Changes to U of G Organic Agriculture Education
The University of Guelph is introducing a new certificate in organic agriculture that will be available to all undergraduate students in fall 2018, encouraging broader student enrollment in organic and alternative agriculture courses.
After consultation with students, the University has replaced the organic agriculture major of the bachelor of science in agriculture degree with the new certificate.
“There is a strong demand from our students who are interested in supplementing their degree with specialized learning in organic agriculture,” explains Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph. “We know there is a growing demand for qualified employees in the rapidly growing organic sector in Ontario and Canada. This certificate will support a broader cross section of students who will enter the sector with specialized expertise.”
“When we originally developed the major, we interpreted the demand as interest in organic food production. We now realize that there is a broader interest from students wanting to study societal impacts and demands,” Van Acker adds.
The certificate will focus on organic standards, environmental and societal impacts, value chain and certification, societal needs and social issues in association with organic agriculture production and distribution. Students will be able to select electives focusing on soils, animal and crop production, and society and sustainability.
Van Acker explains that many of the students who indicated interest in the certificate are enrolled in a degree unrelated to food production, such as food science, business, international development and nutrition, and plan to pursue careers that will work with organic products after the farm gate.
“More and more organic food products are appearing on Canadian supermarket shelves and in farmers’ markets,” says Andreas Boecker, acting associate dean – academic for the Ontario Agricultural College. “There is certainly a demand for post-secondary graduates in careers along the whole organic agriculture value chain.”
For more information, please contact Prof. Andreas Boecker, Acting Associate Dean (Academic), Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph at email@example.com or 519-824-4120, Ext. 53332.