Photo: Students harvesting kale
Photo: Arianna Discussion
Photo: Harvesting kale
Photo: Students harvesting kale - Michaela
Photo: Rainbow Chard

About the Program

The Agriculture and Food Systems (A&FS) major is the result of a major rethinking of the old Agricultural Science major. Agriculture and Food Systems aims to appeal to those who are interested in an entrepreneurial and innovative education in the agricultural sciences, spanning the entire range from production to table. The A&FS major targets students who seek careers in agribusiness, government service and agricultural education and extension, as well as those preparing to be owner/operators of farming enterprises. Rather than provide specific options within the major as do other majors, a unique aspect of the A&FS major is the ability of students to tailor their course work to their specific interests, due to their ability to choose classes of interest from several clusters of specific courses. Depending upon the courses chosen, areas in which a student could focus include controlled-environment and precision agriculture, agricultural policy and entrepreneurship, energy efficiency, and niche agriculture, including agro-tourism, community-supported agriculture, and sustainable agriculture. The curriculum of this major is expected to continue evolving as additional experience in the delivery of the curriculum's courses is gained, and new areas of emphasis are identified.

Agriculture and Food System Learning Goals

Students in the Agriculture and Food Systems Major will:

  1. Explain the basic human, socioeconomic, environmental and scientific dimensions of agricultural production and of the American food system.
  2. Evaluate the diversity of agricultural production paradigms, including sustainable agriculture, across multiple scales and geographies (from home to community to industrial scales), and be able to defend and critique each using a variety of frameworks which address economic, environmental and social justice impacts.
  3. Apply a systems approach to analyzing and interpreting contemporary food and agricultural issues, opportunities, threats, and trends.
  4. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills as well as the ability to work in teams.
  5. Apply their knowledge, research skills, critical thinking skills, as well as qualitative and quantitative skills to solve problems, to engage in an applied experiential internship or practicum opportunities, or to plan a new business or social enterprise within the agricultural and food systems sector.
  6. Develop specialized knowledge and skills in at least one area of inquiry within the agriculture and food systems.