Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture

The UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture

The UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture is an eight month experiential learning program designed for aspiring farmers, urban gardeners, environmental educators, and students with an interest in applying their learning about sustainable agriculture and food systems. Students bring a diversity of backgrounds and life experience to the practicum. Our program graduates share a vision of livelihoods and lifestyles grounded in sustainable and community-based food systems.

Click here for the 2017 UBC Farm Practicum Overview.

Applications for the 2018 Practicum will open in late August or early September of 2017..

The practicum program is hosted at the UBC Farm, a living laboratory of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. The UBC Farm is the site of the majority of farming activities, guest speaker presentations, and classroom sessions. Practicum students also have the opportunity to travel to a number of local farm operations, produce distributors, and farmers’ markets to provide a regionally grounded food system context, and to make personal connections with experienced food growers.

The practicum is a hands-on educational program designed to provide a full growing season of food production experience to anyone with a strong interest in sustainable agriculture and food systems. The UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture curriculum is organized as a part-time, eight-month program balanced through the season with 70% seasonal field production and direct marketing activities and 30% classroom, farm field trips, faculty and guest speakers, student seminars and workshops. See the program overview here.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to visit the farm and meet UBC Farm staff prior to applying to the practicum. This gives applicants a better understanding of the hands-on nature of the program, along with a better sense of the UBC Farm community. Interested participants are invited to join in a volunteer session and participate in the vibrant learning community we foster.

Every year a Practicum Open House is hosted at the beginning of the fall season before the application deadline. This is a useful opportunity to meet like-minded folk who may or may not apply for next year's practicum cohort. Further details about the Open House can be found on our website as they become available and/or sign up for the UBC Farm E-newsletter for updates.

Applications for the 2018 Practicum will open in late August or early September of 2017.  If you are interested, or want to learn more, please keep us in mind, and check back with us around that time.  We will also be hosting an Open House at the UBC Farm in mid-September (currently scheduled for September 16th; specific timing TBD) to provide you with a forum to ask questions, meet current practicum students, and receive a tour of the site.  To stay informed of our latest updates regarding UBC Farm Programming (including the Practicum Program), please sign up for our weekly newsletter.  As our staff time is quite limited in the summer, we kindly request that you refrain from contacting us regarding specific questions about the Practicum program until we open applications for 2018.

The application period opens in late August until October of 2017 for the 2018 cohort. You can save your work and continue working on your application form in multiple phases.

To prepare in advance and see an example of the application form click here.

No prior experience in farming or gardening is necessary, but you will need to be strongly committed to exploring food production or food sustainability education as a central part of your future.

No. Although the UBC Farm hosts the majority of activities for the practicum program, acceptance to the UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture does not imply acceptance or enrolment in UBC. Practicum students do not pay UBC student fees, receive a student card, or UBC benefits. Enrolled UBC students are welcome to participate in the Practicum program provided the program schedule works with their academic commitments.  If you are interested in receiving academic credit for the practicum program, please indicate this on your application, and inquire for additional details.

2017 program fees for 2017 are $4,160 in total.

Accepted students will pay an initial $400 deposit by December and the remaining $3,760 fees approximately one month before the practicum begins in February.

Thanks to the generous support of Choices Markets, the UBC Farm Practicum will be able to provide financial support for seed purchases for all practicum students (to be used for their on-farm individual/shared plots), as well as a part-time employment opportunity for one incoming practicum student.

Participating in the UBC Farm Practicum program does not provide eligibility for student financial aid

Yes. Because of the high-cost of living in the Vancouver area, most UBC Farm Practicum students do hold part-time jobs or pursue seasonal employment while participating in the program. We have structured the program schedule to accommodate this reality. That said, to get the most out of the eight-month program, many students plan for financial support and limited outside work hours well in advance of the busiest and most physically demanding May-August portion of the schedule.

We meet from mid-March until the end of October. From March to early May, we meet only once per week on Saturdays for a 7 hour day. From May-August we meet four days/week – Wed & Thurs mornings and all day Fridays & Saturdays – for a total of 20 hours. In September and to the end of the program in October, we transition to meeting twice weekly for 14 hours.

To successfully complete the practicum, we require 90% attendance of scheduled program hours.

We have found that students benefit the most when they plan for an average of 5 hours/week in additional off-program time to establish, care for, and maintain their self-study individual and shared plot spaces.

We welcome applications from international applicants, but we do not have the resources to provide information or support regarding immigration, visa requirements, or housing. If you live outside Canada and have family here who can provide this support, or if you are already a currently enrolled UBC international student with up-to-date student visa credentials, you will find the process less complicated.

No. At this time, we do not have any possibility of on-farm housing. If you are considering this program and are not from the Vancouver area, we recommend checking online rental boards and shared housing options. See for resources.

If our webpage and the program overview did not fully answer your questions, please send an email to the Practicum Coordinator, Seth Friedman at

There are numerous individuals who support the UBC Farm Practicum program in myriad ways – and the Practicum program is appreciative of each of these contributions, both large and small.  Especially, however, the Practicum would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the following: West Coast Seeds, Choices Markets, Young Agrarians, Vancouver Urban Farming Society, Groundswell, Vancity, Dr. Art Bomke, and Anonymous.

If you or your company/organization would like to support the Practicum program, please contact us: