Ecological Agriculture

biol/agric/geog 303 - Pacific Rim - Summer Session II


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. (4 credits)

Field, Interdisciplinary, Applied.

Professor: Dr. Ron Vos

Meets: Monday & Thursday


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