UC Davis Sustainable Agriculture

"Sustainable agriculture" has been defined as producing food today in ways that protect our ability to produce food tomorrow. Agricultural practices that cause irreversible damage to the soil or to the natural systems upon which agriculture depends are considered unsustainable. Sustainability is a central concern for many in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which created the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) in order to address these issues. In many cases, work is underway in our research fields and associated laboratories may provide the answers. Sustainability is also a major theme of our teaching and extension programs.

The following links will take to you a description of the research, education and extension resources at UC Davis:

Also, if you would like to see a Google Earth tour of the resources and sites available at UC Davis, you can download a Google Earth file here (Sustainable Agriculture Tour). You will need to download Google Earth on your computer to see the tour. Pause the tour and click on each site to see a short description and their website.

Patricia and Diana sampling


Sustainable agriculture research at UC Davis

The Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) now houses many former sustainable agriculture projects and facilities. The Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility (RRSAF), which includes both the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems project (SAFS) and the LTRAS project, is now part of ASI. The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) is also part of ASI.

In addition to being a world-renowned agricultural research university, UC Davis has an unusually large and distinguished ecology faculty. Many individual UCD faculty and their students conduct research on such topics as:

  • biological control of agricultural pests
  • biological nitrogen fixation
  • cover crops, intercropping, and agroforestry
  • soil organic matter and its management
  • using scarce resources (including water) more efficiently
  • effects of agriculture on wildlife, water resources and the atmosphere

Sustainable agriculture teaching at UC Davis

Sustainable agriculture education resources

Undergraduate programs

A new undergraduate major, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, has been approved in the Agricultural Sustainability Institute and students can now enroll. You can also choose from a variety of existing majors and courses such as:

  • Agriculture, Nature and Society (PLS 1)
  • Agroforestry: Global and Local Perspectives (PLS 160, IAD 160)
  • Agriculture and the Environment (PLS 101)
  • Concepts in Pest Management (PLS 105)
  • Concepts and Systems of Plant Protection and Pest Management (IPM 201)
  • Cropping Systems of the World (ASE 150)
  • Culinary and Medicinal Herbs (PLB 140)
  • Ecology of Crop Systems (PLS 142)
  • Economics of Agricultural Sustainability (ARE 121)
  • Food Systems (CRD 20)
  • Fruit and Nut Cropping Systems (PLS 170A,B)
  • Introduction to Plant Pathology (PLP 120)
  • Introduction to Weed Science (PLS 176)
  • Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture (PLS 15)
  • Organic Crop Production Practices (PLS 49)
  • Principles of Soil Science (SSC 100)
  • Seminar on Alternatives in Agriculture (PLS 190)
  • Soil Ecology (SSC 112)
  • Soil Microbiology (SSC 111)
  • Sustainable Nutrient Management (SSC 109)
  • Sustainability and Agroecosystem Management (PLS 150)
  • Viticultural Practices (VEN 101A-C)

Graduate Programs

Sustainable agriculture extension and outreach at UC Davis

  • Small Farm Center (SFC)
  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP)
  • UC Agricultural and Natural Resources (UC ANR)
Crop rows at Russell Ranch