Sustainability and Green Living


Certificate in Sustainable Vegetable Production
Presented by Westchester Community College
and Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center

If you’re interested in becoming a vegetable farmer, have a passion for sustainable agriculture, or simply want to improve your own produce growing skills, this exciting new program is for you!

All classes take place at beautiful Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights. This 187-acre farm is owned by the County of Westchester, and includes a five-acre commercial crop farm, two greenhouses, and a composting facility that all highlight best practices in sustainable agriculture. Seasoned agricultural service providers and farming professionals make up the certificate faculty.

The certificate curriculum will prepare those who wish to develop agricultural and entrepreneurial skills, as well as those wishing to enhance their knowledge of vegetable production. Program focus is based on environmentally sound, community based, small-farm practices.

The program consists of 45 hours of core courses, 18 hours of electives, and 16 hours of community service at the Farm, for a total of 79 hours. Coursework includes classroom study and hands-on field work highlighting practical farming skills and concepts. You may opt to complete the certificate program in 2 semesters or you may choose to take courses as stand-alone courses at your own pace.

All courses take place at Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center located at 1271 Hanover Street in Yorktown Heights (

Core Courses:

Sustainable Crop Production: Fall
Learn about fall and winter organic crop production practices, including vegetables, cut flowers, and culinary herbs. Topics include variety selection, production methods, record keeping, and extending the season using unheated hoop houses. Upon completion, you will have knowledge of crop production strategies for fall and winter.
CE-GRDN 2025, 4 Sat., Sept. 20-Oct. 11, 9:00 am-12:00 noon, Barn F, $300. M Zanke. #83490

Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture & Soil Science
Discover the “nuts and bolts” of our new agricultural program at Hilltop Hanover. Learn the basic principles and practices of sustainable agriculture. Topics covered include botany, composting, irrigation, and basic principles of crop production, rotation, and protection. Upon completion, you will have an enhanced understanding of how to manage the complex interrelationships of air, water, soil, plant, and human on a small sustainable farm.
CE-GRDN 2024, 4 Tues., Sept. 16-Oct. 7, 5:30-8:30 pm, Barn F, $300. M Zanke. #83493

Plant Disease Management
Examine the major pests and diseases that impact vegetable production with a focus on cultural, biological, and minimal toxicity methods of control. Different philosophies of pest control, and their merits, will be discussed. Upon completion, you will able to identify, recommend, and administer preventative controls for selected insects and diseases.
CE-GRDN 2020, 3 Sun., Sept. 21-Oct. 5, 1:00-4:00 pm, Barn F, $225. W Chang. #83489

Elective Courses:

NEW! Introduction to Seed Production
Learn about seed saving and seed production fundamentals with an emphasis on on-farm seed production. Topics include isolation distance and population size considerations, mating strategies and pollination requirements, controlled pollination techniques, seed maturity and harvest indicators, seed drying and storage, and demonstrations of seed cleaning processes. Upon completion, you will be able to produce a commercial quality seed crop.
CE-GRDN 2047, 3 Thurs., Sept. 18-Oct. 2, 5:30-8:30 pm, Barn F, $225. S Siegel. #83492

NEW! Advanced Soil Science
Sustainable agricultural relies on proper understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological components of soil. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of managing soils to promote biodiversity and balance trace elements to create a proper environment for healthy crops. Learn to interpret the results of a soil test and recommend amendments.                                                            CE-GRDN 2052, 3 Tues., Oct. 14-28, 5:30-8:30 pm, Barn F, $225. M Fedison. #83494

Greenhouse Design and Plant Propagation
Explore the various greenhouse facilities in use on small sustainable farms. Topics include selection of greenhouses, design and construction, basic operational guidelines, and indoor plant propagation methods. Greenhouse production at Hilltop Hanover Farm will be discussed in detail. Evaluate your own greenhouse needs, and be ready to start greenhouse growing.
CE-GRDN 2021, 3 Sat., Oct. 18-Nov. 1, 9:00 am-12:00 noon, Barn F, $225. W Chang. #83491

Green Construction Management: Introduction to LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
Get an introduction to green building principles and the fundamentals of the LEED Rating System. We cover global warming, carbon footprint, water efficiency, light pollution reduction, water classification and irrigation, storm water management, heat island effect, refrigerant management, onsite/offsite renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling, building reuse, construction waste management, construction materials, FSC certified wood, sustainable purchasing, solid waste management, indoor air quality and thermal comfort, they relate to building design, construction, and operations. Learn about the requirements and the process of how buildings become LEED certified, and how industry professionals become LEED credentialed.
CE-GREEN 2005, 2 W/Th, Oct. 22 & 23, 6:00-9:00 pm, Room TBD, $75. B Hagen. #83696

State of the art training in Photovoltaics (PV) for those who are interested in becoming a PV installer, sales representative, system designer, or who are seeking general information for home use. Basic Electrical Theory and Math is intended for those who need to brush up on these basic skills before taking the PV installation program.

Basic Electrical Theory and Math for Photovoltaics
Intended to help prepare you for Intro to Photovoltaic Installation; gain a basic understanding of basic electrical concepts and formulas and the use of a scientific calculator. Topics include the interrelation of voltage, current, and resistance using Ohm’s Law, DC and AC single, split, and 3 phase sources, series and parallel connections, power calculations, and hands-on testing using meters. Prerequisite: basic arithmetic and elementary algebra. Students must bring TI-36X Solar calculator to class; handouts supplied by instructor.
CE-BSKLS 2000, 2 Sat., Sept. 27 & Oct. 4, 9:00 am-5:30 pm, Room TBD, $195. R Van Inwegen. #14063

Introduction to Photovoltaic Installation for NABCEP Exam
Learn the basics of PV system design and installation and the learning objectives needed to pass the NABCEP Entry Level exam. Operation and application of system components including PV modules, charge controllers, inverters, and battery systems are explained. Topics include installation safety, solar radiation, system sizing, mechanical and electrical integration with NEC code requirements. Actual PV hardware is used to demonstrate installation concepts. 40 total hours of instruction. Prerequisite: Basic Electrical Theory & Math for Photovoltaics or electrical knowledge demonstrated by competency exam.
CE-TECH 2003, 5 Sat., Oct. 11-Nov. 8, 9:00 am-5:30 pm, Room TBD, $625 (+ textbook). R Van Inwegen. #14064