Ecological Agriculture (Biol/Agric/Geog 303)

Pacific Rim Campus - Summer Session II

Course Description

Ecological Agriculture focuses on how agricultural systems can be developed to better resemble natural ecosystems to achieve multiple outcomes: food for communities, a vibrant economy, and healthy ecosystems. Focus is on learning agricultural principles that can be applied in rural, urban, temperate, and tropical settings. Issues of justice and public policy are also discussed. This course employs a discussion format both in classroom and field settings. It grapples with difficult, practical, and ethical problems and issues that require deep interdisciplinary analysis. Field, Interdisciplinary, Applied.

Professor: Dr. Ron Vos
Meets: Monday & Thursday

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Knowledge Gained

  • Where food comes from
  • Issues that people involved in agriculture face (zoning, water rights, immigration)
  • How to analyze a farm’s sustainability
  • How different worldviews affects one’s view of agriculture
  • What a theocentric view of agriculture could look like
  • Employment opportunities in the area of agriculture and community development
  • Role of graduate students in agricultural research

Skills Developed

  • Learning how to take good soil samples and understand soil test results
  • Learning how to compost
  • Learning about macro-nutrients and their deficiency symptoms
  • Learning what ‘weeds’ and pests are and how to manage them
  • Learning how to develop a community food project and how to share it with others
  • Distinguishing between organic farms, sustainable farms and conventional farms
  • Learning the differences between tropical and temperate agriculture and how each is unique
  • Learning how to assess one’s own food footprint
  • Understanding and identifying different world views
  • Learning how to set up a randomized, complete block design experiment

Field Experiences

  • Participate in on-farm activities
  • Design, develop and complete a small research project
  • Visit and learn from people involved in various farms and gardens including tree fruits, berries, salmon, mussels, dairy cows, goats, chickens, geese, ducks, bison, oysters, clams, leeks, carrots, potatoes, permaculture, urban agriculture, and backyard gardening
  • Meet graduate students and learn about their research projects 
  • Observe bio-generation of electricity


Interested in learning more about Ecological Agriculture, and Dr. Vos?

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