Field Course in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security in Guatemala

View an album of photos taken by the 2019 group!


AGRI 325 will now be offered in odd-numbered summers only. Next offering will be May 3-14, 2021.

"This course doesn't only provide you with a deep understanding of sustainable agriculture & food security, it also allows you to discover a country through a truly unique lens combining diversity in local cultures and landscapes." 

(Maxime Lakat, B.Com candidate)

Experience tropical cropping systems, from industrial export crops to subsistence agricultural systems, through interactions with local field professionals, farmers, community members and professors. Assess the impact of these systems on food security and the environment in Guatemala. Enjoy visits to Antigua Guatemala, ruins of an ancient Mayan city, and more!

This is a 3-credit intensive course, and you will travel and/or attend lectures/field visits on each day of the course. Knowledge of Spanish is an asset but is not mandatory, all discussions are translated.

Help will be provided to find a credited McGill internship placement, if you would like to stay in Guatemala after the course.

"Taking AGRI 325 in Guatemala opened up the doors of opportunity concerning the breadth that studying agriculture and related fields has to offer. After hearing stories from farmers about their struggles with international markets, I became fascinated with the applied economics of agriculture and switched my minor from economics to agricultural economics. Furthermore, after seeing the technical expertise of the cropping systems, I decided to add a second minor in ecological agriculture."

(Mary Bergen, Environment Major)

The course is developed and offered in collaboration with Universidad Rafael Landívar.

  1. Teaching Staff:
    • Dr. Julie Major, agr (Tropical Agriculture)
    • Prof. Sergio Burgos (Animal Science)

  2. Cost: $1,600 CAD in 2019; fee for 2021 will be published by December 2020.
    Includes all accommodation, meals, and ground transportation for all course-related activities, starting with hotel accommodation the night of May 1st and ending with hotel accommodation the night of May 13. Accommodations are in hotels (2-3 per room with bath), and meals are eaten at restaurants (mostly) or in communities in the field
    Cost DOES NOT include: airfare, tuition, immunizations, health insurance and personal expenses
  3. Funding:
    • McGill students may apply for a need-based bursary to help cover the program cost.
  4. To Apply:
    • Complete the application form online and email a cover letter explaining your interest electronically to bsc-advisor.agenvsc [at] (Dr. Julie Major).
    • Your cover letter should be no longer than 1 page, and explain your motivation to participate in the course, and your preparedness for intensive travel and living with a group for 2 weeks.
    For non-McGill students only: include a legible copy of your academic transcript, with your application documents.
  5. Application Deadline: January 25, 2021
    • A maximum of 24 participants will be chosen after the application deadline.
    • Once students are given an offer to participate, they will be asked to register for the course and a non-refundable 500$ deposit will be charged upon registration. The balance of the fee will be due in early February 2021.
    • You must be present in Guatemala City first thing in the morning on May 2nd, and the course will end in Guatemala City on the evening of the 13th. Travel time must be planned accordingly.
    • Due date for written course work in mid-June 2021

Information for IDS students: This course is an approved substitution for the IDS program and can only be counted (due to subject matter and relevance) as a Complimentary Stream course for students pursuing Stream I – Economic Development & Living Standards as well as Stream IV – Environment & Agricultural Resources. Students can also consider taking this as an elective if selected.

As Arts students, if you are considering taking this course, you should note that this course is considered outside Arts and of Science. There is a Faculty of Arts restriction on how many courses you are allowed to take outside of Arts and Science. Please see here.

bsc-advisor.agenvsc [at] (Dr. Julie Major)

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