Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture
- For the Instructor—How to Use This Resource
- Providing Feedback, Updates, and Suggestions
- Colleges and Universities with Sustainable Agriculture Courses and Programs (pdf) (MS Word)
- K-12 Curriculum Resources (Excel) (pdf)
Growing interest in sustainable agriculture has generated a wealth of educational materials on the many social, environmental, and agronomic topics related to this expanding field.
In creating this online resource, we’ve reviewed hundreds of resources—textbooks, popular books, web sites, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more—to identify the highest-quality and most relevant materials on sustainable agriculture available. Whether you’re teaching a 2-hour community gardening workshop on irrigation or a semester-long college course on the social and environmental impacts of agriculture, this resource will help you locate the best materials to meet your instructional needs.
We’ve also developed a catalogue description and outline for a comprehensive course on sustainable agriculture, appropriate for the community college, state college, or university level (see Course Description and Course Outline under How to Use This Resource, below). The Course Outline includes topics in social and environmental sciences; plant, soil, crop, and animal sciences; pest management; natural resource management; the adoption of sustainable agriculture; and the growth and development of sustainable agriculture and the organic food industry.
Topic headings in the Course Outline can be taught as stand-alone units, combined to create a more extensive course, or used to supplement an existing course. Each topic heading links to an annotated list of materials for instructors to use as resources for a class, seminar, lab, or workshop. These annotated lists draw in part from the resource sections of CASFS’s two instructional manuals, Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors, and Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors.
By providing this online material we hope to enhance the efforts of those now teaching sustainable agriculture topics and encourage instructors to develop new courses in this emerging field.
Development of this online curriculum resource was funded in part by the David B. Gold Foundation.
This online resource is organized as a course outline. You can use the entire outline or draw from and reorganize it to meet your course’s requirements, students’ backgrounds, learning objectives, and learning context (e.g., classroom, college farm, community garden).
The resource has 5 components –
- Course Description and Learning Objectives – The course description defines the scope of the course and can be used in a college catalogue or course syllabus. The learning objectives list the concepts and/or skill set that the students are expected to learn during the course.
- Course Outline – The Course Outline offers the suggested sequence of the course, listing major topic and sub-topics to address.
- Annotated Resource Listings – Each bold-faced main topic or sub-topic in the Course Outline references a resource listing (PDF and Word formats). These annotated listings provide suggested student readings, additional print resources, existing curricula, web sites, PowerPoint, slide, and video resources that can be used to design and teach a given topic in the course outline.
- Laboratory Section – The laboratory section lists field-based and hands-on exercises that address and/or complement the materials taught in the lecture portion of the course. (pdf) (MS Word)
- Teaching Sustainability in Agriculture: Resources for Instructors – These annotated references offer information for integrating principles of sustainability into agriculture education. (pdf) (MS Word)
We want this online resource to be active and evolving, keeping current with the rapidly developing literature of sustainable agriculture. To help us meet this goal, you’re invited to submit recommendations on additional material to be added to the online listings.
Please submit your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow the citation format used in the resource listings, including: what topic the resource addresses, a brief annotation, and (if applicable) the URL where the resource can be accessed. If it can’t be accessed via the web, please send the material as an attachment to the e-mail address above with the citation and annotation. After review, new listings will be posted to this site periodically.
This project originated in 1999 when Albie Miles and other staff of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) began gathering material for our two instructor manuals, Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: Resources for Instructors (published in 2003), and Teaching Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability: Resources for Instructors (published in 2005).
In October 2003, CASFS received funding from the California Food, Fibers, Futures Project (CF3, a program of the Kellogg Foundation) to develop a set of resources for instructors interested in teaching introductory-level sustainable agriculture courses on campuses with college farms. These resources were intended to help college instructors develop and implement new courses that address issues of natural resource sustainability in agriculture (see Course Description) and could be applied across the range of California’s post-secondary institutions.
Project developers requested input from instructors at post-secondary institutions that offer experiential and on-farm sustainable agriculture courses. We asked them which subject areas to include and which resources to use for lectures and laboratory classes/practica. A wealth of ideas came from educators from the three systems of higher education in California (Community College, California State University, and University of California systems) and from agricultural professionals and instructors from institutions around the U.S. The materials include formal written curricula, suggested readings for students, textbooks, web resources, course syllabi, laboratory exercises, video, and PowerPoint presentations on topics relating to natural resource sustainability in conventional and alternative agriculture. We reviewed, edited, and organized the materials into a comprehensive course outline, a course description, annotated resource listings, and a laboratory class that follow the format for course development currently used by the California Agriculture Teachers Association (CATA).
Recognizing the increasing demand for sustainable agriculture instructional resources, we wanted to expand this project beyond its original “hard copy” format for California users and make it more widely available. With additional funding from the California Food, Fibers, and Futures Project, this online Sustainable Agriculture Instructional Resources component of the CASFS website was created to allow free access and exchange of such materials for instructors around the U.S. and beyond.
The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems would like to thank the following people and organizations for their contributions, thoughtful input, and support of this project –
California Food, Fibers, Futures Project’s Sustainable Agriculture and Communities Action Team members:
- Leonard Diggs, Shone Farm, Santa Rosa Junior College
- Paul Finn, Santa Rosa Junior College
- Robert Fraser, Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, Santa Rose Junior College
- Nick Frey, Sonoma County Grape Growers
- Terry Harrison, Sonoma Antique Apple Nursery
- Renee Kiff, Healdsburg Farmers’ Market
- Janice McMurray, UC Davis Science and Society program
- Laura Mendes, Santa Rosa Junior College
- Steven Olson, Dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs, Santa Rose Jr. College
- Mark Van Horn, Director, UC Davis Student Farm, University of California, Davis
- Paul Vossen, UC Cooperative Extension
Antonio Carlos de S. Abboud, Departamento de Fitotecnia Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Lee Altier, Professor of Agriculture, California State University, Chico
Bruno Borsari, Professor of Environmental Studies, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Nancy Creamer, Director, Center for Environmental Farming Systems North Carolina State University
Timothy Crews, Professor of Environmental Studies and Agroecology, Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona
Hunter Francis, Program Coordinator, Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium (SARC). Horticulture and Crop Science Department, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California
Ann Lindsey, Apprenticeship Development Coordinator, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz
Marc Los Huertos, Post-Doctoral Research Manager, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz
Andrew Marshal, Education Director, Maine Organic Farming and Gardening Association
Laura Mendes, Program Coordinator/Instructor, Santa Rosa Junior College Sustainable Agriculture Program
Katie Lenore Monsen, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz
Oneas T. Mufandaedza Ph D, Instructor, Sustainable Farming Program, Central Carolina Community College Pittsboro Campus, Chatham County, North Carolina
Damian Parr, Ph.D. candidate in Agriculture Education, UC Davis
Tina Ray, Farm Manager/Faculty, Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, Vermont
Martha Rosemeyer, Professor of Environmental Studies, Evergreen State College
Debra Sands-Miller, Curriculum Specialist, Santa Rose Junior College
Carol Shennan, Director, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz
Paul Sommers, Professor California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
Cary J. Trexler, Assistant Professor and Educator in the California Agricultural Experiment Station, School of Education, University of California, Davis
Miriam Volat, Coordinator/Instructor, Ecological Agriculture Concentration, North Bay Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Communities Program, New College of California
Bert Walker, Instructor, College of the Redwoods, Eureka, California
Ray R. Weil, Professor of Soil Science. Dept. of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture University of Maryland
Ben Weir, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Studies UCSC
Thomas Wittman, Operations Assistant, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz