Department Description
Section Description - picture description

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

Sustainable agriculture is about creating a food system that is efficient, effective, viable, fair, and responsible. It’s about farms that can produce food sustainably, as well as humane working conditions, ethical treatment of animals, living wages, fair prices, profitable business models, conservation of biodiversity, resource stewardship, and healthy diets.

At Trent you can grow your own understanding of sustainable agriculture and food.  Our Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program examines each of the links between farm and table, and their implications for people, the economy, and the planet. You will learn about the challenges and benefits of producing and distributing healthy, affordable food in sustainable ways, while preparing for a career in which you can really effect change.

Contribute to a growing field

Agriculture is an essential feature of the southern Ontario landscape, and continues to attract the attention of those interested in a viable rural economy or in the practice of food production.  Food and agriculture have also gained widespread attention, and often controversy.  The promise of sustainable agriculture; the environmental, social and ethical consequences of conventional agriculture; investment in industrial crops to supply fuel and materials; ongoing risks to food security and human health; demand for local food production in the context of global food trade; cultural and social critiques of our food system such as the Slow Food movement and advocacy of animal rights; growing interest in urban agriculture and in First Nations agriculture – these and other developments testify to how agriculture and food have become topics of discussion across Ontario and Canada.  Internationally, agriculture and food encompass a similarly wide and diverse array of pressing issues.

Degree Options

The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program offers two degree options: an Honours B.Sc. in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Science, and an Honours B.A. in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Studies.

Courses for the Honours B.Sc. degree are organized in terms of the following three themes:

  • Interdisciplinary core courses on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, emphasizing scientific perspectives

  • Courses in environmental science, biology, geography and other sciences that provide a foundation for advanced scientific study of agriculture and food

  • Specialized agricultural and environmental science courses, on topics such as agricultural entomology, nutrient management, and the implications of climate change for agriculture.

Please see our Degree Descriptions page for more detailed information about the SAFS B.Sc. degree.

Courses for the Honours B.A. degree are organized in terms of the following three themes:

  • Interdisciplinary core courses on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, emphasizing social, political, economic and cultural perspectives

  • Courses in environmental studies and international development studies that provide a foundation for study of the human dimensions of agriculture and food

  • Specialized courses in a variety of disciplines, including Anthropology, Geography, History and Indigenous Studies, that provide a range of opportunities to study specific aspects of agriculture and food.

Please see our Degree Descriptions page for more detailed information about the SAFS B.A. degree.

About Sustainable Agriculture at Trent

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems is a new program at Trent, but it builds on our university's strengths.  These include:

  • extensive on-campus farm fields and rooftop gardens
  • a wide range of courses related to food and/or agriculture
  • multidisciplinary and collaborative teaching, offered by several departments including Anthropology, Biology, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Indigenous Studies and International Development Studies
  • research opportunities in several disciplines
  • opportunities for hands-on experience through the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education
  • a community of students interested in agriculture and food, that operate an on-campus organic café with locally-sourced produce
  • several environmentally and socially-minded clubs and groups, including Sustainable Trent, Kawartha World Issues Centre, OPIRG Peterborough, Amnesty International, Fair Trade Trent, and the Trent Food Issues Group