Agroecology (PLSC405 & 605) offered in the Fall semesters
Course Goal: To give students a basic understanding of the interactions between agriculture and the surrounding environmental matrix. Students will integrate concepts across agronomy, ecology, biogeochemistry, soil science, and hydrology. By the end of the class, students will be equipped to apply knowledge to the so-called wicked problem of how to feed 9 billion people while minimizing environmental harm.
How can we balance the multiple, and often competing objectives of sustainable agricultural intensification to promote both agricultural productivity and human wellbeing?
The answer to this question requires a transdisciplinary, agroecological perspective. Agroecology is the integrative study of the ecology of the entire food system, encompassing ecological, economic and social dimensions. This course is designed to introduce various topics in agroecology – organic agriculture, biodiversity, the Farm Bill. We will take an ecosystems approach to the study of agriculture that will enable students to analyze the environmental, social, and economic interconnections within various types of agricultural systems locally and globally.
link to syllabus
link to example schedule
Global Food Systems (PLSC303) offered in the Spring semesters
Course Goal: To give students a holistic understanding of the global food system. Students will integrate concepts across a variety of disciplines and be equipped to access, organize, and apply knowledge of (1) the core elements of food production systems, (2) human malnutrition, and (3) global food security and food policy.
How do we balance the often competing objectives of producing food, preserving the environment, and promoting human well-being?
This course begins with a tour of the types and distributions of crops across the globe, then we will focus on the core biophysical resources needed to produce that food – land, soil, nutrients, and water. We will discuss the human dimensions of the food system through an examination of nutrition and (shifting) diets. We will examine the role of big business in ensuring global and local food security. We will end the term with a series of discussions related to hot-button issues such as biotechnology, biofuels, organic agriculture, and food waste.
link to syllabus