SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS
The term “food system” is used frequently in discussions about nutrition, food, health, community economic development, and agriculture. A food system includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items. A food system operates within and is influenced by social, political, economic and environmental contexts. Sustainable food systems provide healthy, fresh, affordable food while preserving natural resources, making efficient use of nonrenewable resources, and supporting vibrant rural communities.
The Sustainable Food Systems program at Sheridan College ties together the disciplines of horticulture, natural resources, ag business, animal science, and food science and prepares students to become community leaders and entrepreneurs in sustainable agriculture and/or to transfer into a baccalaureate program at a college or university. Students graduating from this interdisciplinary program will be prepared to make responsible decisions in the production of food for their families, community, and the environment, and will become responsible, discerning consumers as they are aware of the quality and safety issues surrounding the global food industry.
Sheridan College is the first two-year institution in the region to offer an Associate of Science degree in Sustainable Food Systems and is also unique in its breadth of available student learning environments. Students in this program will balance their classroom learning with hands-on experience producing food in the greenhouse, poly-tunnel, and community garden as well as preparing and evaluating food products in Sheridan College’s Test Kitchen and Meats & Food Processing Lab.
Job prospects are excellent for students majoring in Sustainable Food Systems. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show faster than average growth expected as agricultural and food scientists work to limit the negative environmental impacts of industrial agriculture and increase the quantity and quality of food produced for a growing population. There are many rewarding employment opportunities for Sustainable Food Systems graduates in farm operations management, the corporate sector (food processing, distributing, retail, and industry associations), government (agriculture and food, trade, natural resources, environment, health, and policy) and non-governmental organizations working on food issues, economic and community development, media and communications, and education, as well as returning to the family farm or starting one’s own agricultural business.