UMaine launches new degree in sustainable food systems

The University of Maine has launched a new Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Food Systems that will train students with a passion for sustainability to help solve complex socio-ecological problems pertaining to food production and access.   

The program will prepare students for careers in supply chain management, food production and processing, community development and support services, policy making and governance, regional planning and farm management, says Mona Therrien-Genest, associate director of the UMaine School of Food and Agriculture. This interdisciplinary program will provide students skills and knowledge in plant and soil sciences, food science and human nutrition, animal and veterinary sciences and social sciences. Students will also work with industry professionals in the major’s capstone service course.

A fact sheet about the academic program is online.

“As food systems continue to diversify, evolve, and grow, a greater need exists to understand and manage for holistic outcomes,” says Bruce Hall, director of agroecology at Wyman’s. “These outcomes must address the complexity and interconnected challenges faced by today’s food producers and processors. Through education, training, and hands-on experience in food production, innovation, processing, safety, management, policy and leadership, the sustainable food system major at UMaine will prepare graduates for careers impacting modern food systems companies.” 

With concentrations like climate change and food systems and justice, equity, and community, the bachelor’s degree at UMaine stands out among other programs offered across the country. It also offers concentrations in leadership and management; plant and animal production systems, and food processing and innovation. 

“College graduates who complete the B.S. in sustainable food systems through the University of Maine will gain important skills, enabling them to become leaders in this important movement,” says Caleb Goossen, organic crop specialist with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. “Here at MOFGA, we are excited to work with students on real-world projects that they complete as part of this exciting program.” 

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved the program in September.