The program is designed for people who are independent learners and are working or hoping to work as professionals or volunteers in local food system development.

Seneca's online Sustainable Local Food certificate program explores the practices, principles and philosophies involved in local food system development and takes a systems approach to sustainable food and farming. Students will explore regional food initiatives taking place across Canada, as well as international best practices. The program encourages students to apply their theoretical learning to practical applications through online networking and research that is relevant to their own local community.

Food System Ecology

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program will have the necessary skills and knowledge to secure employment within the expanding local food industry, including opportunities in the following areas:

  • Farm organizations, both conventional and organic, including jobs as: farm and horticultural workers, small farm managers, greenhouse operators and seed company employees
  • Businesses, including food processors, distributors, retailers, restaurants and industry associations, including jobs as: farmer's market managers, produce sales, food service operators and purchasing agents
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on food issues, including jobs in: education centres, training programs, community gardens, food banks and shared kitchens, international economic development agencies
  • Government at all levels, including provincial agriculture, food ministries and natural resources ministries, international trade organizations, municipal public health and policy departments.

Entry Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, OR 19 years of age or older.

You do not need to apply to begin this program. Start by ensuring you meet the admission requirements listed above and then register for the courses listed on the Curriculum page when they are offered

Filter Classes: In Class     Online     Correspondence     Hybrid     Availability   

Due to COVID-19, all Part-time Studies courses are being offered online until further notice, in one of the following two formats: online virtual classroom and online self-directed. Click Availability below to see current offerings.


(6 Courses, all online)

Field to Fork Intro. Global/Local Food Systems

This course explores how we build sustainable local and global food systems. Students will explore food's circular journey from farm fields to food processing plants, to grocery stores, farmers' markets, restaurants, dinner tables and back via composters and landfills. Topics include biotechnology, organic farming, globalization, climate change, peak oil, water scarcity, food security, obesity, hunger, and the global food price crisis.

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Food Systems Trends and Policy in Canada

The production and consumption of food are at the core of many local and global issues. World hunger, malnutrition. genetically modified seeds, access to markets for new farmers and human nutrition are just a few of the issues that are prevalent in today's society. Policies have a major impact on all of the dimensions of these issues. Although policies have attempted to address various food issues, there is a broad consensus that food policy lacks effectiveness on several fronts.
This course will introduce you to the various elements, concepts and key issues in the field of Food Policy. It will help you understand the complexity of formulating and implementing policies as well as gain the practical skills to critically analyze food policies and programs. This will be accomplished by examining various Canadian and international food policies and programs.

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Understand. Sustainable Farming: Principl.& Pract.


SLF110 - Field to Fork: Introduction to Local and Global Food Systems

This course provides an overview of sustainable agriculture and how it is practised in Canada, by exploring the ecological, economic, and social justice principles of sustainable farming. Students will critically examine organic farming, food justice certification, and genetically engineered crops. Topics also include the tools and strategies that non-profit organizations, governments and businesses can draw on to embrace agricultural sustainability. Students are encouraged to choose readings and assignments that reflect their own interests.

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Between Farm/Table: Local Food Business/Co-ops

This online course explores the plethora of local food enterprises emerging across Canada. These enterprises include innovative models such as co-operatives, non-profit partnerships and social enterprise models. We will also look at how more conventional businesses, such as grocery store retailers, restaurants and processors, are incorporating local food options.
Throughout the course modules, you investigate the what, how and why of local food business and infrastructure. We will do this through multiple methods: exploring definitions and models; the historical and socio-economic context; and the mandate and business development of these enterprises within local food systems. Not only that, but you will complete creative and useful assignments on the development of food businesses in your area.
From field to factory to storage room to fork, this subject traces what is necessary to create a strong, vibrant, socially just (and profitable!) local food system.

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Food Security / Food Justice

Study the causes and consequences of urban and rural food insecurity across Canada. Examine short-term measures (foodbanks, meal programs, charitable services) and long-term food justice solutions (education, equitable incomes, affordability and accessibility of healthy food). Get practical experience doing research or field work for a food security organization in your region.

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Urban Agr./Com.Gardens/Food Secure Cities

This course examines the current practice of urban agriculture in Canada. How do community gardens, and farms contribute to community building and create food security? This course examines local laws and policies in your region.

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Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students are able to:

  • Define the foundations of a sustainable food system, both locally and globally, and related production technologies and systems.
  • Explore the challenges related to changing food systems on political, social, economic and ecological levels.
  • Discuss the impact of food policy, policy council models and food charters.
  • Assess causes and consequences of food insecurity in Canada and both short and long term solutions.
  • Explore various approaches to urban agriculture, their challenges and impacts.
  • Compare traditional and emerging food businesses and infrastructure.

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Earn college credits for what you already know!
Prior Learning Assessment is a method of assessing and recognizing learning that is equal to college level learning, but has been gained outside a traditional classroom (through work experience, volunteering, outside study, etc.). If you can prove that the knowledge you have gained meets the outcomes of a Seneca course, then credit will be awarded.

How does the PLA process work?
Prior Learning is demonstrated through a "challenge" process. The process measures learning through a variety of methods which may include tests, portfolio assessment, interviews, demonstrations, essays, and work samples. The method used will be determined in consultation with a Program Coordinator.
For more information and to determine if you are eligible for PLA, please call the Program Coordinator.

The process may take from 6 to 8 weeks.

Note: Not all courses can be challenged. For more information go to PLA website or contact your Program Coordinator.

Transfer Credit

Many students who enter Seneca College will have earned academic credits in post-secondary educational institutions which they may be able to apply toward completion of a Seneca College program.

Requests for Transfer Credit must be for a specific course and must be accompanied by an official transcript and course outline. A minimum grade of "C" (60 percent) is generally required for a course to be considered for Transfer Credit.

Download a Transfer Credit Request form. An official copy of your transcript and applicable detailed course outlines should be attached and submitted. Please note it may take 4 to 6 weeks for a Transfer Credit decision.

More Information

Please visit the Office of the Registrar.


When you meet all program requirements and become eligible for a certificate, diploma, or degree, you must inform the Registrar by completing a Graduation Application form and paying the graduation and alumni fee. Certificates, diplomas, and applied degrees are issued twice a year in the Fall (October) and Spring (June).

For further information including deadlines and fees, please visit the  Convocation website or contact the Convocation Office at 416-491-5050 ext. 77461.

Minimum Performance for Graduation

A student will be eligible to graduate from a certificate, diploma, advanced diploma or graduate certificate program if they have achieved a minimum graduating GPA of 2.0.

Residency Requirements

A Faculty of Seneca College may recommend a student for a certificate, diploma or degree only after the student has earned a minimum of twenty-five percent of the credit for that program at Seneca.

Program Contacts

Ramya Kottapalli
Program Assistant
416-491-5050 ext.22663

Tina Kotsiomitis
Academic Program Manager
416-491-5050 ext.22515

For more information about this program, fill out the following form.