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Indoor Agriculture

About the Program

Northern Michigan University’s Indoor Agriculture Associate Degree is a collaborative approach among multiple departments and academic programs to create the first known higher education interdisciplinary indoor agriculture program. The program will provide students with hands-on, exploration-based learning of indoor agriculture, associated growing, and environmental infrastructure systems. Growing climate and population concerns underscore the need for efficient and sustainable farming practices to help reduce depletion of resources. Adaptation of indoor, urban farming models to northern climates in multiple structure and building types in order to provide fresh, local food sourcing year-round highlights this program’s push for sustainability.

You will learn about:

Students in this indoor agriculture program will have the opportunity to contribute diverse perspectives and become a part of the solution.

  • Different growing systems: hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics
  • Cutting edge indoor growing space design and construction, climate-control systems and facility functions
  • Plant biology and their chemical and nutritional makeup
  • Basic business and accounting practices to manage or own an operation
  • How to reduce food insecurity, develop sustainable, pesticide-free food systems and integrate diverse perspectives to solve a growing, global food crisis
Indoor Agriculture

NMU met with several industry representatives who indicated they would hire every program graduate. They said our curriculum is spot-on and our students will be highly employable with varied skill sets integral and applicable to all indoor growing scenarios.


Upon completion of the Indoor Agriculture Associate’s degree, students will be able to:

  • Apply indoor agriculture growing techniques to various forms of horticulture
  • Understand background principles of plant chemistry and plant physiology
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of basic mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems to support indoor agriculture requirements
  • Understand food system networks, distribution, and associated societal impacts

Enjoy a great career with this degree in a variety of job options including facility technician and maintenance, plant researcher, business manager or owner.

  • $59,000 Median Salary
  • 9% Job Growth Nationwide

Or use your credits to ladder into a bachelor's degree in Medicinal Plant Chemistry, Botany, or Business.

Total Credits Required for Degree - 60


General Education Courses - 16 credits
  • EC 140 Consumer Economics - 4 cr
  • EN 111 College Composition I - 4 cr
  • EN 211 College Composition II - 4 cr
  • BI 111 Principles of Biology - 4 cr

Technical Concentration - 30 credits
  • IA 101 Indoor Farming Foundations* - 2 cr
  • IA 130 Indoor Living Environments* - 2 cr
  • IA 220 Innovative Growing Systems* - 2 cr
  • IA 250 Future Farmers* - 3 cr
  • CN 278 Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Systems - 3 cr
  • HV 260 Principles of Air Delivery Systems - 3 cr
  • IM 115 Basic Electricity for Industrial Technicians - 2 cr
  • CH 111 General Chemistry I - 5 cr
  • GC 101 Introduction to Environmental Science - 4 cr
  • GC 317 Geography of Food Systems - 4 cr

*Must achieve a "C" and a 2.25 GPA or better in technical concentration courses. 


Elective Courses - 14 credits
  • BI 431 Plant Physiology is a recommended elective course.
  • CH 189 Medicinal Plant Chemistry Seminar 1 is a recommended elective course

Learn More

Timothy H. Adams, CPA; Principal, Tax Department Cannabis Niche Leader

Tim joined Maner Costerisan in 1999 after they merged with his former firm, Henderson, Miller & Robbins, P.C. He currently serves as a principal at Maner Costerisan, as a member of the firm’s board of directors and is the leader of the firm’s cannabis industry niche. Tim was formerly head of the firm’s tax department.
Beyond his leadership roles, Tim specializes in providing business consulting and tax services to closely held businesses, family-owned businesses and for businesses in the cannabis industry. He also provides a wide array of other services to his clients including general business advisory services, business purchase and acquisition consulting, entity structuring or re-structuring assistance, as well as Internal Revenue Service and state income tax audit representation and research.
Tim began his accounting career in 1987 when he joined Henderson, Miller & Robbins, P.C. after receiving his BA in Accounting from Michigan State University. With more than 30 years of industry experience, he has guided his clients through a range of individual and business challenges, helping numerous clients maximize the benefit of their business investments by advising on the purchase or sale of businesses and business segments. Additionally, Tim has successfully represented multiple clients in audit and IRS appeals, and has helped restructure clients’ business operations to maximize tax savings opportunities.

Micheal Elias

Michael is the co-founder and CEO of Common Citizen (CC). Common Citizen is the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in the state of Michigan with up to 1.2 million square feet of cultivation, two processing labs and up to nine retail locations all across the state of Michigan. With over 45 licenses, CC is the largest prequalified license holder in the state.
Michael spent 21 years re-engineering healthcare operations, leading change and establishing improvement systems with the purpose of transforming culture and sustaining change. Michael was the CEO and founder of Elias Group Corp, an international consulting practice specializing in large healthcare transformations world-wide. He has traveled all over the world taking over underperforming health systems and strategically transforming there clinical and non-clinical business practices.
He was a major catalyst of transformational change at North York General Hospital (NYGH) in Toronto, Canada. As the Chief Transformation Officer of the health system he develop, deployed and sustain NYGH’s award winning improvement system. NYGH recently ranked by Newsweek Magazine as the second best hospital in Canada and top 100 in the world in terms of clinical outcomes and efficiency.
A native of Michigan, Michael has a background in industrial engineering from Michigan State University. He attended Wayne State School of Medicine Master’s program in Community Medicine with a concentration in applied statistics. He is also a Master Black Belt and holds two certifications from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and General Electric (GE) Medical Systems. He has been trained by students of the Toyota Production System utilizing the Shingijitsu approach to Lean manufacturing.

Loganne Glendening, Assistant Professor, CHE

As a professor of NMU’s Hospitality Management program since 2014, she has a true understanding for the needed improvement of global agriculture production. As an adopted “Yooper”, Loganne believes Marquette is an outstanding location for this one of a kind program based on climate and industry diversity. She indicates she is excited to support the knowledge and skills NMU’s Indoor Agriculture program will bring NMU students, community and local industry.
She will contribute to this committee by providing multiple perspectives and resources on industry topics such as sanitation, sustainability, licensing, product diversity, and distribution. As a Certified Hospitality Educator (AHLEI) and recipient of the 2019 NMU Excellence in Teaching Award, she looks forward to contributing to the programs hands-on, exploration-based learning model by supporting current and new faculty in their development of curriculum. Additionally, she values the opportunity to work as part of a diverse team of individuals who will provide me new opportunities for growth and understanding.

Dr. Joubert

Dr. Joubert received her BS in Kinesiology from Cal State in 1994 and MS in Exercise Science from NMU in 1998. While working in the fitness industry as a strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and swim coach she realized her passion for proper nutrition. She earned her PhD in Nutrition and Food Management from Oregon State University in 2007.  Prior to her hire at NMU in 2013, she worked as a registered dietitian and a corporate wellness director.  She is currently an associate professor of nutrition at NMU and a board certified sports dietitian and her research interests span from cardiovascular wellness, fitness, and eating behavior.

Ms. Molly Kreykes, Senior Project Manager at Green Peak Innovations

Molly received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Agronomy with a minor in Environmental Studies before completing her M.S. in Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University. She studied forage crop production for her master’s thesis, with her research centered around yield, quality and soil dynamics of birdsfoot trefoil – tall fescue pasture mixtures. With a passion for innovative and sustainable agriculture, Molly then moved to San Francisco to work for an AgTech startup, Plenty, where she was first introduced to Indoor Agriculture. She started as a Senior Grower, overseeing the vertical hydroponic leafy green grow operation, before transitioning to the operations Production Manager. Wanting to live closer to her family while still staying in Indoor Ag, Molly moved back to her home state of Michigan in 2019 to work for a vertically integrated licensed cannabis company, Green Peak Innovations (GPI). At GPI, Molly started on the Research & Development team learning how to manufacture high quality cannabis products in a precisely controlled environment. She now serves as the Senior Project Manager, overseeing numerous key projects for GPI.

Douglas Mains

Douglas Mains is a partner with Honigman LLP, where he specializes in government relations and regulatory law, with a particular emphasis on providing clients with advice regarding public policy, legislation, and administrative and election law issues. Mr. Mains previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor and Deputy Legal Counsel to two Speakers of the Michigan House of Representatives, and regularly advises members of the Michigan Legislature and legislative staffers on policy-related issues. Having helped draft the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, Mr. Mains is also recognized as being at the forefront of Michigan’s evolving cannabis and hemp laws, and is frequently asked to speak on legislative and legal developments in those industries.

Lesley Putman

Lesley Putman received her B.S. in Chemistry from Wheaton College in 1982 and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University in 1987. After doing post-doctoral research at Michigan Technological University, she began her first teaching position at Earlham College in Indiana. Desiring to return to the North, she accepted a position at NMU as an Assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in 1993 and now holds the rank of Professor. She teaches Biochemistry and was part of the team that started the Medicinal Plant Chemistry Program in Fall of 2017. She is a plant biochemist and does research in phytoremediation, using plants to clean up contaminants in the soil.

Chris Standerford

Chris Standerford is the Director of the Central Upper Peninsula MiSTEM Network and Director of the Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center at Northern Michigan University.  He has 23 years’ experience in education, including K-12, outside of school time, and higher education.  Current professional interests include interdisciplinary learning, place- and problem-based learning, equity, career exploration, and workforce development. 

Molly Stanek

Molly began her career in agriculture as the Associate Director of Horticulture for Sweet Water Organics, a revolutionary aquaponic farm in an old abandoned industrial building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As Associate Director, Molly led the the design and expansion of Sweet Water to seven aquaponic greenhouses producing leafy greens and vine crops on a 6.5 acre site. She left to co-found Imagine Aquaponics, a firm that designed commercial-scale, sustainable waste-to-resource food production systems and provided internationally attended trainings and consultation to both educational and nonprofit entities as well as interested individuals of high net worth. During this time, Molly fed her love for good food by enjoying a role as a founding member of three farm-to-table restaurants. After nearly seven years as an AgTech entrepreneur, Molly joined Plenty, a vertical farming in the Bay Area where she served as General Manager of the company's farm, delivering three iterations of system designs, SQF food safety certification, and ultimately the first ever product launch to consumers. Her career next led her to Sensei where she founded the future farms division for Sensei Ag, a wellness driven agriculture program founded by Larry Ellison and Dr. David Agus to nourish the world's population through data driven, sustainably rooted, technology enabled food production systems.  Over the past two years, Molly has overseen the buildout of Sense & 39;s 5-acre Tesla solar powered hydroponic greenhouse farm on the island of Lānai, tripled the size of the division across both technology and operations teams, and worked to further plant science research into development of nutrient rich produce. When Molly is not creating innovative food systems to increase the quality, sustainability, or accessibility of food, you are likely to find her crafting fine porcelain ceramics or behind the camera capturing her latest outdoor adventures. A proud Wisconsinite, Molly pursued her BFA in Ceramics as well as a secondary program in Environmental Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Jared Toogood
Jared has been passionate about plants since he was child, working in ornamental flower gardens with his mother. He has worked in plant
academics or agriculture related industries since then. This interest lead him to become formally trained in Plant Sciences as well as Environmental Studies from Grand Valley State University, undertake Controlled Environment Agriculture professional courses at The University of Arizona, and a conduct multi-year research project in the El Yunque National Forest to understand how plant anatomical and morphological traits influence water use and subsequently how plant communities assemble. Jared has designed, built, and lead commercial cannabis facilities around the country since 2014
utilizing outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor growing systems. His experience across a wide range of regulatory frameworks and experience successfully using a broad range of cultivation methods allows him to hone in on the most important variables for any operation’s success. His passion for cultivation practices, data analytics, and implementing innovative technologies allows him to excel in commercial cannabis cultivation system design and
execution.