University of British Columbia faculty of land and food systems

  • 5 min read

The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems is a world leader in integrated research, education and service to address critical global issues around human health and a sustainable food supply.

  • 1,700 undergraduate students enrolled in four programs that lead to a bachelor of science degree: food, nutrition and health; applied biology; global resource systems; and food and resource economics 
  • Offers seven research-based graduate programs (MSc, PhD), three professional master’s programs and a new one-semester graduate certificate program in aquaculture
  • 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities by academic subject ranked the faculty first in Canada in agricultural sciences, and third in food science and technology in Canada

Unique learning sites:

  • UBC Farm’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
  • Certified organic farm on Vancouver campus
  • Partners with community, Indigenous programs, industry, eight UBC Faculties, and local and international academics
  • Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz
  • World-leading research in animal welfare and animal reproduction
  • 500-animal herd
  • Dietetics students embedded in B.C. health organizations in the only dietetics program in B.C.: 300 instructors supervise students in hospitals, health and residential care centres, private practice and community and government organizations

Cara LeGault

Program: Applied Biology

Major: Sustainable Agriculture and Environment

Why did you choose this career path?

I believe a healthy, collective future relies on urbanized areas being reconnected with growing food.

Growing up in an urbanized part of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., I always wanted to be more connected to where my food came from. I certainly had never imagined a career for myself in agriculture, but the plant and soil biology degree here felt like something I was really interested in. I wasn’t focused on the career side at that point. In my first year, I found the deteriorating perception of local and global agriculture and food systems became increasingly apparent. That’s when I chose my major. I believe a healthy, collective future relies on urbanized areas being reconnected with growing food and that the ecosystems we rely on need more attention. I hope to play a role in advancing Canada’s agriculture and food systems to protect the environment and harmonize producer and consumer interests.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

I don’t see my future represented as one concrete place or success story. I never want to stop learning, growing and improving. There are so many career possibilities because everyone needs access to food, and we have a lot of work to do when it comes to protecting and restoring the land we grow it on. I can see myself working with regenerative agriculture in a setting that incorporates intergenerational education, agroecological research or influencing agricultural policy.

What tips do you have for others?

Leaning into uncomfortable or scary situations always leads to growth, even if you fail. I took a risk in moving across Canada to pursue a degree I was unsure about, with no real support system in place. I learned you are ultimately the one in control of how you show up for yourself and those around you. I feel I have something to learn from every chance and risk I take, and I’m thankful for all the opportunities to grow and improve. That’s my other piece of advice: make every opportunity an opportunity to learn something. Ask questions and ask for help. Everyone has something to teach and something to learn.

Franco López Campomanes

Program: Applied Biology

Major: Plant and Soil Sciences

Why did you choose this career path?

Agricultural research has a great opportunity to address major environmental and social issues in our current food system.

My grandfather was a farmer in Peru and he did a great job of transmitting his passion for agriculture to me, even though I grew up in the city. I’m passionate about teaching people what it really takes for us to have a dish on our tables. When I came to Canada, I noticed both countries had a problem with food waste. However, food waste here was not linked to a lack of resources or technology like it is in Peru, but rather to the massive waste that occurs at the household level. Immigrating to Canada solidified my desire to improve the connection between people and their food, using more sustainable agricultural practices. I believe agricultural research has a great opportunity to address major environmental and social issues in our current food system.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

I see myself using an interdisciplinary approach in urban farming research. Studying at UBC for the last four years taught me that agriculture is part of a vast food system that encompasses social, environmental and economic scopes. I see great potential in urban agriculture being a medium through which we can address, locally, major issues such as global warming, food waste and food insecurity. It’s crucial that people realize the intrinsic value of food. It can be the basis of our culture and identity.

What tips do you have for others?

Be curious and try different things! The food system is unbelievably interconnected, and agriculture is continuously evolving and needing more interdisciplinary collaboration. If you’re passionate about something, make sure you put your heart into it. I’ve learned that while it is important to show the skills and knowledge you have, it’s also important to remain humble and be willing to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or opportunities; you would be surprised how many doors open when you ask! And finally, always be grateful to those who helped you along the way – and when possible, do the same for others.

From an AgriSuccess article by Owen Roberts.