Studies & Degrees in Sustainable Agriculture

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Sustainable Agriculture Study Programs

Level: Undergraduate Bachelors     Location: Villanueva de la Cañada

Sustainable agriculture is a relatively new term, dating from the 1980’s. It relates to finding various methods and techniques of growing crops, while at the same time also protecting the environment. All this should of course still preserve profits and lead to successful communities of farms. Other sources, which are not readily available from nature – like soil nutrients, water or sunshine – but are artificially gained in a particular way - are not considered to be sustainable.

Some of the rules you would need to follow if you are involved with sustainable agriculture are the following: water should not be overused, and has to only be gained through rainfall, irrigation from creeks on site, or wells, while pumps should only be run on solar or wind power; no pesticides are employed, due to the effect they have on the environment; the same applies to fertilizers with chemicals, which should be replaced with cow manure and recycled crop. Furthermore, sustainable agriculturists master the skill to plant multiple crops with the purpose of improving the soil – monoculture is not considered to be sustainable, due to soil depletion or erosion. Finally, farm machines cannot rely on fossil fuels, as these are considered non-sustainable, too.

Personal Qualities

In order to undertake a degree or a course in Sustainable Agriculture, you need to feel a true inner drive to preserve the environment and explore various methods of growing crops that support this vision. Some personal qualities include:

  • Creativity and enthusiasm
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Good communication skills to pass your ideas to others working on the same project
  • Ability to handle responsibility and make decisions
  • A love of nature
  • Ability to spend long hours outside in all weather conditions

Study Options

Degrees in Sustainable Agriculture are offered both at the undergraduate and postgraduate level of study. Although these are still considered to be quite innovative, it is worth following such an option if you are genuinely interested in the subject – it will enable you to pursue a career niche, which is unusual and possibly very promising.

Usually, studies in such a degree will cover a great area of subjects, like history, anthropology, natural sciences, philosophy, business, economics, and even art. You would also most likely be involved in some exciting research opportunities in the field of sustainable agriculture; an example are methods of thermal root-zone heating, which means that the soil is warmed at the roots, using innovative techniques.

Career Options

The most common career option for you would be to manage a farm, employing the sustainable agricultural methods you have learned during your degree course. This is why it is vital that you choose a program, giving you some hands-on experience as well as theoretical and business knowledge. To go into this field, you would be likely to need the support of family or co-workers, who you will need to organize and manage.

Other options are to work in agriculture extension, or work with community food-based non-profits. Work closely with your instructors and career advisors at your college, who should provide relevant support for such a degree program!