Richmond Home

Backyard Sustainability Programs

Certificate Programs

We offer certificates that focus on sustainability. Additional details about these certificates can be found on our Environment & Sustainability Certificates page. These certificates are not offered every semester.

  • Nutrient Dense Gardening Program: Grow for flavor and nutrition in your own backyard
  • Small Scale Wildlife Habitat Restoration: Create a thriving ecosystem in your own backyard

Additional Programs of Study

We offer classes in small-scale sustainability because many small steps can lead to significant changes in sustainability and environmental stewardship. Offerings vary by semester, but remain focused on making sustainability and environment protection accessible and affordable in Richmond. Our current categories include:

  • Sustainable building
  • Sustainable gardening

Course and Registration Information

Select the course title below for course schedules and online registration.

Building a Cob Oven
Course Offerings (1)
September 9, 2017 through September 23, 2017
Saturdays: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Instructor: Staff
CRN: SUS118.01
Fee: $99
In this course students will learn to build a wood-fired earthen oven that can be used to make pizza, bake bread, and cook just about anything that can fit through the front door! Starting with the fundamentals of how earth, sand, and straw combine to form the building material known as 'cob,' the instruction provided will include how to build a foundation, insulate the oven, form the earthen dome, apply a finish plaster, and properly fire the oven for cooking. All levels of building experience are welcome, and students will leave with the skills necessary to replicate the project at home. The course will specifically instruct students in how to complete their own backyard oven with minimal materials investment, potentially even for free! As an added bonus, students will learn how to take the steps involved in building an earthen oven and use them to build a non-toxic, zero-footprint, sustainable earthen home for as little as $5,000!

From Compost Pile to Compost Brew
Course Offerings (1)
Saturday, October 28, 2017; 
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Instructor: Staff
CRN: SUS118.03
Fee: $75
Join us for a morning centered around compost. In this class we will make a compost pile and explore the proliferation of healthy microbial life for our soils. We will explore different kinds of composting including vermicomposting and wind rows. Afterwards we will discuss and make a brew of healthy compost tea to apply to the student gardens. Students will take home a bag of compost and a vessel of compost tea for their own gardens.

Healthy Seeds and Harvesting Them
Course Offerings (1)
Saturday, November 18, 2017; 
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Instructor: Staff
CRN: SUS118.04
Fee: $50
In this class students will explore the complexity that is the seed, and the need to grow and harvest healthy seeds: it all starts with a seed and ends and then begins again with the seed. We will discuss obstacles in our current world, the role of the healthy plant, micro nutrients and elements, proper irrigation, and microbial life in the soil necessary for producing future years of yield. We will harvest some seed and the student will leave class with samples of healthy seed for their gardens.

The Soil Food Web
Course Offerings (1)
Saturday, September 30, 2017; 
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Instructor: Staff
CRN: SUS118.02
Fee: $75
In this class students will be introduced to the Soil Food Web. This will include parts of soil, organic matter and creating humus, as well as a look into the microbial life within it. We also will look at the use of micronutrients and elements in growing healthy plants, abundant fruit, and regenerative ecologically sound practices for gardeners or burgeoning farmers and homesteaders. Students will make a general amendment mix and have a small bag to take away for their own use.

Contact Us

Professional & Continuing Studies
Special Programs Building
28 Westhampton Way
Univ. of Richmond, VA 23173

Phone: (804) 289-8133
Fax: (804) 289-8138