What are Sustainable Community
Food Systems?

A “sustainable community food system” is defined as one in which producers, retailers, community members, and governmental and non-governmental organizations partner to create a vibrant and resilient local food economy that enhances and sustains the environmental, economic, and social health of a community (SAREP 2019).


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.


$10,000 Scholarships Available to Study Food Systems & Sustainability at UHWO!

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded Dr. Albie Miles and the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu Sustainable Community Food Systems program a $1 million grant to support research and education efforts to advance a more sustainable food system for Hawaiʻi. Outstanding students enrolled in the UHWO SCFS program are eligible for scholarships up to $5,000.00/semester ($10,000.00/year) to support all educational expenses associated with their course of study in Sustainable Community Food Systems at UHWO. The scholarship funds are available for 2022 and 2023. Contact: albie@hawaii.edu for more information.

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.

Learning Outcomes/Core Competencies

Learning Outcome Name Description Upon graduating, the student will be able to…
I Systems thinking Analyze food systems using a trans-disciplinary approach guided by sustainability principles.
II Critical thinking Critically reflect on interactions between worldviews and power relations in food systems, recognizing one’s positionality and learning processes.
III Research methods Apply appropriate methodologies considering diverse ways of knowing.
IV Practical skills Demonstrate practical skills in the food system based on sustainability principles.
V Communication Communicate effectively in oral, written, and visual formats across multiple contexts.
VI Team skills Collaborate and demonstrate leadership skills and professionalism as inclusive member of diverse teams.
VII Design solutions Design, implement, and assess food system solutions across scales.
VIII Advocacy Advocate for equity and justice in food systems.