Diploma in Organic Land Care

Course Planning

Semester Timing

Online courses run 14 weeks; starting in January, May, and September. All courses offered take into account the weather during a Canadian winter. All practical assignments can be completed throughout the year with the exception of collecting a soil sample for the purpose of performing a soil sedimentation test in the Organic Master Gardener / Organic Horticulture Specialist course. This soil sample can be collected during warmer weather and frozen for later use in the course.

Upon completion of 4 core courses and 1 elective, students earn the Gaia College Diploma in Organic Land Care. Each of these courses focuses on a unique aspect of organic land care:

Online Core Courses

It is highly recommended that students complete the courses in the order listed above. While we do not require this, it does make the successful completion of each course easier. SketchUp Pro for Landscape Design is a pre-requisite or co-requisite to Ecological Landscape Design.

Online Elective Courses

All courses are offered on a part-time access basis to allow students to continue to work while studying. Students can combine online courses with classroom courses, regardless of where they are offered. Students can substitute classroom courses for online courses where applicable.

Courses can be taken individually; we strongly suggest that everyone start with the Organic Master Gardener / Organic Horticulture Specialist course.

The Gaia College Diploma in Organic Land Care fulfills the advanced education requirements for becoming a SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional.

Student Comment

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate still having access to class materials. It's been very useful, and a luxury compared to most post-secondary institutions. I really appreciate it! I think this should serve as real incentive for potential Gaia students, especially those that know the restrictions and inaccessibility of post-secondary course materials after graduation, because your student account is deactivated or you had to sell your texts. We get a lot for our course fee with Gaia. All the best, and keep up the good work. Brianna van de Wijngaard

Course Schedule


Here is the schedule of online courses up to the Fall of 2022. 

Course Name

Winter 2022

Spring 2022

Fall 2022

Start Date

January 10

May 19

September 12

Finish Date

April 15

August 12

December 16

Business Skills for Land Care Professionals

 Yes N/A Yes

Ecological Landscape Design

Yes  Yes  Yes 

Ecological Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives

 N/A  Yes Yes 

Ecological Plant Knowledge 2 - Ornamentals

 N/A  Yes Yes 

Growing Food

 Yes Yes  Yes 

Landscape Design Basics with SketchUp Pro 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Living Green Infrastructure

 N/A N/A   Yes

Organic Horticulture Specialist

Yes

Yes

Yes

Organic Master Gardener

Yes

Yes

Yes

Rainwater Harvesting and Management

 Yes Yes  Yes 

Art of Online Facilitation

 N/A Yes  N/A

Diploma Costs

Fees

The total cost of acheiving the Diploma in Organic Land Care is $3995, consisting of five courses (each $795) and an administrative fee of $20.00. The course fees are due upon registration in each course; the administrative fee due when submitting records of course completion. 

Students are required to pay GST or HST on tuition fees as appropriate.

Fees include:

  • Comprehensive online educational materials
  • Unlimited access to our online course resources, community center, including libraries, discussion forums and much more

Please contact us if further clarification is required.

Payment Options

You can pay for your courses with a credit card, eTransfer, money order or cheque. 

Student Comment

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate still having access to class materials. It's been very useful, and a luxury compared to most post-secondary institutions. I really appreciate it! I think this should serve as real incentive for potential Gaia students, especially those that know the restrictions and inaccessibility of post-secondary course materials after graduation, because your student account is deactivated or you had to sell your texts. We get a lot for our course fee with Gaia. All the best, and keep up the good work.

- Brianna van de Wijngaard

Career Planning and Professional Development

Background

iStock-1176797050.jpgDemand for organic and ecologically sustainable garden and landscape services has grown steadily across Canada over the past two decades, roughly keeping pace with demand for organic foods and products. Organic horticultural services now represent a small but significant portion of the overall horticultural sector in Canada and, increasingly, employers are creating positions for, and seeking, workers with skills specific to organic gardening and landscaping. 

The education field has already begun to respond to demand for organic horticultural workers by developing courses and materials on organic practices, which can differ significantly from conventional horticultural practices. Gaia College in particular has developed curriculum specific to organic gardening practices and has delivered educational programs online and through a variety of partner colleges and industry groups, with close to 5000 student enrolments between 2009 and the summer of 2020.

Organic Land Care Standards

Unlike organic agriculture and organic producers, organic service providers are not currently required to follow formal standards so there is no agency currently tracking organic service providers. A voluntary Organic Land Care Standard has been developed by the Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL) which service providers can use as a reference guide of best practices. Individuals may also complete a recognized course in organic land care and pass an exam in the SOUL standards to become certified as Organic Land Care Practitioners. To date over 185 organic horticultural professionals have opted to complete this voluntary certification process.  

Education in organic and sustainable land care practices is offered by a variety of institutions across Canada.

  • Nearly 5,000 individuals across Canada have completed organic education courses and programs through Gaia College to date
  • Roughly 4000 businesses across Canada currently advertise a full range of organic landscape and garden services.
  • Most lawn and turf maintenance companies across Canada offer some organic services, adding to the total number of organic workers in the industry.

Employment Requirements

  • Completion of college or other accredited programs in horticulture, landscaping or landscape design may be required for some positions.
  • Experience and/or training in landscape or garden installation and care.
  • Understanding of the functions of soil microbiology and biology, air, light and water in plant and ecosystem health.
  • Completion of specialized programs and/or courses in organic gardening, organic landscaping, soil health analysis, soil microbiology, rainwater  management, plant health or composting may be required for some positions.
  • Organic service provider certification from an independent or professional body may be required for some positions.  

Current job titles used in the labour market

Organic Gardener, Organic Landscaper, Organic Landscape Maintenance Worker,  Organic Plant Grower, Organic Market Gardener / Farmer, Organic Landscape Designer, Rainwater Harvest Consultant, Organic Gardening Educator, Organic Turf Specialist, Organic Soils Consultant, Living Soils Consultant, Organic Garden Consultant, Organic Garden Designer, Organic Master Gardener, Organic Land Care Practitioner, Organic Land Care Professional, Permaculture Designer, Permaculture Consultant, Edible Garden Designer, Edible Landscape Designer, Ecological landscaper, Ecological landscape designer, among others.

Organizations that Recognize our Courses

  • Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA)
  • National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP - USA)
  • BC Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA)
  • International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
  • Master Gardeners of Ontario Incorporated (MGOI)
  • Integrated Pest Management Canada (IPM Canada)
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
  • Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
  • WorkSafe BC

Professional Qualifications

The Gaia College Diploma in Organic Land Care fulfills the advanced education requirements for becoming a SOUL (Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care) Certified Organic Land Care Professional.

The following are the two types of accreditation/certification that SOUL offers:

SOUL Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner
SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional

 For more information about SOUL please visit their website at organiclandcare.ca

How to Enrol

 

When you are ready to enrol in the Diploma in Organic Land Care program you simply need to register for a Gaia College Student account first (if you haven't already) and then enrol and pay for your first course(s).

You can find more instructions about creating your student account and enrolling in your courses here:

https://www.gaiacollege.ca/accessing-your-online-classroom.html

Please note that there is no time limit for fulfilling all of the course requirements, so you are free to enrol for the courses when they can fit into your schedule. 

How to Obtain Your Certificate

Once you have completed all requirements for the Diploma in Organic Land Care you may apply for the Diploma by emailing registrar@gaiacollege.ca. We will confirm your completion requirements and send you a link for payment. 

Please note: If you've taken any courses via an educational partner, we may request proof of completion.

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