2009-10 Catalog

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Program Description

Ecological Agriculture

Revised Last Updated: 02/12/2010

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Martha Rosemeyer agriculture, ecology, sustainable development, Mike Paros veterinary science, agriculture

Faculty Signature Required: Winter quarter. Spring Quarter.

Major areas of study include agriculture, plant and animal science, ecology and conservation biology.

Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.

Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, with signature. Interested students should contact Martha Rosemeyer or meet with faculty at the Academic Fair, December 2, 2009. Qualified students will be accepted on a space available basis.

Accepts Spring Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, with signature. Interested students should meet with faculty at the Academic Fair, March 3, 2010 or contact faculty via email. Qualified students will be accepted on a space available basis.

Prerequisites: College level coursework in biology, chemistry, ecology or agriculture is strongly recommended.

Ecological Agriculture provides a broad, interdisciplinary study of agriculture in the context of social and ecological sustainability. Students will learn how to assess and analyze agricultural systems from a critical ecological perspective. Students will study the ecological sustainability of different farming systems with respect to energy efficiency, nutrient cycling, soil health and biodiversity. They will also become familiar with conventional animal agriculture practices and ecological alternative methods. Fall quarter we will examine the history and present predicament of North American agriculture. Winter quarter we will consider alternatives and possible futures of agriculture, and we will attend the Eco-farm conference in California. Spring quarter we will offer a number of modules, such as grazing management and tropical cropping systems. Spring quarter seminar will focus on international sustainable development.

A major aspect of the program will be to address current agricultural and food system issues from an interdisciplinary, systems perspective. We will examine the food crisis and biofuels, certified organic and other ecolabels, and many other aspects of modern farm operations, as well as the environmental and human health effects of the current food system.

We will emphasize hands-on activities including field trips, labs and field experiments, as well as systems thinking, expository and scientific report writing, library research and quantitative reasoning skills. Field trips to small and large-scale crop and livestock farms will provide the necessary context for practical and theoretical learning. Labs and workshops will provide a hands-on introduction to plant and animal biology, soil science and soil ecology, and agroecology. Field experiments will focus on topics such as biodiversity and cover crop/green manures. Weekly book seminars and potlucks will focus on the social, ethical, economic, historical and political aspects of farming and food systems. This program is rigorous. Please come with a willingness to work.

Credits: 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 50

Internship Possibilities: Spring only with faculty approval.

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Special Expenses: Field trip expenses: fall - $155; winter (Eco-Farm conference) - $450, a deposit of $200 is due January 1; spring - $200.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in crop and livestock agriculture, restoration ecology, conservation and environmental management, food systems and international development.

Planning Units: Environmental Studies, Scientific Inquiry

Program Revisions

Date Revision
May 12th, 2009 Winter enrollment details added.
August 24th, 2009 Special Expenses/Fees have increased.
February 12th, 2010 Spring enrollment details added.