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Sustainable Agriculture

Resources and tips for your research in Sustainable Agriculture

Beyond the formally-published scholarly literature, there is a wealth of agricultural information coming from various levels of government, NGOs, and non-profit organizations and associations. This kind of resource is known as "grey literature" and will provide credible, evidence-based information, often written for policy-makers, organizations, and in many cases, growers themselves. 

The library subscribes to the Canadian Public Documents Collection, with over 63,000 reports from Canadian governmental bodies and organizations. Use the link below to access the collection directly, or look for results in your Summon searches on the library's home page.

Extension literature is science-based information about a range of agricultural topics of interest to farmers and growers, most often produced by U.S. universities and governmental bodies charged with communicating this information to their user groups. Resources include reports from on-farm and participatory research, factsheets and best practices written for producers, as well as training materials and grant opportunities.  

The easiest way to access this body of literature is to include the word "extension" in your Google searches, and to limit your search to the .edu domain. 

Here is an example of a quick search for biochar on the extension sites. Click on the image to see the results of the search.

Non-profit organizations and professional associations can also be good sources of information and offer potential research topics. 

Use these sources for:

  • Regulations and standards
  • Governing bodies
  • Growers and producers' networks


Here are a few links to local BC organizations and government programmes that might be of interest. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

Try the Google Advanced Search page to structure your searches so that you get a better set of results. 

Limiting your searches:

  • with the file type limit, try looking just for documents in PDF, the most common file format for documents and reports that are formally published
  • with the site or domain limit, try restricting your searches to a website (i.e. or domain (i.e. .edu).
  • experiment with specifying where your search terms should appear in the results: anywhere in the page, in the title of the page, or in the URL of the page


Here's a quick video demonstrating some of the features of Advanced Google Search. Thanks to Manchester Metropolitan University.