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Twin Cities Campus

Sustainable Agriculture Minor

Agronomy & Plant Genetics
College of Food, Agri & Natural Resource Sciences
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
  • Program Type: Undergraduate free-standing minor
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Required credits in this minor: 17 to 19
This minor allows students to study the sustainability of agricultural food systems from an integrated perspective, including coursework, practical experience, and community reflection. Required courses and courses from the foundational clustersóland and public policy; agriculture, environment, and natural resources; and citizens, science, and societyódefine the student's minor curriculum. In addition, each student works with a minor adviser to design an individualized practical experience (e.g., internship, experiential learning opportunity) in some aspect of sustainable agriculture. Through the Issues in Sustainable Agriculture course, students synthesize their learning about sustainability for local, national, and global agricultural food systems. For this minor, students must complete 3-6 credits of required courses and 9-14 credits of foundational coursework, for a total of at least 17 credits.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Minor Requirements
This minor requires that students complete a minimum of 17 credits from the courses listed below. Students should work with their academic advisers to make sure the courses they choose to take will meet this requirement.
Minor Courses
AGRO 4888 - Issues in Sustainable Agriculture (2.0 cr)
Take 1-3 credit(s) of SAGR 4096 or an equivalent internship course
SAGR 4096 - Professional Experience Program: Internship in Sustainable Agriculture (1.0-3.0 cr)
Foundation Course Clusters
Select at least one course from each of the following clusters. Other courses may be substituted with approval of the minor advisor and coordinator.
Take 12 or more credit(s) including 3 or more sub-requirements(s) from the following:
Land and Public Policy
· ESPM 3221 - Soil Conservation and Land-Use Management (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 3241W - Natural Resource and Environmental Policy [SOCS, CIV, WI] (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 3251 - Natural Resources in Sustainable International Development [GP] (3.0 cr)
or GEOG 3361W - Geography and Public Policy [WI] (3.0 cr)
or PA 5002 - Introduction to Policy Analysis (1.5 cr)
or WRIT 3315 - Writing on Issues of Land and the Environment [AH, DSJ] (3.0 cr)
· Agriculture/Environment and Natural Resources
· AGRO 1103 - Crops, Environment, and Society [ENV] (4.0 cr)
or AGRO 5999 - Special Topics: Workshop in Agronomy (1.0-6.0 cr)
or AMIN 3312 - American Indian Environmental Issues and Ecological Perspectives [ENV] (3.0 cr)
or ANSC 1101 - Introductory Animal Science (4.0 cr)
or APEC 3611W - Environmental and Natural Resource Economics [ENV, WI] (3.0 cr)
or APEC 3811 - Principles of Farm Management (3.0 cr)
or APS 5103 - Integration of Sustainable Agriculture Concepts (3.0 cr)
or EEB 4609W - Ecosystem Ecology [ENV, WI] (3.0 cr)
or ENT 4021 - Honey Bees and Insect Societies (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 1011 - Issues in the Environment [ENV] (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 3108 - Ecology of Managed Systems [ENV] (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 3245 - Sustainable Land Use Planning and Policy [ENV] (3.0 cr)
or GEOG 3401 - Geography of Environmental Systems and Global Change [ENV] (4.0 cr)
or GWSS 3290 - Topics (1.0-3.0 cr)
or HORT 1014 - Edible Landscape [TS] (3.0 cr)
or HORT 5131 - Student Organic Farm Planning, Growing, and Marketing (3.0 cr)
or HECU 3591 - Environmental Sustainability: Sci, Public Policy, & Cmty Action Climate & Environment Justice (4.0 cr)
or PLPA 2001 - Introductory Plant Pathology (3.0 cr)
or SOIL 2125 - Basic Soil Science [PHYS, ENV] (4.0 cr)
or AGRO 3203W - Environment, Global Food Production, and the Citizen [GP, WI] (3.0 cr)
or ANSC 3203W - Environment, Global Food Production, and the Citizen [GP, WI] (3.0 cr)
· Citizens/Science and Society
· AECM 4221 - Rural Leadership Development (3.0 cr)
or BBE 3201 - Sustainability of Food Systems: A Life Cycle Perspective [GP] (3.0 cr)
or CHIC 3374 - Migrant Farmworkers in the United States: Families, Work, and Advocacy [CIV] (4.0 cr)
or ENGL 3071 - The American Food Revolution in Literature and Television [CIV] (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 3011W - Ethics in Natural Resources [CIV, WI] (3.0 cr)
or ESPM 3202W - Environmental Conflict Management, Leadership, and Planning [WI] (3.0 cr)
or FSCN 2001 - A Food Systems Approach to Cooking for Health and the Environment (3.0 cr)
or FSCN 3301 {Inactive} (3.0 cr)
or GLOS 3305 - Life for Sale: Global Debates on Environment, Science, and Society (3.0 cr)
or HECU 3592 - Environmental Sustainability: Ecology and Socio-ecological Systems Change (4.0 cr)
or SUST 3003 - Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet [ENV] (3.0 cr)
or WRIT 3371W - Technology, Self, and Society [TS, WI] (3.0 cr)
or GCC 3017 - World Food Problems: Agronomics, Economics and Hunger [GP] (3.0 cr)
 
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AGRO 4888 - Issues in Sustainable Agriculture
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Agroecology, sustainable practices, production economics, environmental quality, holistic resource management, healthy food/water, rural communities. Meet sustainable-agriculture advocates, including farmers, faculty, and representatives of non-profit sustainable-agriculture organizations. prereq: 1103, Soil 1125 or 2125 or equiv
SAGR 4096 - Professional Experience Program: Internship in Sustainable Agriculture
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Professional experience in sustainable agriculture attained through supervised practical experience. Students create a learning agreement specific to their internship host and project, consulting with faculty advisers/hosts. This course meets the internship requirement for the Undergraduate Minor in Sustainable Agriculture. Prereq: Undergraduate minor in sustainable agriculture
ESPM 3221 - Soil Conservation and Land-Use Management
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course is designed to provide a local and global historical perspective of soil erosion (causes and consequences); develop a scientific understanding of soil erosion processes; and relates various soil conservation and land-use management strategies to real-world situations. Basics of soil erosion processes and prediction methods will be the fundamental building blocks of this course. From this understanding, we will discuss policies and socioeconomic aspects of soil erosion. Lastly, we will focus on effective land-use management using natural resource assessment tools. Case studies and real-world and current events examples will be used throughout the course to relate course material to experiences. prereq: SOIL 2125 or instr consent
ESPM 3241W - Natural Resource and Environmental Policy (SOCS, CIV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ENR 3241W/5241
Typically offered: Every Spring
Political processes in management of the environment. How disagreements are addressed by different stakeholders, private-sector interests, government agencies, institutions, communities, and nonprofit organizations.
ESPM 3251 - Natural Resources in Sustainable International Development (GP)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ENR 3251/5251/LAS 3251
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
International perspectives on resource use and sustainable development. Integration of natural resource issues with social, economic, and policy considerations. Agriculture, forestry, agroforestry, non-timber forest products, water resources, certification, development issues. Global case studies. Impact of consumption in developed countries on sustainable development in lesser developed countries.
GEOG 3361W - Geography and Public Policy (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01979
Typically offered: Every Fall
Nature/effects of federal policy in the United States. How documents produced as policy are crafted/implemented. Policies relating to food/agriculture, forestry, wildlife, and transportation.
PA 5002 - Introduction to Policy Analysis
Credits: 1.5 [max 1.5]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Process of public policy analysis from problem structuring to communication of findings. Commonly used analytical methods. Alternative models of analytical problem resolution.
WRIT 3315 - Writing on Issues of Land and the Environment (AH, DSJ)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Land in America as idea and as actual space. History of cultural values and the meanings land holds for us. Contrasting views of land, especially those of certain Native American peoples. Rise of the conservation movement and the urbanization of U.S. space.
AGRO 1103 - Crops, Environment, and Society (ENV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Agro 1103/AgUM 2222
Typically offered: Every Fall
Plants that supply food, fiber, beverages, and medicine to humans. Plant identification, plant physiology, plant breeding/biotechnology, plant ecology, crop culture/management.
AGRO 5999 - Special Topics: Workshop in Agronomy
Credits: 1.0 -6.0 [max 6.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Workshops on various topics in agronomy and plant genetics. Presenters/faculty may include guest lecturers/experts. Topics specified in class schedule.
AMIN 3312 - American Indian Environmental Issues and Ecological Perspectives (ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
American Indian environmental issues in U.S./Canada. Analysis of social, political, economic, legal forces/institutions. Colonial histories/tribal sovereignty.
ANSC 1101 - Introductory Animal Science
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Fundamental concepts of animal breeding, physiology, nutrition, and management as they apply to the production of beef, dairy, horses, poultry, sheep, swine, and other livestock. Fall term class open only to ANSC majors. Spring term class open to all majors.
APEC 3611W - Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (ENV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Concepts of resource use. Financial/economic feasibility. External effects, market failures. Resource use, environmental problems. Measuring impacts of resource development. Economics of alternative resource programs, environmental strategies. prereq: 1101 or ECON 1101 or 1101H or ECON 1101H
APEC 3811 - Principles of Farm Management
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Strategic and operations aspects of farm management; financial analysis, budgeting, strategic management; marketing plan and control; enterprise and whole farm planning and control; investment analysis, quality, risk, and personnel management. prereq: 1101 or Econ 1101
APS 5103 - Integration of Sustainable Agriculture Concepts
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Biodiversity, ecological balance, nutrient cycling, soil quality. Organic practices of tillage, fertility management, weed control, insect control. Specific practices compared with conventional/integrated pest management. Economic analysis of both organic/conventional practices. prereq: AGRO 1101 or AGRO 1103 or BIOL 1001 or BIOL 1009 or HORT 1001 or HORT 6011 or instr consent, [sr or grad student admitted to MPS in horticulture] Because of the 5xxx level, undergraduates need permission numbers to register. Students can obtain permissions by writing to: reefx001@umn.edu
EEB 4609W - Ecosystem Ecology (ENV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Regulation of energy and elements cycling through ecosystems. Dependence of cycles on kinds/numbers of species within ecosystems. Effects of human-induced global changes on functioning of ecosystems. prereq: Biol 3407 or instr consent
ENT 4021 - Honey Bees and Insect Societies
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Natural history, identification, and behavior of honey bees and other social insects. Evolution of social behavior, pheromones and communication, organization and division of labor, social parasitism. Lab with honey bee management and maintenance of other social bees for pollination. prereq: Biol 1009 or instr consent
ESPM 1011 - Issues in the Environment (ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Interdisciplinary survey of environmental issues. Interrelationships between environment and human society. Roles of science, technology, and policy in meeting environmental challenges. Lecture, discussion. Students evaluate social, ethical, political, and economic factors.
ESPM 3108 - Ecology of Managed Systems (ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01229 - ESPM 3108/ESPM 5108
Typically offered: Every Fall
Ecology of ecosystems that are primarily composed of managed plant communities, such as managed forests, field-crop agroecosystems, rangelands and nature reserves, parks, and urban open-spaces. Concepts of ecology and ecosystem management. prereq: BIOL 1001 or BIOL 1009 or HORT 1001 or instr consent
ESPM 3245 - Sustainable Land Use Planning and Policy (ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00361 - ESPM 3245/ESPM 5245
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Policies affecting land use planning at local, state, and federal levels. Ecosystem and landscape scale planning. Collaborative and community-based approaches to planning for ecological, social, and economic sustainability. Class project applies interdisciplinary perspectives on planning and policy, including information gathering techniques, conservation planning tools, and evaluation of planning options.
GEOG 3401 - Geography of Environmental Systems and Global Change (ENV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Geog 3401/5401
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Geographic patterns, dynamics, and interactions of atmospheric, hydrospheric, geomorphic, pedologic, and biologic systems as context for human population, development, and resource use patterns.
GWSS 3290 - Topics
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 9.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Topics specified in Class Schedule.
HORT 1014 - Edible Landscape (TS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Tracing our relationship with edible landscapes traces to our hunting-gathering origins. Technological/social changes that have distanced us from our food. Integrating food plants into pleasing, sustainable, and edible landscapes in yards, neighborhoods, and cities.
HORT 5131 - Student Organic Farm Planning, Growing, and Marketing
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01487 - Agro 3131/Agro 5131/Hort 3131/
Typically offered: Every Spring
Students plan/implement cropping/marketing strategies for organic produce/flowers from Student Organic Farm on St. Paul campus. prereq: 1001 or AGRO 1101 or AGRO 1103 or BIOL 1001 or BIOL 1009 or instr consent
HECU 3591 - Environmental Sustainability: Sci, Public Policy, & Cmty Action Climate & Environment Justice
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
In the twenty-first century, the environmental century, human beings must decide how to deal with the many planetary consequences of the ?Great Acceleration? and its conjunction with the 500-year pattern of conquest, genocide, and extreme social marginalization of indigenous peoples and poor peoples of color. As we consider how to respond to climate change, restore degraded ecosystems, and promote a sustainable quality of life in human settlements, how might we do this in an environmentally just approach? This is the basic question to be explored in this course, in light of the past record of the inequitable distribution and accumulated disadvantage resulting from historical environmental behavior in societies and global civilization as a whole. This course is one of four courses which make up the Environmental Sustainability: Ecology, Policy and Social Transformation Program taught by Study Away partner HECUA. Concurrent registration is required in 3592, in 3593, and in 3594, Fall semester. Dept consent required.
PLPA 2001 - Introductory Plant Pathology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Biology of the major groups of plant pathogens, symptoms and signs of plant disease, plant disease diagnosis, and principles of disease management. Lecture and laboratory. prereq: BIOL 1009 or equiv
SOIL 2125 - Basic Soil Science (PHYS, ENV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00452 - Soil 2125/Soil 5125
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Basic physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. Soil genesis classification, principles of soil fertility. Use of soil survey information to make a land-use plan. WWW used for lab preparation information. prereq: [CHEM 1015, CHEM 1017] or CHEM 1021 or equiv
AGRO 3203W - Environment, Global Food Production, and the Citizen (GP, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Agro/AnSc 3203/AgUM 2224
Typically offered: Every Spring
Ecological/ethical concerns of food production systems in global agriculture: past, present, and future. Underlying ethical positions about how agroecosystems should be configured. Decision cases, discussions, videos, other media.
ANSC 3203W - Environment, Global Food Production, and the Citizen (GP, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Agro/AnSc 3203/AgUM 2224
Typically offered: Every Spring
Ecological/ethical concerns of food production systems in global agriculture: past, present, and future. Underlying ethical positions about how agroecosystems should be configured. Interactive learning using decision cases, discussions, videos, other media.
AECM 4221 - Rural Leadership Development
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Understanding the role, function, and features of leadership in rural communities; importance of personal involvement, personal leadership qualities, and vision for individuals and rural community organizations.
BBE 3201 - Sustainability of Food Systems: A Life Cycle Perspective (GP)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Consequences of global food system. Diversity in food systems. Current topics in food sustainability.
CHIC 3374 - Migrant Farmworkers in the United States: Families, Work, and Advocacy (CIV)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01146 - Chic 3374/Chic 5374
Typically offered: Every Spring
Socioeconomic/political forces that impact migrant farmworkers. Effects of the laws and policies on everyday life. Theoretical assumptions/strategies of unions and advocacy groups. Role/power of consumer. How consuming cheap food occurs at expense of farmworkers.
ENGL 3071 - The American Food Revolution in Literature and Television (CIV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Native food landscape in 1930s. Classic literature from rise of movement. Recent work that focuses on personal/environmental ethics of food.
ESPM 3011W - Ethics in Natural Resources (CIV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Normative/professional ethics, and leadership considerations, applicable to managing natural resources and the environment. Readings, discussion.
ESPM 3202W - Environmental Conflict Management, Leadership, and Planning (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00379 - ESPM 3202WESPM /5202
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Negotiation of natural resource management issues. Use of collaborative planning. Case study approach to conflict management, strategic planning, and building leadership qualities. Emphasizes analytical concepts, techniques, and skills.
FSCN 2001 - A Food Systems Approach to Cooking for Health and the Environment
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
This is a fun, hands-on cooking class. It is also an Experiential Learning (EL) course which meets the EL requirement for all CFANS students. This lecture /lab format course will give students the confidence to cook healthful whole foods as they learn about the food system. Subject matter will be taught from an interdisciplinary perspective. Concepts covered include fundamental concepts of nutrition, food sources, food safety, the food system; skills/resources for food choices based on nutritional, environmental, local and global societal implications. We will examine the ethical and civic themes that guide food choices. We will discuss and write about how environmental, cultural, social, and health issues impact personal food choices. prereq: [soph, jr, sr] or instructor consent
GLOS 3305 - Life for Sale: Global Debates on Environment, Science, and Society
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02573 - GloS 3305/GWSS 3205
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Biopiracy, vaccine trials, use/abuse of genetics, genetically modified organisms. Who determines direction of scientific/medical research? Impact on social thinking/practices and on globalization of science. Global economics of science.
HECU 3592 - Environmental Sustainability: Ecology and Socio-ecological Systems Change
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Since our original hunter-gatherer communities, humans have had an impact, sometimes quite negative, on our environment. What is different now, since the ?Great Acceleration? that began in the mid-twentieth century, is that our environmental impacts are global in scope and potentially catastrophic in scale. Learning to become ecologically wise is thus a priority for all of humanity in the twenty-first century. Socio-Ecological Systems bridges political science and environmental sciences with the intent of fostering policy responses that help human society apply ecological wisdom in a timely manner at worst, and in an ecologically regenerative manner at best. In this course, we will integrate questions regarding sustainability challenges of water, forest, wetland, climate, soil, with those involving people, cultures, politics, and economy in a comprehensive, integral framework. This investigation will build students? ability to see complex dynamics more clearly, and prepare students to be part of efforts to create ecologically wise policy and practices for a more sustainable future. This course is one of four courses which make up the Environmental Sustainability: Ecology, Policy and Social Transformation Program taught by Study Away partner HECUA. Concurrent registration is required in 3591, in 3593, and in 3594, Fall semester program. Dept consent required.
SUST 3003 - Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet (ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01345
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Introduction to interdisciplinary Sustainability Studies minor. Scientific, cultural, ethical, and economic concepts that affect environmental sustainability and global economic justice. Key texts. Participatory classroom environment. prereq: Soph or jr or sr
WRIT 3371W - Technology, Self, and Society (TS, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Cultural history of American technology. Social values that technology represents in shifts from handicraft to mass production/consumption, in modern transportation, communication, bioengineering. Ethical issues in power, work, identity, our relation to nature.
GCC 3017 - World Food Problems: Agronomics, Economics and Hunger (GP)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00136
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
This course provides a multi-disciplinary look at problems (and some of the possible solutions) affecting food production, distribution and requirements for the seven plus billion inhabitants of this planet. It is co-taught by an agronomist (Porter) and an economist (Runge) who together have worked on international food production and policy issues for the past 40 years. Historical context, the present situation and future scenarios related to the human population and food production are examined. Presentations and discussions cover sometimes conflicting views from multiple perspectives on population growth, use of technology, as well as the ethical and cultural values of people in various parts of the world. The global challenge perspective is reflected in attention to issues of poverty, inequality, gender, the legacy of colonialism, and racial and ethnic prejudice. Emphasis is placed on the need for governments, international assistance agencies, international research and extension centers, as well as the private sector to assist in solving the complex problems associated with malnutrition, undernutrition, obesity and sustainable food production. Through a better understanding of world food problems, this course enables students to reflect on the shared sense of responsibility by nations, the international community and ourselves to build and maintain a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents. Throughout the semester students are exposed to issues related to world food problems through the lenses of two instructors from different disciplinary backgrounds. The core issues of malnutrition and food production are approached simultaneously from a production perspective as well as an economic and policy perspective throughout the semester. This is a Grand Challenge Curriculum course.