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Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems Minor

Help ensure food and nutrition security for all

The Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems (SAFS) minor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the role of agricultural and food systems in meeting human food needs and the impacts of these systems on the natural environment.

Working closely with an advisor, students will choose a series of courses from several disciplines that together offer a broad perspective on issues related to delivering an adequate, safe, nutritious, accessible, and sustainable food supply for an expanding global population. The quantity and quality of agricultural products in domestic and global markets are major determinants of human health and wellbeing.  Agriculture and food processing and distribution are also major contributors to climate change and environmental pollution.  This minor will help students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for ensuring food and nutrition security for all. 


  • To build awareness of issues and challenges related to sustainable agricultural/food systems
  • To provide a comprehensive introduction to the agricultural sciences (animal science, plant sciences, and food science)
  • To introduce key concepts in the field of environmental science

Learning outcomes

Students who complete the requirements for this minor will be able to:

  • Engage with faculty members, peers, and the general public in discussions related to sustainable agriculture.
  • Describe the impact of agricultural production on the environment, including on climate change.  FDSC 1500; PLSCS 1900; ANSC 1101; ANSC 2120; PLSCS 1101; PLSCS 3210; PLSCS 3800; ANSC 2000; ANSC 4120; ANSC/FDSC/AEM/CHEME 4880
  • Identify and describe points along the food value chain where food loss and waste occur and propose strategies for reducing food loss and waste.  FDSC 2000; FDSC 4230
  • Propose and defend policies and actions that will reduce and/or mitigate environmental damage caused by agriculture and food processing.  ANSC/FDSC/AEM/CHEME 4880
  • Critically evaluate news articles and posts to social media platforms that report on issues related to sustainable agriculture.  FDSC 1500; ANSC 1101; ANSC 2000; ANSC/FDSC/AEM/CHEME 4880

*courses that address each outcome are listed in italics

Course & Credit Requirements

A minimum of 15 credits are required with at least 2 courses at the 3000-level or higher and at least 1 course in each of the 3 areas (animal science, plant sciences, and food science). Students must complete at least 10 letter-graded credits with a  C- or higher. Courses that fulfill requirements for a student’s major cannot be used to meet requirements for this minor. See the table below for required and elective courses. Other courses may qualify pending approval of the student’s minor advisor. 

Choose 1 course

  • ANSC 2120: Animal Nutrition, 4 cr, Fall
  • FDSC 1500: Food Choices and Issues, 2 cr, Spring
  • PLSCS 1900: Sustainable Agriculture: Food, Farming, and the Future, 3 cr, Fall
  • NTRES 1101: Understanding Environment and Sustainability, 3 cr, Fall

Choose 3 courses

  • ANSC 1101: Contemporary Perspectives in Animal Science, 1 cr, Spring
  • PLSCI 1101: Plant Science and Systems 4 cr, Fall
  • PLSCI 1300: Just Food: Exploring the Modern Food System, 4 cr, Fall
  • ANSC 2000: Sustainable Food & Companion Animal Systems and Perspectives, 3 cr. Spring.
  • FDSC 2000: Introduction to Physiochemical and Biological Aspects of Foods, 3 cr, Fall
  • VIEN 2204: Principles and Practices of Growing Grapes and Making Wines, 3 cr, Fall
  • PLSCS 2600: Soil Science. 4 cr, Fall
  • PLSCS 3210: Soil and Crop Management for Sustainability, 3 cr, Fall
  • BEE 3299: Sustainable Development, 3 cr, Spring
  • ANSC 3600:  Beef Cattle, 3 cr, Spring
  • ANSC 3300: Fish Physiology, 3 cr, Spring
  • PLSCS 3800: Principles and Practices in Certified Organic Agriculture, 3 cr, Spring
  • FDSC 3960: Food Safety Assurance, 2 cr, Spring
  • ANSC 4120: Whole Farm Nutrient Management, 4 cr, Spring
  • FDSC 4230: Food Processing A: Unit Operations and Food Packaging, 2 cr, Fall
  • BIOEE 4690: Food, Agriculture, and Society, 3 cr, Spring
  • PLSCS 4140: Global Cropping Systems and Sustainable Development, 3 cr, Fall
  • AEM 3385: Social Entrepreneurship Practicum: Anabel’s Grocery, 3 cr, Fall, Spring
  • ANSC/FDSC/AEM/CHEME 4880 The Global Food, Energy, & Water Nexus, 3 cr, Fall

Faculty Advisors

Xingen Lei
Xingen Lei


Animal Science

Associate Dean

Office of Research and Innovation

Xingen Lei
profile picture of tom overton
Thomas Overton

Department Chair, Professor

Animal Science

Program Director


Thomas Overton
profile photo of kristan reed
Kristan Reed

Assistant Professor

Animal Science

Kristan Reed
  • kfr3 [at]
Eugene Won
Eugene Won

Senior Research Associate

Animal Science

Academic Coordinator

Shoals Marine Laboratory

Faculty Fellow, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

Eugene Won
Dennis Miller

Professor Emeritus

Food Science

Dennis Miller
man in blue striped collar shirt with glasses
John Brady


Food Science

John Brady
Johannes Lehmann
Johannes Lehmann

Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Soil and Crop Sciences Section


Department of Global Development

Johannes Lehmann
Soil biogeochemistry, fertility management, organic matter, and carbon and nutrient cycling from wastes
Soil carbon sequestration and biochar systems
Sustainable agriculture in the tropics

Minor Coordinator

Lindsay Glasner
Lindsay Glasner

Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Animal Science

Lindsay Glasner

Enrollment in the SAFS minor

The SAFS minor was approved by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Curriculum Committee on April 2, 2021 and by the Cornell University Provost on May 21, 2021.   


Date Updated

This version of the description was updated on May 28, 2021. Course information was updated November 30, 2022.