veggies to fill 2 Quart size mason Jars (about 5-6 cups)- cucumbers, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, okra, green beans, asparagus, red onion, zucchini or summer squash, cauliflower florets, bell peppers, garlic scapes, fennel bulbs, rainbow chard stems
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 6– 10 cloves garlic- sliced thickly
  • 1/2 an onion sliced (optional)
  • few sprigs of fresh dill (optional) or other herbs
  • Other optional additions- whole cloves, dill seeds, whole allspice, fresh ginger slices, fresh chilies or chili flakes, celery seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, star anise, other fresh herbs.

Pickling liquid:

  • 2 cups vinegar- white vinegar, red wine, rice wine, apple cider (any of these, or a combination)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4–6 tablespoons sugar
  1. Prep your veggies. Wash them well and slice, quarter, or cut into spears, or leave whole ( like with green beans, asparagus, okra etc)
  2. Bring the water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil in a small pot, and in the meantime pack the jars with the prepped veggies.
  3. In two quart-size mason jars, divide the garlic and whole spices.
  4. Begin adding the veggies and if you are including the onion ( which I recommend), layer a few slices in with the veggies along with any fresh herbs you would like to include ( you can also layer the garlic this way too, or put it in first, your choice) leaving about an inch at the top of the jar.
  5. Using a funnel, carefully pour the hot liquid into the jars, making sure to submerge all the veggies, pressing down on them with the end of a wooden spoon. You may be able to add more veggies at this point, just make sure the liquid completely covers the veggies leaving at least a half-inch of room between the liquid and lid.
  6. Let sit on the counter to cool, and after an hour or two, cover and place in the fridge. These will taste good after 8-12 hours- but much better after a couple of days.

These keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Note: If pickling firmer veggies like carrots or beets, feel free to simmer the veggies in the pickling liquid (in a pot) for 1-2 minutes to soften them slightly. Don’t overcook them!

Refrigerator/Freezer Jam (from https://bakerbettie.com/basic-refrigerator-quick-jam/)

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, or peaches all work well)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • large pinch salt
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  1. Prep the fruit by washing it and removing any stems or peels if applicable. Roughly chop the fruit up into large chunks. Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries can all remain whole.
  2. In a saucepan (at least 2 quarts in size) combine all of the ingredients and heat over medium heat. Mash the fruit and sugar with a potato masher or a fork. It does not need to be completely mashed, depending on how chunky you like your jam.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the juices thicken. It will become much more thick as the jam cools. If this is your first time making this and you are a little unsure if your jam is cooked enough to set, spoon a little bit of jam onto a saucer and place it in the freezer for about 2 minutes, or until it is cold. Touch the jam and if it has a gelatinous jammy consistency it is ready. If not, continue cooking.
  4. Cool completely then store in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months. When freezing, be sure to leave enough room at the top of the container to allow the jam to expand when frozen.

Salsa (from www.wholesomeyum.com/homemade-salsa-with-fresh-tomatoes-and-cilantro/)

Author: Maya Krampf from WholesomeYum.com

  • 4 medium Tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 small Onion (cut into large chunks)
  • 1 cup Fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium Jalapeno (seeds removed)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced coarsely)
  • 1 tbsp Lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until desired consistency is reached. (Check for salt a few pulses before your desired consistency, so that the homemade salsa doesn't get too mushy if you need to adjust salt and pulse again.)
  • The entire fresh salsa recipe makes about 4 cups. Exact volume and number of servings will vary depending on the size of your tomatoes.

Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce (GI staff member Rosie’s favourite way to use tomatoes)

  • Enough vegetables to fill a large cookie sheet when cut into chunks and spread out (mainly tomatoes, but also can use onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, squash, and zucchini in smaller amounts). Use a cookie sheet or baking pan with raised sides, as there will be juices and oils released while roasting.
  • Oil (preferably olive).
  • Dried or fresh herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme.
  • Pinch of baking soda (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to between 250º and 300º (depending on how much time you have.) 

Wash and cut the vegetables into large chunks. Grease the cookie sheet and arrange the veggie chunks around the pan so they are touching. You want to fill the whole pan without large gaps. Drizzle it all with more oil and salt and pepper. If using dried herbs, you can add them now. If fresh, add them after cooking or they will burn. Put them in the oven, checking and stirring them occasionally, for up to several hours, until they are very soft and starting to get golden brown in spots but before anything burns. Lower and slower will give a better flavour but you can turn the oven a bit higher to do it more quickly if you have to. Let cool slightly, then scrape everything (including any juices and oil) into a good blender/food processor. You may need to add a bit of water if it is too thick to blend, but only do this if needed as it thins out the flavour. This mixture will be VERY flavourful. To use it as a pasta sauce I often thin it out with water, broth, or even a can of store-bought tomato sauce. If it has a bit of an acidic bite to it, try adding a small pinch of baking soda (it will foam up as you stir because it is neutralizing some of the acid). To preserve, the sauce can be put into a large zip-lock freezer bag and frozen for future use. It can also be used as a base for a tomato-based soup such as hamburger soup. This is excellent for spaghetti with hamburger or wild meat such as ground moose or elk. 

(Another variation of this recipe can be used if you replace the tomatoes with pumpkin and/or squash and change the herbs to cinnamon and sage, and add some maple syrup or brown sugar and even apple chunks to make a squash soup that you blend with cream or coconut milk.)

Language Terminology Workshop (Elders) (2-3h)
Supplies needed: Note-taking equipment (ideally visible to all like a whiteboard, chalkboard, or poster paper and markers. Comfortable chairs and snacks for elders. Community contact to invite and arrange transportation for the appropriate elders/other participants. KEY: permission from community leaders to include this.

Since cultural knowledge and language is both sacred and potentially triggering, this topic needs to be handled with great respect and care. (The language belongs to the indigenous community, not to us, and this needs to be communicated.) This workshop will only be of interest to certain communities, depending on their comfort level and goals. If the community is interested in incorporating a traditional language component (and especially if they want to involve their elders), this workshop is a great way to connect the project to these goals. If elders are involved, the time limit must be flexible and allow for a longer time because this is the traditional way to respect an elder’s gift of knowledge. They must be allowed to share for as long as they would like and might incorporate other topics. The tech must be comfortable giving over some of the control, waiting, and pulling out relevant information as they can.

Activity: Community contact can invite the appropriate language bearers. Tech can host a gathering to ask them the appropriate traditional terminology (if it exists) for gardens, plants, growing, and food. Take notes on the words given, but also be ready to record additional wisdom shared. Afterwards, the group can decide what they want to do with the information, since it is their traditional knowledge. Ideas include making signs and/or labels or posters with the words or advice (to put on the plants, in the garden, etc), practicing a prayer with the participants for when you work, hosting a ceremony to open the greenhouse, or other things suggested by the language holders/elders. Since gardening was a forced residential school activity, there might also be cautionary information shared that might help the GI team to be more sensitive with the community as well.

Community Survey/meeting (goal setting) (1-3h)
Supplies needed: Note-taking equipment (ideally visible to all like a whiteboard, chalkboard, or poster paper and markers. Comfortable chairs and snacks. Community contact to invite and arrange transportation for the appropriate elders/other participants. 

Work bees (optional) (1-3h)
Supplies needed: This depends on the activity.

This is based on the specific community and the build conditions. The community members can be invited (in person, through the friendship centre, on the FB page, by the community contact, word of mouth, on the local radio station, through the school, or other ways specific to the build) to come help out with a specific activity such as clearing weeds/brush, unloading trucks, cleaning a site, planting seeds, building something, harvesting, filling beds with soil, turning compost, cooking and enjoying a meal with harvested vegetables, or other activities that will increase community interest and get more things done.

Planning and holding a Farmer’s Market (35hr)
Supplies needed: Note-taking equipment (ideally visible to all like a whiteboard, chalkboard, or poster paper and markers.

Signs/Labels Workshop (can be connected to Language Terminology Workshop if desired) (1hr)
Supplies needed: Art supplies (ie paint or markers, poster board or wood, popsicle sticks, rocks, or hardware paint sticks for plant labels.

This activity is very flexible in terms of time and group interest. The participants can work together to create plant labels, posters, signs, or garden decor. This can be adapted to follow up a language terminology workshop using the information collected, such as by adding plant names in indigenous languages, posting wisdom such as the Dene Laws or other cultural instructions, or anything else appropriate. If there is interest and the need to fill time on a bad weather day or while something else is delayed, participants could also paint rocks or driftwood, paint planter boxes, or otherwise the garden area/greenhouse as well.

Questions? Contact us!

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Green Iglu recognizes that our Red Deer office is situated on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples. The region also falls under Treaty 6, traditional Métis, Cree and Saulteaux territory. We are also grateful to be invited to other territories with their own jurisdictions.
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