List of AGR-coded courses

List of AGR-coded courses

AGR-coded courses are associated with the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) programs.  Not all AGR-coded courses will be offered until the full majors and honours programs are launched. However, students registered in geography, Environmental Studies and Environmental Science majors or honours degrees can take AGR-coded courses as electives that will count toward their degree.

To know which courses are offered during any given semester, please refer to the Timetable.

AGR 100   Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems   3-3-0

Conventional, industrial agriculture and fisheries are the source of the majority of our food, but are increasingly linked to economic injustice, loss of food security, and poor health, while also being criticized for being unsustainable, causing environmental degradation. Alternative food systems are emerging, providing innovative, sustainable, local, and organic solutions. This course provides an interdisciplinary survey of the environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects of agriculture and food, and outlines some of the emerging sustainable food systems. This course will help students develop an informed critique of conventional agricultural systems. This course will also provide practical advice for becoming a part of the revolution in agriculture and food systems, and will introduce the topics and skills to be learned during the rest of the program in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

AGR 104   An Edible History of Humanity   3‒3‒0

This course traces food through human history. Topics include: how the Neolithic period transformed hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists; how sedentary societies that store food create inequalities in wealth and power; how specialty products such as beaver-pelts and spices motivated exploration and colonization; how crops and fossil fuels expanded agricultural productivity, allowing many people to pursue non-farming occupations; how political leaders use power over food supply to mobilize armies and to crush dissent, and currently; how the 20th century Green Revolution solved some problems but now creates new ones.

AGR 130   Environmental Implications of Agriculture   3‒3‒0

When agricultural operations are sustainably managed, they preserve and even restore critical habitats, protect watersheds, and maintain soil health and water quality. On the other hand, some of the negative environmental impacts from unsustainable farming practices include: land conversion, deforestation and habitat loss, wasteful water consumption, soil erosion and degradation, pollution and contaminated runoff, climate change, genetic erosion and loss of resilience, toxicity to pollinators and other critical eco-system damage This course will expose students to the effects of these impacts, positive and negative, and introduce various indicators of environmental impact based on farmer’s production methods, and the impact these methods have on emissions to the environment. The goal is an introductory ability to assess environmental impact at the farm level.

AGR 171   Permaculture Design I: Design Principles   3-0-3

This course introduces students to permaculture design principles. Derived from “permanent agriculture”, permaculture is the design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. Permaculture is a multidisciplinary approach that utilizes systems thinking, as well as landscape design techniques, to create plans for food production, water use, energy use and habitat that mimic patterns observed in nature. Permaculture designs must be deeply rooted in the particular place in which they occur: geography, ecology, climate, culture, economy, and the needs and priorities of the resident human community. Permaculture is applicable to a wide rage of places, such as urban lots, schoolyards, municipal parks, and rural farms all over the planet, so students will be well-equipped to apply these principles in a variety of socio-economic and environmental contexts. This course follows a standard worldwide format. Students who successfully complete AGR 171 and AGR 172 will obtain the internationally-recognized “Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)”.

AGR 172   Permaculture Design II: Design Project   3‒3‒3

AGR 172 is a follow-up course to AGR 171. Permaculture is an integrated design system for human food production, water and energy use, modeled on nature. AGR 172 is a continuation and deepening of the design principles and applications covered in AGR 171. Students in AGR 172 will perform various permaculture design practices in a variety of settings, for various needs. The course involves hands-on work, in the lab and in the field, and requires completion of a significant design project. Students who complete both AGR 171 and AGR 172 will obtain an internationally-recognized “Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)”, enabling them to work as a certified permaculturalist. An extra fee is required for the certificate.

Pre-requisite: AGR 171

AGR 174   Sustainable Agriculture Practicum I   3‒0‒6

This YEAR 1 Field Course occurs during the Spring Session, May to mid-June at the Campus Educational Farm. It involves planning the growing season, preparing the agricultural gardens, and planting, pruning and other early season activities.

Pre-requisite: AGR 130

AGR 175   Sustainable Agriculture Internship I   3‒0‒6

This course can replace AGR 174 Sustainable Agriculture Practicum I for qualified students who have arranged a practical agricultural experience or placement equivalent to that provided in AGR 174, to occur off-campus.

Pre-requisites: AGR 130 and Permission of the Department

AGR 201   Market Gardening   3‒2‒1

This course explores the principles and practices associated with a Market Garden enterprise: a small-scale, intensive production of fruits, berries, vegetables, flowers, herbs, perennials, shrubs, seeds, bulbs and tubers, mushrooms and fungi, and more, as cash crops. Market Garden businesses frequently sell directly to consumers via local farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) and to local restaurants and inns. Market Garden enterprises are commonly characterized by their diversity of crops, grown on a small area of land, typically less than a hectare, and often in greenhouses. Principles and practices include: CSA initiatives, web and social media presence, product diversity, marketing, business plans, financing and capital, accounting and logistics, the regulatory environment, problem-solving and more. This course includes case studies, field trips to Bishop’s Campus Educational Farm, the Bishop’s Greenhouse, and local Market Garden enterprises.

Offered Alternate years

AGR 202   Culture and Food   3‒3‒0

This course presents a social perspective on food and culture. It explores the distinctiveness of foods and food preparation within different cultures and their roles in the building of social identity. In a complementary way, the course also explores the universality of human experiences with food. Significant attention is paid to the role of food and societal food practices in the contemporary global era. Topics include food practices, food’s role in socialization, identity, health and social change, as well as food marketing and the changing global food system.

Offered Alternate years

AGR 203   Healthy Nutrition   3‒3‒0

This course surveys the basic principles of human nutrition, and is intended for students with limited science background. The primary aim of the course is to clarify the profound relationship between nutrition and human health, both current health and future health. Topics include health and disease effects due to over-nutrition (focusing on macronutrients), malnutrition (focusing on micronutrients), weight management strategies, nutritional needs through the life cycle, public nutrition and the relationships between nutrition and chronic diseases.

Offered Alternate years

AGR 210   Food Science   3‒3‒0

This course provides an overview of the science of food preparation and transformation, focusing on the principles of sustainability: waste reduction, nutrient retention, minimization of packaging. Topics include food chemistry, analysis, microbiology, food safety assessment, product development, packaging, and the effects of processing on physico-chemical, rheological, and sensory characteristics.

Offered Alternate years

Pre-requisites: BIO 194 or BIO 196 and CHM 191 and CHM 192

AGR 220   Soil Science   3‒3‒0

This course provides an introductory survey of soils and their management: properties of soils, soil formation, description, and use. The course focuses on the role of soils in sustainable agriculture, causes and processes of degradation (including erosion, pollution, and nutrient depletion), and the maintenance of healthy soils.

Pre-requisites: BIO 194 or BIO 196 and AGR 130

Co-requisite is AGL 220

AGL 220   Soil Science Field Laboratory   1‒0‒6

This practical, field-lab course will focus on learning to obtain and use various indicators for assessing environmental impact, soil and water nitrate concentrations, soil bacteria level, soil acidity, water consumption, and more. The field labs will normally occur outdoors at the Campus Educational Farm.

Co-requisite: AGR 220

AGR 230   Ecological Agriculture   3‒3‒0

Ecological Agriculture is the science of sustainable agriculture. It emphasizes the interrelationships among soils, plants, insects, animals, humans and other components of agroecosystems, and applies ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of these systems. Ecological Agriculture techniques are of particular value in remote regions and in developing countries, where resources are limited and sustainable food security is a significant priority. This course introduces students to the concepts, principles and practices of Ecological Agriculture such as: diversification to maximize biomass production; waste and loss minimization techniques; by-product recycling; encouragement of decomposers and nitrogen fixers ; maintenance of soil fertility by humus application, crop rotations and correct application of farmyard manure; processing of farm products on the farm with direct sales to local consumers; integrative, ecological control of pests and weeds, ethical animal husbandry; utilization of wild-life and woodland; farm energy production off-grid; and minimization of capital investments.

Pre-requisite: AGR 130

Co-requisite: AGL 230

AGL 230   Ecological Agriculture Field Laboratory   1‒0‒3

A Practical Course of small, field-based projects, implementing some of the concepts explored in AGR 230. The field labs will normally occur outdoors at the Campus Educational Farm, during the fall semester, before freeze-up in late November.

Co-requisite: AGR 230

AGR 270   Special Topics/Field Course in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems I   3‒1‒5

A special topics seminar/field course offered by regular and visiting faculty on topics related to their research interests in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Topics are determined by the instructor and may include case-studies, projects and farm and agri-business visits, with the result that content of the course varies from one offering to the next. The course will be offered on an occasional basis.

Pre-requisites: AGR 100 and AGR 104

AGR 274   Sustainable Agriculture Practicum II   9‒0‒18

This intensive YEAR 2 Field Course occurs during the Summer Session, mid-June to end-July, at the Campus Educational Farm. It involves managing and maintaining the farm and gardens (under the direction of the Farm Technician), harvesting and distributing the early crops, and planning and designing future projects.

Pre-requisite: AGR 174

AGR 275   Sustainable Agriculture Internship II   9‒0‒18

This course can replace AGR 274 Sustainable Agriculture Practicum I for qualified students who have arranged a practical agricultural experience or placement equivalent to that provided in AGR 274, to occur off-campus.

Pre-requisites: AGR 274 and Permission of the Department

AGR 303   Food Preparation and Preservation   3‒1-3

This course presents an overview of food processing and food preservation, and associated food processing unit operations. Topics include: principles of food preservation methods such as temperature and water activity control, effects of preservation methods on food quality; pasteurization and the canning industry; refrigeration and freezing – refrigerants and compressors; drying and evaporation; acidification and fermentation; extrusion technology; chemical preservation; food additives; irradiation; and aseptic processing. As part of this course, students will have the opportunity to obtain their Hygiene and Food Safety – Food Handler Certificate from the Quebec government (a 6-hour, training course at extra cost).

Offered Alternate years

AGR 304   Agritourism   3‒3‒0

Agritourism includes farm stands or shops, U-pick, farm stays, tours, on-farm classes, fairs, festivals, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Christmas tree farms, winery weddings, orchard dinners, youth camps, barn dances, hunting or fishing, guest ranches, and more. Food and wine tourism is a rapidly growing sector of tourism, which reflects changing lifestyles and increasing diversification within the tourism industry. This course explores the development of the food and wine tourism industry, the concept and size of agritourism, food and wine business development, marketing and broad trends affecting tourism enterprises within this sector – with case studies and field visits within the Eastern Townships region of Quebec.

Offered Alternate years

AGR 305   Agricultural Entrepreneurship   3‒3‒0

Agricultural Entrepreneurship is designed to provide students with an understanding of the key concepts and processes involved in starting and managing new ventures in an agricultural, agritourism or food business. These concepts include: opportunity recognition, business model conceptualization, feasibility analysis, understanding market structure and niche markets, customer values, new product development, raising start-up capital, and development and management of successful new ventures. The course is appropriate for students interested in a variety of new ventures, from for-profit private companies to social enterprises and cooperatives.

Offered Alternate years

Pre-requisites: BMG 214

AGR 311   Agricultural Pests and Integrated Pest Management   3‒3‒0

This course presents the principles of sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and teaches their application vegetable and fruit and berries production. Sustainable IPM principles include no disruption to agro-ecosystems, natural pest control mechanisms, and no synthetic pesticides. The course begins with a survey of pests, plant pathogens, diseases and weeds, continues with non-chemical and biological means of control, monitoring and forecasting methods, and ends with sustainable practices and discussion of the techniques employed for IPM on the Campus Educational Farm.

Offered Alternate years

Pre-requisite: AGR 230

AGR 333   Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security   3‒3‒0

This course examines the role that agriculture plays in climate change as a producer of greenhouse gases, and how this intersects with food security concerns around the globe. Likewise, the course examines how climate change impacts agriculture and food security. Agriculture’s role as mitigating agent in climate change, through various peasant practices and modern innovations, and their effect on food security is examined.

Pre-requisites: AGR 100 and AGR 104

AGR 341   Sustainable Food Systems   3‒3‒0

Agriculture and food industries are a subject of growing interest in terms of their resource requirements, ecological impacts, and sustainability. This course builds on concepts encountered in AGR 100, and other program courses, field courses and practica. It examines methods of modeling and analysis used to study food systems, and give students opportunities to conduct case study analyses. Finally, students will learn how models might be relevant to the development of policy related to local and regional food systems or dietary changes to reduce environmental impact.

Pre-requisites: AGR 100 and AGR 104

AGR 342   Agroecology and Indigenous Food Systems   3‒3‒0

This course explores the growing field of agroecology research as a transdisciplinary, participatory and action-oriented process, and the wide range of historical and contemporary food systems practices and issues that impact Indigenous communities all around the world, and their connections to the ecosystems that support them.

Pre-requisites: AGR 100 and AGR 104

AGR 370   Special Topics/Field Course in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems II   3‒1‒5

A third year special topics seminar/field course offered by regular and visiting faculty on topics related to their research interests in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Topics are determined by the instructor and may include case-studies, projects and farm and agri-business visits, with the result that content of the course varies from one offering to the next. The course will be offered on an occasional basis.

Pre-requisites: AGR 100 and AGR 104

AGR 461   Honours Proposal in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems   3‒0‒0

This course provides an introduction to the planning, execution and reporting of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems research. The student is required to select an appropriate research project and, under the supervision of a faculty member, complete a formal research proposal. The proposal must include a detailed Introduction, including the purpose, objectives and research hypothesis, a detailed Conceptual Background, with associated Literature Review and Bibliography, and a description of the Research Methods and Data Collection Techniques to be used in the project. Preliminary data collection should also take place. The Proposal will be presented at a Departmental seminar to be scheduled near the end of the semester.

Prerequisite: Permission of Department.

As per department policy, a minimum cumulative grade average of 70% is required to be admitted into AGR 461.

AGR 462   Honours Thesis in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems   3‒0‒0

This course is a continuation of AGR 461. Information and data collected for the Honours Research Proposal, plus additional data collected will be analysed, discussed and presented in an Honours thesis. Research findings will be presented at a Departmental seminar to be scheduled during the last two weeks of classes; the final submission of the thesis must occur before the last day of the formal examination period. The completion of both AGR 461 and AGR 462 is necessary to satisfy the requirements for Honours in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Prerequisite: AGR 461 and permission of the Department.

As per department policy, a minimum of 75% in AGR 461 is required to be admitted into AGR 462.

AGR 471   Experiential Learning in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems I   3‒0‒0

The aim of this course is to expose students to the application of what they have learned with a practical, field project or placement. Students will be expected to engage in a project or field placement, with off-campus, community projects preferred. A project proposal will be required. Each experiential learning project will include an “external supervisor”, and an internal supervisor (a departmental faculty member). The project will be expected to take significant time to complete, at least 100 hours. The student’s performance during the practical work will be evaluated by the external supervisor. The student will also be required to produce a final report concerning the project outcomes, and/or a presentation of the findings. The course is normally restricted to students with a cumulative average grade of at least 70%.

Prerequisite: This course may only be registered during the final 30 credits of the student’s program and by permission of the Department.

AGR 472   Experiential Learning in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems II   3‒0‒0

This course follows the same course structure and requirements as AGR 471, and builds further depth in this field of study.

Prerequisite: AGR 471 and by Permission of the Department.