Sustainable Agriculture (Co-op) Curriculum

School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences

Accepting Applications for September 2022

See curriculum for: September 2023
Credential: Ontario College Graduate Certificate ( 3 semesters )
Classes begin:
September 06, 2022
Offered at:
Frost Campus
Program code:
Tuition & Ancillary Fees:
$2,852.78 per semester*
$9,397.44 per semester*
* Tuition and fees subject to change.

Vocational Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a personal philosophy and approach to sustainable farming, using knowledge of historic and contemporary farm practices, food culture and systems.
  • Protect and renew soil fertility and health through use of composts, green manures, cover crops, rotation, tillage and soil testing and amendments.
  • Develop crop plans and rotations to meet production needs (small-scale through field-scale).
  • Manage a small-scale market garden and / or greenhouse operation from seed starts through harvest.
  • Integrate natural biological cycles and controls in managing plant pathogens, weeds, insect pests and parasites.
  • Assess the merits and viability of integrating small-scale livestock production and heritage breeds in the mixed farm operation and manage their husbandry and welfare.
  • Plan for, problem solve through, and manage the day-to-day events and operations of the farm enterprise (including maintenance and repair, economy in use of resources, development of on-farm systems, animal and crop husbandry and farm labour).
  • Meet optimal standards of food safety including handling, cleaning, processing, preserving and storage.
  • Plan for, and manage, the day to day business operations of the farm enterprise in order to create a dependable farm income.
  • Develop an integrated farm management plan that accounts for ecological farm practices, environmental protection, biodiversity and wildlife preservation.
  • Develop an approach to whole farm thinking that optimises the management and use of on-farm resources, and reduces the use of non-renewable resources and purchased production inputs.
  • Research and maintain networks and resources related to on-going professional learning (including peer support, mentors, government and other services, membership in organisations and funding).

Courses and Descriptions

Semester 1

Units/ Hours: 60

This course is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge of soil science, plant anatomy, and integrated pest management.

Units/ Hours: 45

This course is designed to provide hands-on experience in the selection, safe operation and maintenance of equipment commonly found in the small scale farm operation including hand tools, small power tools, rototillers, tractors / front end loaders and chainsaws.

APST 176
Units/ Hours: 28

The SAG farm field camp is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their hands-on sustainable agriculture skills through a week of intensive on-site and on-farm experiences in livestock management, market gardening and season extension, cover cropping and farm equipment training. Including a tour of regional farms that showcase sustainable practices.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to small-scale livestock production and the mixed farm operation. Focus topics include the principles of livestock husbandry, pasture management and forage production, as well as livestock selection and breeding.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of market garden and greenhouse operation including seed selection, plant propagation, tillage, cultivation and irrigation.

Units/ Hours: 30

This course provides an Ontario, Canadian and International context for sustainable agriculture. It introduces the foundational principles of sustainable agriculture, ecological and place-based food and farming systems grounded in environmental stewardship, farm viability and social responsibility, using a systems approach.

Semester 2

Units/ Hours: 45

This course is designed to provide a context and overview of the systems and processes that frame the new sustainable agriculture business start-up and its effective operation. Students will be required to complete a thorough business plan.

APST 154
Units/ Hours: 30

This course is designed to equip students with the skills needed for their work search and to develop and enhance career planning skills. Students will learn how to write competitive job search documents, interview with confidence, and will develop and use their career portfolio as a tool to identify and incorporate career goals into the job search process.

Units/ Hours: 35

This course is designed to give students a basic knowledge of financial accounting as it applies to an agricultural business. The focus is on managerial accounting and external reporting. Students will be required to complete a thorough set of financial projections for their business plan.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course is designed to give students an introduction to various specialty crops/livestock and their sustainable production strategies, systems and processes. Students will have an opportunity to select a specialty crop/livestock of interest to focus their research on during the semester.

Units/ Hours: 60

This course is intended to provide students with an applied knowledge of business diversification and marketing with a focus on concepts that are transferable across all marketing avenues. In addition students will be introduced to the role of value-added processing including safe food handling, labeling and certifications within small-scale sustainable agriculture businesses.

Units/ Hours: 21

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of perennial cropping systems such as berries, fruit and nut production and the merits of integrating perennial crops into sustainable small-scale farming systems.

Semester 3

Units/ Hours: 12

In this capstone course, students will create a reflective project that synthesizes research, theory and application of concepts learned throughout the program and their co-op experience. The project bridges the gap between theory and practice.