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Bachelor of Applied Science: Sustainable Agriculture

Join the community of leaders and entrepreneurs who are helping to build our sustainable future. Enrol in KPU's new degree in Sustainable Agriculture. Through a unique combination of classroom and farm-based learning, the program offers a comprehensive perspective on:

  • The science of agro-ecosystem design and stewardship;
  • Innovative and ecologically sound crop production methods;
  • Sustainable farm business management; and,
  • The economic, social, and environmental challenges facing our food system

Sustainable, local food production is a rapidly developing component of communities that is on the minds of the public and governments alike. Program graduates will be sought after in fields as diverse as planning, resource management, politics, government, non-government organizations, related business, and production agriculture. This program offers an exploration of the practical foundations and practice of healthy farming as well as an examination of how food and land builds our communities and ties them together.

Learning Outcomes

The curriculum is designed in recognition of the need for both practical and academic training within the new powerful movement in sustainable agriculture. Students will be immersed in a setting which fosters experiential learning and exploring personal interests. During our four year Bachelor's degree program, students will work to achieve three major learning outcomes:

  • The ability to grow fruit and vegetable crops within a sustainable ecological context. A full spectrum of experiential field-based agricultural courses are offered in Year 3 which, by necessity, follows a complete crop cycle beginning in the spring and extending through summer into the fall. These applied courses function as a mechanism to bring the theoretical concepts and principles of sustainable agro-ecosystem design, function and management to practical realization.
  • Develop the business, sales and marketing skills necessary to manage a sustainable agricultural farming business. The development of these skills is facilitated by the inclusion of a broad base of foundational courses supplemented by a multidisciplinary business management course in Year Four.
  • Develop practical, problem solving and research skills as well as an understanding of government economic and business policies needed to address issues of sustainable agri-food systems as they relate to employment in government and non-government organizations.

Program Overview

During the first two years of the BASc, students will learn about fundamental dimensions of our natural and social environment as well as concepts and dimensions inherent in sustainable agriculture and food systems. The latter part of the program immerses students in a living agriculture laboratory — our teaching and research farm. Through participation in crop and animal production and year-round agro-ecosystem management classes, as well as community/land-based research and internships, our undergraduates become confidently knowledgeable of the scientific, practical and business elements of sustainable small scale, human intensive, alternate market farming and food systems. Our multifaceted program imparts the understanding and tools necessary to face the challenges of the future and to build the healthy communities — in which sustainable agri-food systems are inextricably a part of — that we need.

Year 1: Students can expect a wide-ranging introduction to the scientific foundations of biology, environmental chemistry and mathematics, and geography, as well as a primer on the state of agriculture and food today. Agri-food Tour (AGRI 1150) will take you to farms across southern British Columbia to take stock and assess the sustainability of current agricultural production methods and operations, as well as the impressive, innovative projects in our region.

Year 2: The third and fourth semesters of the program focus on developing the students' understanding of the world around them, both physical and social. They will explore agricultural systems in depth and learn about important scientific elements of the agroecosystem landscapes.

Year 3: Production and farm management become the central focus of these two semesters. Students engage in crop and small animal production and follow the cycle of the agricultural year at our living laboratory farm. Students will develop their knowledge through their research in AGRI 3225 and 3399.

Year 4: In the final year, our students will conclude their in-depth study of agroecosystems development and operation and begin to pair their knowledge of production and farming systems with business management. Through workplace internship and research, students will take their skill outside the program and begin to enter the existing community of agricultural livelihoods, whether in farm businesses or institutions. In their capstone course, AGRI 4298, students look forward to the future of the food system and use their experiences to gain an understanding of the challenges we face, as well as solutions to them.