University of Hawaiʻi — West Oʻahu
Photo collage of farming, gardening and organic foods.

Sustainable Community Food Systems


UH West Oʻahu’s Bachelor of Applied Science with a concentration in Sustainable Community Food Systems (BAS-SCFS) prepares students for jobs in the sustainable food and agriculture sector in Hawai‘i and beyond. The BAS-SCFS is a multi-disciplinary, experiential and applied education program about key ecological and social issues in food and agricultural systems. It incorporates problem-based and hands-on learning to develop food system professionals capable of solving real-world problems and transitioning Hawai‘i agriculture toward greater ecological sustainability and social equity. BAS-SCFS courses are offered in person at the UHWO campus.

Find out current information and the latest happenings within Sustainable Community Food Systems in the UH West O‘ahu online newsletter E Kamakani Hou.

BAS-SCFS Guiding Principles

  • Interdisciplinary breadth: Integrating natural science and social science theory and skills;
  • Systems thinking: Understanding relationships among diverse components of farming and food systems, social institutions, and the environment;
  • Skill development: Gaining practical skills, including agricultural production, communication, research, analysis, problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership;
  • Experiential learning: Engaging in wide range of hands-on experiences in agricultural and food systems through laboratory exercises, field trips, internships, practicum courses and applied research opportunities;
  • Linking course content to the real world: Engaging problem-based learning opportunities, bringing practitioners into the classroom, sending students into the field, and discussing and analyzing these experiences in depth;
  • Community building: Being part of community that includes students, faculty, internship sponsors and practitioners, enhances learning and reflects the reality of professional life after college;
  • Honors the host culture of Hawai‘i: Designed to develop youth leadership in West O‘ahu, the BAS-SCFS program aims to integrate the study of traditional knowledge systems, indigenous natural resource management and values with Western empirical sciences and ethics.


UH West Oʻahu’s Bachelor of Applied Science with a concentration in Sustainable Community Food Systems (BAS-SCFS) prepares students for a variety of careers including natural resource management, agriculture and food policy, K-12 education, sustainable inputs and value-added food businesses, social enterprise, non-profit organization management, social work and certified organic agriculture production and research.

A job in sustainability encompasses the concept of stewardship—the responsible management of resources. Sustainability professionals seek to improve an organization's environmental, social, and economic impact. Some have specific titles such as sustainability manager and director of corporate responsibility. Sustainability professionals in other roles may have experience as industrial managers, logistics (transportation, storage, and distribution) managers, environmental scientists, civil engineers, or recycling coordinators.

Future careers in sustainability management include:

  • Farmer, rancher and other agricultural managers: $69,300
  • Agriculture and food scientist: $58,610
  • Kindergarten through elementary school teacher: $53,090
  • High school teacher: $55,050
  • Soil and plant scientists: $58,940
  • Environmental scientists and specialists, including health: $62,920
  • Conservation scientists: $59,930
  • Social and community service managers: $59,970
  • Food service managers: $47,960
  • Environmental engineers: $79,050

These annual salary ranges for related fields of work are according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


SCFS 300 Survey of Sustainable Community Food Systems of Hawaiʻi
This course provides a multi-disciplinary analysis of the food and farming systems of Hawai’i. Drawing extensively from selected texts and the experiences of food systems professionals, the course examines the historical forces shaping the food and agricultural systems of Hawaiʻi, evaluates key examples of sustainable community food and agriculture initiatives in Honolulu county and the State, and identifies the key social, economic and political obstacles to the scaling of a more ecologically sustainable and socially equitable food and agriculture system for Hawaiʻi.

SCFS 310 Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture
This course provides an analysis of farming systems from an ecological perspective. Topics include: the history and development of agriculture; ecological and social impacts of modern agriculture; the academic field of agro-ecology; the agro-ecosystem concept; key biophysical processes in agricultural ecosystems; principles and practices of ecologically based soil fertility and pest management; the role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning in agriculture; ecological indicators of agro-ecosystem sustainability; comparative analyses of the environmental performance of conventional and ecologically based agro-ecosystems; and socio-economic interactions with biophysical factors.

SCFS 320 Theory and Practice of Sustainable Agriculture
Explore the theory and practice of sustainable agriculture. Learn the fundamentals of horticulture science and the application of ecological principles to the design and management of small-scale horticultural systems for the tropics. Hands-on laboratory activities in the UHWO Student Organic Garden will focus on the development of practical horticultural skills, including: soil cultivation; compost production and use; irrigation; sexual and asexual propagation; and soil fertility and pest management practices.

SCFS/POLS 335 Politics of Food
In this course, students learn about the process of food production, how government and corporate involvement have changed the way society eats and how food has shaped global history. This class serves as a space to question assumptions about issues surrounding production and consumption, the links between agribusiness and the food people place on their tables.

SCFS 485 Cross-Cultural Environmental Ethics
Cross-Cultural Environmental Ethics is designed to engage students in the study of Comparative Environmental Ethics, surveying the diversity of moral and ethical traditions human cultures have developed in relationship to the non-human world. Students will analyze and deliberate upon the relevance and applicability of a range of ethical traditions to contemporary ethical issues in order to help make ethically determined judgments. The ethics of food choices and the nature of agricultural production features prominently in the course.

Advising Sheets


The UH West Oʻahu Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Community Food Systems was developed in partnership with the Waiʻanae Coast’s MAʻO Organic Farms and Kamehameha Schools’ ʻĀina-Based Education Division. Funding from Kamehameha Schools was used for academic program development, to conduct a food system assessment of Oahu, and in support of the UHWO Organic Campus Garden where students take part in hands-on learning directly tied to SCFS coursework. Bi-weekly weekend “work parties” are held in the UHWO Student Organic Garden where students, faculty and staff come together to prepare soil, build compost, plant fruit trees, install irrigation, sow seed, weed and harvest.


Dr. Albie Miles, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems
(808) 689-2376