Chemeketa building regional agriculture hub

Chemeketa's Agriculture Sciences program has served generations of farmers.

To serve the immediate and future needs of the Mid-Willamette Valley’s agriculture industry is the emerging mission of Chemeketa Community College’s Agriculture Complex.

“Input from industry and partners is driving our development,” said Jessica Sandrock, director of agriculture sciences at Chemeketa. “We’re exploring opportunities, workforce training, farm succession, ag technology, agri-tourism, and the farm-to-fork movement,” Sandrock continued.

The Agriculture Complex is a $12 million investment by the State and Chemeketa in the region’s farming community. Opening in fall 2020, the complex will expand classes and facilities for Chemeketa’s Agribusiness Management, Horticulture and Community Agriculture programs. It will also be the home of Oregon State University’s Marion County Extension Service, Master Gardeners and the 4-H Service District. The site in the southwest section of the Chemeketa Salem Campus is already home to the Marion-Polk Food Share Youth Farm.

Elements of the Project

• The classroom/office building will feature shared spaces and resources to enhance partnering tenants’ operational efficiency and collaboration.

• An attached greenhouse and conservatory will enable the free flow of learning between the classroom, laboratory and field.

• Multiple agricultural, garden and landscape areas will serve various academic and research activities, including:

• Woody Ornamentals Lab for cultivation research.

• Pollinators Lab.

• Urban Fruit Forest Lab.

• Organic Vegetable Garden.

• Other specialty garden and landscape areas to support academic achievement.

“Agriculture is changing, and Chemeketa, in partnership with the agricultural community, intends to continue to play a vital role in its future,” Sandrock concluded.

Chemeketa invites additional input from the agriculture industry. Email your questions and comments to agsciences@chemeketa.edu.

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