Major in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
Student learning about sustainable agriculture and food systems at UC Davis dates to at least the mid-1970s when students created several related courses and the Student Farm. Since 1977, the Student Farm has developed numerous experiential educational projects and classroom- and field-based courses on diverse aspects of sustainable agriculture. Various departments also offer related courses and curricula, but a major focusing on sustainable agriculture was not offered until 2011.
Recently a team of faculty, students and staff developed a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) major. Their process included a national survey that asked agricultural practitioners, faculty, students and alumni what knowledge, skills and experiences were necessary for the major. The survey findings, lessons from Student Farm history and pedagogical theory contributed to a set of principles for the major. These focus on interdisciplinary breadth, systems thinking, experiential learning, diverse skills, building community and linking the classroom to the real world.