College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Sustainable Agriculture and Community Food Systems

2

tracks

to customize your degree

3

pillars

you will explore

CSA

apprenticeship

for hands-on experience

Restart your search

The world needs ambitious change-makers to maximize and maintain global food production in an ethical, effective manner. If you want to be a part of that solution, this degree is for you.

Hungry for change? 

From farm to fork, you’ll grow to understand the complex social and scientific factors that influence food systems worldwide. Ultimately, you will use this knowledge to impact non-profit, human service, and agricultural industries around the world.

In this interdisciplinary program, you will explore the three pillars of Sustainable Agriculture:

  • environmental stewardship
  • economic profitability
  • social responsibility

Students will customize their degree by choosing from two tracks:

  • Farming Systems:
    students focus on sustainable production methods and biophysical systems with courses in animal science, plant science, entomology and more.
  • Community  Food Systems:
    focus on issues related to food systems including food security and hunger issues with courses in nutrition, global issues, policies and more.

 

Hands-On Experience

Our program emphasizes experiential opportunities to give students practical, real-world skills. Students are required to complete an apprenticeship with the UK CSA farm where they learn to grow, harvest, and distribute organic vegetables. On the outskirts of Lexington, we own and operate a horticulture research farm where students and professors produce a variety of fruits and vegetables for research and consumption. It is also home to our nonprofit Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project that provides organic produce to the Lexington community. As our student, this is just one of the many hands-on learning opportunities you’ll have.

 

Come See for Yourself 

To learn more about this program, campus life, and chat with an advisor, schedule a campus visit. Virtual visits may be necessary in some cases. 


I want to use food to build connection points for people to fix things in their communities.

Hannah Magney

Sustainable Ag Student

Courses You Will Take

Access Major Map

source: myUK: GPS

Sustainable Ag. & Cmnty Food Systms (BS) 121 hours
Freshman Year
Sophomore Year
Junior Year
Senior Year
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Total Freshman Year Credit Hours : 31

Fall Semester
16 Credit Hours
UK Core - Comp. & Comm. I
3
CHE 104
3
CHE 104 - INTRODUCTORY GENERAL CHEMISTRY

CHE 104

3 credit hours

A study of general principles, including laws of definite and multiple proportions, stoichiometry, gases, electronic structure, chemical bonding, periodic relationships, oxidation-reduction, chemical equilibrium and acids/ bases. Not open to students who have already completed both CHE 105 and CHE 107. Not recommended for students seeking careers in science, engineering, medicine, pharmacy or dentistry for which the recommended sequence is CHE 105/107

Prereq: Credit for MA 111, or Math ACT score above 20, or ALEKS Math Placement above 45.

MA 109 or PHI 120
4
GEN 100
3
GEN 100 - ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT

GEN 100

**UK Core - Community, Culture and Citizen**

3 credit hours

How do farmers in Kentucky impact families in California? How can the fashion industry curb the amount of plastic in our oceans? How does fast food affect sea life in the Gulf of Mexico? Whether we realize it or not, each of us has a relationship with agriculture, food and the environment. From race and gender, diet and lifestyles, tourism and evolving technologies, this course encourages you to recognize and think critically about the interconnected systems that affect all human life. By addressing these challenges, you will develop a greater appreciation for how you can positively impact our planet.

Prereq: This course is open to students enrolled in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment or those in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Residential College's Belle C. Gunn Living Learning Program. Freshman only in Fall semesters and transfer students only in Spring semesters.

SAG 210
3
SAG 210 - INTRODUCTION TO SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND COMMUNITY FOOD SYSTEMS

SAG 210

3 credit hours

Introduction to the environmental, economic and cultural components of sustainable food production and distribution in local and regional food systems. The definition, emergence, and growth of sustainable agriculture are discussed along with pertinent soil, crop, and livestock management practices. Emphasis is placed on holistic analyses of current issues in agriculture and food systems from environmental, profitability, and social justice perspectives.

Spring Semester
15 Credit Hours
UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II
3
CHE 108
3
CHE 108 - INTRODUCTION TO INORGANIC, ORGANIC AND BIOCHEMISTRY WITHOUT LABORATORY

CHE 108

3 credit hours

Formally a continuation of CHE 104, a study of selected aspects of inorganic, organic, and biochemistry including the chemistry of metals and nonmetals, basic organic functional groups, proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids. Not recommended for students seeking careers in medicine, pharmacy, science, dentistry, and engineering for which the recommended sequence is CHE 105/107

Prereq: CHE 104 or CHE 105.

CLD 102
3
CLD 102 - THE DYNAMICS OF RURAL SOCIAL LIFE

CLD 102

**UK Core - Social Sciences**

3 credit hours

Introduces major concepts of sociology by exploring social, political and cultural issues confronting rural society and American agriculture, such as: population change, industrialization, energy developments, agricultural change. Students may not receive credit for both this course and SOC 101.

STA 210
3
STA 210 - MAKING SENSE OF UNCERTAINTY: AN INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICAL REASONING

STA 210

**UK Core - Statistical Inferential Reason**

3 credit hours

The goal of this course is to help students develop or refine their statistical literacy skills. Both the informal activity of human inference arising from statistical constructs, as well as the moral formal perspectives on statistical inference found in confidence intervals and hypothesis tests are studied. Throughout, the emphasis is on understanding what distinguishes good and bad inferential reasoning in the practical world around us.

Prereq: Any course in the new Quantitative Foundations area of General Education beginning Spring 2012.

UK Core - Natural, Physical and Math
3

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Total Sophomore Year Credit Hours : 31

Fall Semester
16 Credit Hours
BIO 148
3
BIO 148 - INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I

BIO 148

3 credit hours

BIO 148 introduces the student to the biological mechanisms operating at the molecular, cellular, and population level that contribute to the origin, maintenance, and evolution of biodiversity including the origins and history of the evolutionary process. Course material is presented within a phylogenetic context, emphasizing the shared history of all living organisms on earth through common ancestry. The first semester of an integrated one-year sequence (BIO 148 and BIO 152).

Prereq: Math ACT of 24 or above, or MA 109, and past or concurrent enrollment in CHE 105.

ECO 201
3
ECO 201 - PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS I

ECO 201

3 credit hours

The study of the allocation of scarce resources from the viewpoint of individual economic units. Topics include household and firm behavior, competitive pricing of goods and resources, and monopoly power.

PLS 366
4
PLS 366 - FUNDAMENTALS OF SOIL SCIENCE

PLS 366

4 credit hours

Study of the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils and how these properties relate to plant nutrient availability and plant growth, land- use planning and management issues, and soil and water quality issues. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, three hours.

Prereq: CHE 105.

SAG 310
3
SAG 310 - CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES ON SUSTAINABILITY

SAG 310

**UK Core - Global Dynamics** **SAG 310 and SAG 490 satisfy the GCCR requirement for this major.**

3 credit hours

This course focuses on the social processes and cultural mechanisms that underlie everyday agricultural practices, in the U.S. and abroad. By comparing agriculture and food systems between the U.S. and other countries, the course helps students appreciate distinctiveness of each society’s effort to build agricultural sustainability and recognize the common challenges of such an effort in the context of globalized agricultural trade and food production. Prereq: SAG 210. This course comprises a portion of the Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

Prereq: SAG 210.

UK Core - Humanities
3
Spring Semester
15 Credit Hours
AEC 305
3
AEC 305 - FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL MARKETING PRINCIPLES

AEC 305

3 credit hours

Analysis of the market's role in determining prices and coordinating productive activities in the food and agricultural systems.

Prereq: "C" or better in ECO 201.

BIO 152
3
BIO 152 - PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY II

BIO 152

3 credit hours

The second semester of an integrated one-year sequence (BIO 148 and 152) that is designed to develop understanding and appreciation for the biocomplexity of multicellular eukaryotes, with emphasis on animals and terrestrial plants. Structure and function relationships will be explored at many levels of organization.

Prereq: C or better in BIO 148 or permission of Department.

DHN 212
3
DHN 212 - INTRODUCTORY NUTRITION

DHN 212

3 credit hours

An elementary study of the principles of nutrition and the application of these principles to providing adequate nutrition to humans. The chemical and physiological approach to nutrition is emphasized.

Prereq: CHE 105 or CHE 103 or CHE 108; plus, past or concurrent BIO 103 or BIO 148 or BIO 152 or BIO 208.

Specialty Support
3
UK Core - Arts and Creativity
3

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Total Junior Year Credit Hours : 30

Fall Semester
14 Credit Hours
AEC 302
4
AEC 302 - AGRICULTURAL MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES

AEC 302

4 credit hours

A comprehensive study of economic principles and management tools useful in farm and agribusiness decision making. Utilizes a systems approach to the planning, implementation and control of the agricultural business. Specific attention to application of management and decision theory, economic principles used in decision making, and risk management strategies. Emphasis on planning the future course of the business, acquiring and managing the necessary resources, and establishing physical and financial control over the business. Lab incorporates microeconomic applications of management principles developed in lectures. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, two hours per week.

Prereq: "C" or better in ECO 201.

PLS 386
4
PLS 386 - PLANT PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

PLS 386

4 credit hours

In-depth analysis of the underlying principles of plant production systems. Successful strategies, based on application of the principles developed by lecture and laboratory activities, will be discussed in either agronomic or horticultural contexts. Special attention will be given to minimizing the the environmental impact of the plant production techniques employed. Lecture, three hours; laboratory, two hours per week.

Prereq: PLS 210 and PLS 366 or concurrently or consent of instructor.

SOC 360
3
SOC 360 - ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY

SOC 360

3 credit hours

A sociological study of the inter-relationship between human societies and the natural environment. Topics may include population growth; food systems; energy; climate change; risk perception; disasters; sustainability; social movements; and environmental justice.

Specialty Support
3
Spring Semester
16 Credit Hours
ASC 382
3
ASC 382 - ANIMAL PRODUCTION PRINCIPLES

ASC 382

3 credit hours

A broad survey of animal agricultural management cov- ering cattle, horses, poultry, swine, sheep and goats. Emphasis is placed on the practical application of scientific disciplines including anatomy, physiology, nutrition, reproduction and genetics. For nonmajors only.

Ethics Course
4
Specialty Support
3
Specialty Support
3
Specialty Support
3

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Total Senior Year Credit Hours : 29

Fall Semester
15 Credit Hours
SAG 397
3
SAG 397 - APPRENTICESHIP IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

SAG 397

3 credit hours

Provides students with hands-on experience operating an organic community supported agriculture produce farm and marketing its harvest in the local community. Students receive training across the full range of production and marketing activities under the guidance of the Course Coordinator and the professional staff of the farm management team.

Prereq: SAG 101 and SAG 201, or consent of instructor.

SOC 420
3
SOC 420 - SOCIOLOGY OF COMMUNITIES

SOC 420

3 credit hours

A sociological study of issues relevant to communities. Topics may include: conceptual approaches to community; organizatial and institutional linkages within and beyond the community; social inequality and social processes within communities such as social networks, social capital, power and decision-making, and social change.

Prereq: SOC 101 or RSO 102 or CLD 102; and one of the following: SOC 302 or 304 or CLD 405; or consent of instructor.

Specialty Support
3
Free Elective
3
Free Elective
3
Spring Semester
14 Credit Hours
AEC 445G
3
AEC 445G - INTRODUCTION TO RESOURCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

AEC 445G

3 credit hours

Economic analysis of the problems of assuring resource availability and environmental quality. Theoretical concepts and empirical tools for evaluating resource and environmental policy.

Prereq: "C" or better in ECO 201 or consent of the instructor.

SAG 490
3
SAG 490 - INTEGRATION OF SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PRINCIPLES

SAG 490

**SAG 310 and SAG 490 satisfy the GCCR requirement for this major.**

3 credit hours

This course provides an intensive opportunity for students to integrate critical aspects of sustainability into a semester-long project. The project will involve research, design, and implementation phases, and students will present their work in both written and oral forms. This class will also allow students to gain a deeper understanding of a range of topics related to sustainable agriculture through field trips to local agriculture and food system entities, and hands-on workshops where skills and techniques are learned. Field trip and workshop topics will be determined by the students and instructor at the beginning of the semester. Additionally, students will gain first-hand experience in sustainable agriculture by taking a spring break study tour to visit exemplary agriculture sites in a region of the United States. This course comprises a portion of the Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK. A course fee is required, as indicated by notification during course registration.

Prereq: Senior standing in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, SAG 210, SAG 310, SAG 397, and completion of CIS/WRD 110 and 111.

Specialty Support
3
Free Elective (5 hours)
5

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Apply for Our Scholarships

In addition to automatic and competitive scholarships from the University of Kentucky, our students are also eligible for a variety of awards from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. With one of the largest college-based scholarship programs, we have awarded more than $3 million over the past four years. These awards are based on a variety of criteria such as hometown, major, career goals, high school extracurriculars, and more. 

The deadline to apply is December 1 for first-semester freshmen and January 31 for current students and transfer students. For more information, click here

Miss the deadline? Need more funding? Browse other local, state, and national scholarships in our online college scholarship library

Living Learning Program

Named after UK's first female graduate, Belle C. Gunn, this first-year program is open to all University of Kentucky freshmen.  We seek students who, like Gunn, have passion and determination.  Through field trips, professional development workshops, and service programs, we apply student passions to global issues at the intersection of food, economics, and environment.  All students in this program will also enroll in connected courses, share study groups, and have an assigned peer mentor - all to help with the transition to college life. 

While all students will enjoy the same benefits, some events and projects will be geared toward students' preferences and career goals. Depending on interests, each student will join one of the following tracks: 

  • Food & Health 
  • Family & Community 
  • Nature & Landscapes 
  • Livestock & Equine 

All students participating in our living learning program will live in Woodland Glen IV, one of UK's newest residence halls.  To apply, select the "Agriculture, Food and Environment" living learning program while completing the housing application. For more information, visit the University of Kentucky Housing website

 

International Opportunities

Should you choose, you can gain international experience while earning credit towards your degree. We offer a variety of study, research, intern, and service abroad programs for all budgets and comfort levels. Some students have even earned grants and scholarships to fully fund their international experiences.

These programs are designed to broaden your mind and introduce you to unfamiliar ways of thinking and living. Ultimately, these experiences will make you a more competitive applicant in the global workforce. 

Pre-Med? Pre-Vet? Pre-Law?

Each year, many of our graduates attend professional schools in areas such as veterinary medicine, law, pharmacy, dentistry, and more. If you are interested in pursuing a similar path, we offer pre-professional advising services. 

Our pre-professional advisors will assist you with: 

  • Listing required courses for respective professional schools 
  • Scheduling pre-professional courses alongside your major requirements 
  • Suggesting supplemental coursework 
  • Connections to student organizations, volunteer work, shadowing experiences, etc.
  • Preparatory information for admission tests
  • Navigating the application process

 

Click here for more information.

Clubs & Organizations

Students can join organizations and clubs to learn outside the classroom, gain valuable work experience and develop their leadership skills. Many of our Sustainable Agriculture students are involved in:

Environmental Science Club 
join like-minded students who share a common interest in all things environmental

UK Greenthumb
engage in environmental activism on campus and beyond

Student Sustainability Council
supervise the distribution of resources to responsibly advance the theory, practice and reality of sustainability

Learn more about Clubs & Organizations in our college.

Listen to Others' Experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Imagine Your Future

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise social service programs and community organizations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$65,320

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

168,800

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

21,900

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers operate establishments that produce crops, livestock, and dairy products.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$67,950

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

975,400

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

-9,000

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Conservation Scientists and Foresters

Conservation scientists and foresters manage the overall land quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and other natural resources.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$61,340

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

32,900

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

1,000

new jobs (average)