University of Vermont

The Ecological Agriculture Major

Offered by: CALS Plant and Soil Science Department


Become an advocate for environmentally friendly food production.  Learn how to produce food in a sustainable and ecologically sound manner.  Gain a solid foundation in ecology and practical experience through our student run Community Supported Agriculture cooperative, internships and field trips.  Nationally there is a growing need for professionals who can understand and apply ecological principles to agriculture.

The Ecological Agriculture Program integrates course work in ecology, plant science, soil science, entomology, economics, and policy with an experiential learning internship to create educated professionals.

A Look at Our Program

The Ecological Agriculture major focuses on applying ecological concepts to the field environment. Students in this major are interested in growing horticultural or agronomic crops or diversified agriculture systems. Ecology is the uniting thread that integrates the course-work and ties the curriculum together. Faculty in Plant and Soil Science will help you develop an excellent individualized program of study based on your agricultural interests and career goals.

What Will I Study?

The Ecological Agriculture major offers a strong background in science. It includes economic, policy, and ethics course-work, and an internship that allows students to gain hands-on experience. All students who enroll in the program must complete the basic core requirements for a bachelor of science degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In addition you will be required to complete courses within the program in such areas as botany, ecology, plant and soil science, economics and policy. This course-work supports your internship experience.

Exciting Field Experience

The Plant and Soil Science faculty work very closely with farmers and growers in Vermont and the Northeast, and state and federal agencies. The disciplines represented in this department include vegetables, fruit, forages for animals, soil science, compost science, pest management, and ornamental plants. All of these areas are important in diverse agriculture systems and for students who want to study them. Your internship experience will allow you to put your knowledge to work, earn credit and develop skills to improve your employment opportunities. Students have worked on farms, for community compost projects, and in greenhouses during the summer gaining valuable experience.

Students also have opportunities to work with College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty doing research in campus laboratories, in the field on farms, at UVM's 97-acre Horticultural Research Center, or in our state-of-the-art greenhouse. For example, students run a community supported Agriculture cooperative.

Looking to the Future

Pursue a career in production of specialty crops, organic farming, soil conservation, environmental science and management, precision agriculture technology, phytoremediation, plant inspection, food biosecurity or science policy.

Core Courses Advanced Level Courses
  • Introduction to Ecological Agriculture
  • Principles of Plant Science
  • Entomology and  Pest Management
  • Plant Pathology
  • Commercial Plant Propagation
  • Fundamentals of Soil Science
  • Ecology, Ecosystems and the Environment
  • Principles of Agriculture and Resource and Community Development Economics
  • Agricultural Policy and Ethics
  • Ecological Agriculture Internship
  • Ecological Farm Management
  • Vegetable Crop Production
  • Weed and Crop Ecology
  • Greenhouse Operations and Management
  • Forage Crop Management
  • Pasture Production and Management
  • Garden Flowers and IndoorPlants
  • Woody Landscape Plants
  • Composting Ecology and Management
  • Permaculture
  • Soil Ecology
  • Ecological Agriculture Senior Seminar

Faculty and Area of Expertise
John Aleong Design and analysis of experiments
Ph.D. Iowa State University
Lorraine Berkett Integrated pest management in apple production, plant pathology
Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University
Sidney Bosworth Agronomy, forage and grain crop management and production for animal agriculture
Ph.D. University of Kentucky
Scott Costa Entomology, biological control using insect, killing fungi
Ph.D. North Carolina State University
Alexsandra Drizo Constructed wetland for pollution control
Ph.D. University of Edinburgh
Wendy Sue Harper Soil science, composting process and sustainable agriculture
Ph.D. University of Vermont
John Hayden
M.S. Michigan State University
Frederick Magdoff Soil science, soil fertility, soil chemical and physical problems associated with waste disposal and bioremediation
Ph.D. Cornell University
Deborah A. Neher Soil ecology
Ph.D. University of California-Davis
Bruce Parker Entomology, insect pest management, fungal pathogens for integrated pest management of greenhouse and forest pests
Ph.D. Cornell University
Leonard Perry Horticulture, production of perennials, hardiness of plant species, perennial cut flower production
Ph.D. Cornell University
Donald Ross Soil science, chemistry of soils in terrestrial ecosystems, soil and compost testing
Ph.D. University of Vermont
Margaret Skinner Entomology, insect pest management in greenhouse and forest environments, biological control using fungi
Ph.D. University of Vermont
Mark Starrett Horticulture, propagation and production of woody ornamental plants
Ph.D. North Carolina State University
Milton Tignor Horticulture, vegetable production, compost utilization, curriculum development, greenhouse operations and management
Ph.D. University of Florida
Jon Turmel Vermont State entomologist
M.S. University of New Hampshire

Last modified September 10 2007 04:11 PM

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