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Sustainable Agriculture Program Information

Change from the ground up

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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,
  • Economic, social, and environmental challenges facing our food system.

Communities want local and sustainable production of healthy food. This program explores practical opportunities for land and food to strengthen community and ecosystem health.

Program graduates find employment in fields as diverse as planning, resource management, government, non-governmental organizations, agricultural support enterprises, and production agriculture. Some students use their Bachelor's degree as a foundation for graduate studies.

Learning Outcomes

The curriculum offers both practical experience and academic training in sustainable agriculture. Course work fosters experiential learning and exploration of personal interests. The four-year Bachelor's degree program is designed to help students achieve three major learning outcomes:

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  • The ability to grow fruit and vegetable crops within a sustainable ecological context. Experiential field-based agricultural courses are offered in the third and fourth year, allowing students to follow a complete cropping cycle from early spring through summer and into late 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 in early years, capped off with a multidisciplinary business management course in year four.
  • Develop practical problem solving and research skills. All students learn the fundamentals of experimental design and analysis, in order to plan and conduct an experimental research project relevant to sustainable agriculture. Students present their findings at an annual student research symposium. A required internship also gives students an opportunity to diversify their practical experience in a particular area of interest.

Program Overview

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The first two years of the degree program emphasize foundational understanding of our natural and social environment as well as concepts inherent to sustainable agriculture and food systems. The latter part of the program immerses students in living agricultural laboratories — our teaching and research farms. 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 land-based, management-intensive, alternate market farming and food systems.

Year 1   Course Title Credits
Students receive a wide-ranging introduction to the scientific foundations of biology, chemistry, mathematics, and ethics, as well as a primer on the state of agriculture and food today. The Food Systems Field Analysis course takes students to farms across the Fraser Valley to assess the sustainability of current agricultural production methods and innovative projects.
All of:    
  AGRI 1150 Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century 3
  AGRI 1299 Food System Field Analysis 1
  BIOL 1110 Introductory Biology I 4
  BIOL 1210 Introductory Biology II 4
  ENGL 1100 Introduction to University Writing 3
One of:    
  ENVI 1106 Environmental Chemistry I 4
  CHEM 1110 The Structure of Matter 4
One of:    
  PHIL 1110 Confronting Moral Issues: Introduction to Ethics 3
  PHIL 1112 Environmental Ethics 3
  POST 1100 Sustainability: Analysis and Ethics 3
  9 credits of electives.
Note: Students who need to upgrade in order to meet the prerequisites for ENVI 1106 or MATH 1115, which is required in Year Two, may use MATH 1112 or MATH 1117 as an elective.
  Year 1 Total   31
Year 2   Course Title Credits
Students develop their understanding of the social and physical world around them. They explore agricultural systems in-depth and learn about important scientific elements of agroecosystems.
All of:    
  AGRI 2190 Plant Science 3
  AGRI 2220 Soil Stewardship and Management 4
  AGRI 2230 Sustainable Human Economy 3
  AGRI 2240 Ecologically-Based Pest Management 3
  AGRI 2250 Agriculture and Food Systems 3
  BIOL 2322 Ecology 4
  MATH 1115 Statistics I 3
One of:    
  POLI 1120 Canadian Government and Politics 3
  POLI 1125 Introduction to Political Science 3
  POST 2100 Sustainability and Government 3
  6 credits of electives. Recommended: 6
  AGRI 2320 Advanced Soil Management 3
  GEOG 2250 The City 3
  Year 2 Total   32
Year 3   Course Title Credits
Production and farm management become the central focus of the third year. Students are required to complete a summer semester to get hands-on experience through the peak growing season.
All of:    
  AGRI 3225 Experimental Design and Analysis 3
  AGRI 3260 Animal Agriculture 3
  AGRI 3270 Vegetable Crop Production 3
  AGRI 3280 Fruit and Nut Crop Production 3
  AGRI 3290 Agroecosystem Management I 3
  AGRI 3390 Agroecosystem Management II (Summer) 6
  AGRI 3398 Crop Physiology and Ecology (Summer) 3
  AGRI 3399 Research Project I (Summer) 3
  3 credits of electives. Recommended: 3
  AGRI 2110 Beekeeping (Summer) 3
  Year 3 Total   30
Year 4   Course Title Credits
Students conclude their in-depth study of agroecosystem management and begin to pair their knowledge of production and farming systems with business management. Through workplace internship and research, students take their skills into the broader agricultural community.
All of:    
  AGRI 3135 Business of Agriculture 6
  AGRI 4190 Agroecosystem Management III 3
  AGRI 4298 World Trends in Agriculture 3
  AGRI 4299 Research Project II 3
  AGRI 4295 Internship 3
  9 credits of electives, with at least 3 credits at the 3000-level or above. Recommended: 9
  AGRI 3150 Agriculture and Energy 3
  Year 4 Total   27
  Program Total   120

Credential Awarded: Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Agriculture