CAFS students in action

The Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Pathways minor embodies a commitment to developing and strengthening an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agriculture and food systems through building community capacity, using local resources, and serving local markets and citizens. It is designed to promote academic enhancement, personal growth, and civic engagement while strengthening students’ capacity to learn about civic agriculture and food systems through the practice of reflection and experiential learning to solve real-world problems. The CAFS minor provides students with knowledge and skills to identify, examine, apply, and integrate agriculture and food system sustainability philosophies and activities into personal and professional practice.

The curriculum is designed around the following core values:

  • Food security and sovereignty
  • Civic engagement and democratic participation
  • Strong local economies
  • Ecological stewardship
  • Healthy people and communities
  • Collaborative teaching and experiential learning

What makes this minor unique is its commitment to serving students from all degree programs at Virginia Tech. The CAFS minor uses interdisciplinary approaches to curriculum development and teaching and provides students experiential learning opportunities with diverse community partners.

CAFS students hang out at the Hale Y Community Gardens
CAFS minor students take a break at the Hale Y Community Gardens.

Collaborative Civic Agriculture and Food Systems minor faculty

  • Pete Ziegler, CALS Office of Academic Programs
  • Kim Niewolny, Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education
  • Hanna Scherer, Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education
  • Cindy Wood, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences
  • Ozzie Abaye, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
  • Megan O'Rourke, Department of Horticulture
  • Vivica Kraak, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
  • Jacob Barney, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
  • Jenny Schwanke, Community Partner Liason, Hale-Y Community Garden coordinator

CAFS Brochure

CAFS Guidebook



Pete Ziegler
Office of Academic Programs