2019 Schedule and Materials
Hello - Welcome. This page provides a roadmap (modules, topics for each class period). In addition you can access resources (reading materials, web pages) that are necessary for you to complete the pre-class quiz and the pre-class blog. Your post-class reflection will be posted on the "Post-class" blog pages. Note that for modules I to IV, the Tuesday classes will be conducted as a series of activities and discussions whereas the Thursday (R) classes will focus primarily on building skills needed to complete the class project including (but not limited to): team work, critical thinking, analytical evaluation and communication skills.
Please click here to download the period-by-period Lesson plans (To be posted here)
Important Note: To access the pre-class readings you have to log in first. Please click here to log in the restricted site area if necessary.
Module I: Setting the Stage
- 01 - Tu 01/22
- Synopsis: For the first day of class, our objectives are (a) to get to know each other, (b) to understand the overall structure and expectation for this class, and (c) to discuss the parts of food systems and where we will focus our attention this semester.
- Pre-class: Introduce yourself to your classmates (Please use the "Introduce Yourself" link above, or click here).
- Pre-class reading: Erisman et al. (2008) How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world.
- Optional reading: Tilman et al. (2002) Agricultural Sustainability and intensive production practices.
- 02 - Th 01/24
- Synopsis: What is "sustainability"? What is a "wicked problem"? Why is sustainability a wicked problem? In today's class we'll explore definitions and concepts using "discussion" as our main class activity. Because you are likely to be unfamiliar with "discussion" as a mode of teaching and learning, we will spend some time sharing with each other what we believe makes for a successful class discussion.
- Pre-class reading: Peterson (2013) Sustainability: A wicked problem.
Module II: Food / Environment / Health
- 03 - Tu 01/29
- Synopsis:Today we will analyze a wake-up call paper, which argues that current trends in food consumption is not sustainable from an environmental perspective and from an human health perspective.
- Pre-class reading: Tilman and Clark (2014) Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health.
- Optional reading: Eshel et al. (2014) Land, irrigation water, greenhouse gas, and reactive nitrogen burdens of meat, eggs, and dairy production in the United States.
- Class Activity: Diet-related emissions versus global emissions.
- 04 - Th 01/31
- Synopsis: We are going to focus on two skills today. The first on focuses on how to CRITICALLY read a (scientific) article or a book. The second one focuses on evaluating your (partial) carbon footprint.
- Pre-class reading : Please read the guidelines on how to read a book or an article and complete Pre-class blog 041.
- Pre-class assignment: What is your partial carbon footprint? Calculate your personal carbon footprint using two of the carbon footprint calculators listed below. Take notes about the data each calculator uses and the results you get, paying special attention to any differences between the two calculators. Write your reflections using the Pre-class blog 042.
- 05 - Tu 02/05
- Synopsis: We have discussed articles that draw direct lines between diet, environment and (human) health at a global scale. Today we are looking more specifically at the role of livestock in developing countries. Livestock in many developing countries play multiple roles. You may be surprised to learn some of the bases upon which small holders value their livestock.
- Pre-class reading: Herrero et al. (2012) Roles of Livestock in Developing Countries.
- Optional reading: Randolph et al. (2014) Role of Livestock in Human Nutrition.
- 06 - Th 02/07
- Synopsis: Our scientific methods have been developed primarily to advance our knowledge within a discipline. Even scientists tend to take for granted the methods used in their field of investigation. Yet, when you are at the edged of scientific discoveries, news methods are required to gain new knowledge. You have probably heard of the saying" "if you don't measure it you cannot manage it." For today's class we could adjust this saying as applied to food production systems and sustainability as follows: "If you can't measure it, you can't quantify it and therefore you can't manage it."
- Pre-class reading: Drinkwater et al. (2016) Systems Research for Agriculture. Please read Chapter 1: Introduction to Agricultural Systems and Agricultural Systems Research: A Paradigm Change (pp 5-23).
- Optional reading: Drinkwater article Chapter 2: Collaboration, Decision-Making and Organizational Structure for Agricultural Systems Research (pp 24-37).
- 07 - Tu 02/12
- Synopsis: The narrowing of diversity in crop species contributing to the world food supplies has been considered a potential threat to food security. In the last few decades, national food supplies worldwide became more similar in composition, correlated particularly with an increased supply of a number of globally important cereal and oil crops, and a decline of other cereal, oil, and starchy root species.
- Pre-class reading: Khoury et al. (2014) Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security.
- 08 - Th 02/14
- Synopsis: Today our goal is to learn from a librarian how to search library databases effectively. Please see Library Resource page, here.
- Pre-class reading: Review previous year's class projects and post some ideas / topics you might be interested in exploring for your class project.
Module III: Socio-Economic and Policy Aspects
- 09 - Tu 02/19
- Synopsis: Today we focus on factors affecting technology adoption and changes in management practices that may foster productivity and sustainability of small-scale dairy farming in the central highlands of Mexico. With Mexican colleagues we found that smallholders gravitated towards easy to implement technologies that have immediate benefits. Nonusers of high investment technologies found them unaffordable because of cost, insufficient farm size, and lack of knowledge or reliable electricity.
- Pre-class reading: Martinez-Garcia et al. (2014) Farm, household, and farmer characteristics associated with changes in management practices and technology adoption among dairy smallholders.
- 10 - Th 02/21
- Synopsis: In this second period delving in the social dimension of agricultural sustainability, we are focusing on US animal agriculture. This book chapter authored by professor Niles (U.C. Davis) will introduce us to Federal policies (Farm Bill), discuss environmental justice, payment for ecosystem services, and fair wages and fair trade among many of the increasingly important aspects of the social dimension of sustainability.
- Pre-class reading: Niles (2013) Achieving social sustainability of animal agriculture: Challenges and opportunities to reconcile multiple sustainability goals.
- Class Activity: Group 1: Intro and Definitions | Group 2: Farm Bill | Group 3: Box 13.1 + Changing Demographics | Group 4: Sci-Env Sustain. + Env. Justice | Group 5: Env. Health + Payment for Ecosystem Services | Group 6: Carbon offsets + Socio-Economic sustainability: Land loss + combating Land loss | Group 7: Fairy Wage, Fair Trade, Moving Forward, Conclusion
- 11 - Tu 02/26
- Synopsis: This paper describes and explains the relationship between farm size and job quality for hired farm workers. The authors draw on data from two independently case studies: organic fruit and vegetable production in California, and dairy farming in Wisconsin; each of which offers a different set of insights into the farm size-job quality relationship. In both cases, larger farms fared better than or no worse than their smaller-scale counterparts for most job quality metrics investigated, though many of the advantages of working on large farms accrue disproportionately to white, U.S.-born workers.
- Pre-class reading: Harrison and Gertz (2015) Farm size and job quality: mixed-methods studies of hired farm work in California and Wisconsin.
- Optional Video viewing Wisconsin nonprofit seeks to better connect U.S. farmers with their Mexican employees. This PBS News Hour segment of Feb 21, 2019 is also available on the Audio and Video Resource Page .
- 12 - Th 02/28
- Synopsis:More people need to be fed better, with less environmental impact. How might this be achieved? Depending on the view point, the problem can be conceptualized as a production challenge, in which case there is a need to change how food is produced by improving the unit efficiency of food production; a consumption challenge, which requires changes to the dietary drivers that determine food production; or a socio-economic challenge, which requires changes in how the food system is governed.
- Pre-class reading: Garnett (2013) Food sustainability: problems, perspectives and solutions.
- Optional reading: Garnett et al. (2013) Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture: Premises and Policies.
Module IV: Biological Aspects
- 13 - Tu 03/05
- Synopsis: This article presents a cradle-to-grave analysis of the United States fluid milk supply chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are accounted from fertilizer production through consumption and disposal of milk packaging. TotalGHGemissions, based primarily on 2007 to 2008 data, were 2.05 (90% confidence limits: 1.77e2.4) kg CO2e per kg milk consumed, which accounted for loss of 12% at retail and an additional 20% loss at consumption. A complementary analysis showed the entire dairy sector contributes approximately 1.9% of US GHGemissions.
- Pre-class reading: Thoma et al. (2012) Greenhouse gas emissions from milk production and consumption in the United States: A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment circa 2008.
- In-Class Activities:Eshel et al. (2012) | Human Edible Protein.pptx
- 14 - Th 03/07
- 15 - Tu 03/12
- Synopsis: In this study, White and Hall modeled the impacts of removing farmed animals from US. Agriculture. They concluded that plant-based agriculture only would produced 23% more food, agricultural greenhouse gases would be reduced by 28%, total US greenhouse gases from the US would be reduced by 2.6%, but would lead also to more deficiencies of essential nutrients (notably some essential fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin B12). The authors suggest that modification of agricultural systems should not be based on individual nutrient basis, but rather on the basis of dietary adequacy.
- Pre-class reading: White and Hall (2017) Nutritional and greenhouse gas impacts of removing animals from US agriculture (Please read up to the Conclusion section; no need to read the Methods section).
- Optional Pre-class reading: Davis and D'Odorico (2015) Livestock intensification and the influence of dietary change: A calorie-based assessment of competition for crop production.
- 16 - Th 03/14
- Synopsis: In this class your instructors will be modeling the presentation and discussion of the (instructional) team project. So we we go through out class today you are expected to exercise your metacognitive skills: We want you paid attention to the "lesson plan" (format of the presentation and discussion) and simultaneously focus on the content of the case study: the comparison on the carbon footprint of conventional and organic milk production systems.
- Pre-class reading: Wattiaux et al. (2018) Comparing the Carbon Footprint of Conventional vs. Organic Milk Production Systems.
T. 03/19 and R. 03/21: Spring break
Module V: Students Projects Part I
- 17 - Tu 03/26
- Synopsis: Preliminary presentations and discussions Teams A-B-C-D (see links in the left side module above)
- 18 - Th 03/28
- Synopsis: Preliminary presentations and discussions Teams E-F-G-H (see links in the left side module above)
Module VI: Country Specific Responses to the Challenges
- 19 - Tu 04/02
- Synopsis: For our first international guest (virtual guest, that is) Josephine Peigne will be joining us from France to talk about sustainability of wheat and bread in France and the European Union.
- Pre-class video to watch: Please download Josephine Peigne's slides so you can follow along her YouTube presentation that you will find on the video resource page. Make sure that you post a comment or question on the pre-class blog page.
- Class Activity: The first half of the class will be a discussion based on your pre-class blog entries. In the second half of the class we will use your classmates post-biog of your presentation to help guide your next step as a team.
- 20 - Th 04/04
- Synopsis: Professor Doris Pellerin from the University Laval, Quebec, Canada will be discussing of dairy systems sustainability research in the province of Canada (Canada's "dairyland").
- Pre-class video to watch: Please download Doris Pellerin's slides so you can follow along his YouTube presentation that you will find on the video resource page. Make sure that you post a comment or question on the pre-class blog page.
- 21 - Tu 04/09
- Synopsis:In today's class you will be working on your paper. Your instructors will be available to answer any questions on any aspects of your paper.
- 22 - Th 04/11
- Synopsis: In this class, Dr. Carlos Arriaga-Jordan from the Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico will be introducing us to the type of dairy farming of Mexico and then he will be leading us into a discussion of how small scale dairy production (smallholders) contribute to poverty alleviation in the highlands of Central Mexico.
- Pre-class video to watch: Please download Carlos Arriaga's slides on the Dairy Production Systems in Mexico and on Contribution of Smallholder Farming to Poverty Alleviation so you can follow his YouTube presentation that you you will find on the video resource page. Make sure that you post a comment or question on the pre-class blog page.
- 23 - Tu 04/16
- Synopsis: In this country-specific study, Carlos Gomez from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima (Peru) will be telling us about milk production in Peru and expected effects of climate change. He will also lead us into a discussion of an LCA of milk from Peru and low-income countries in general.
- Pre-class video to watch: Please download Carlos Gomez's slides so you can follow his YouTube presentation that you will find on the video resource page. Make sure that you post a comment or question on the pre-class blog page.
Module VII: Project Presentation: Part II
- 24 - Th 04/18
- Synopsis:In today's class you will be working on your webpage. Your instructors will be available to answer any questions on any aspects of your webpage.
- 25 - Tu 04/23
- Synopsis: Final presentations and discussions Teams A - B
- 26 - Th 04/25
- Synopsis: Final presentations and discusions Teams C - D
- 27 - Tu 05/30
- Synopsis: Final presentations and discussions Teams E - F
- 28 - Tu 05/02
- Synopsis: Final presentations and discussions Teams G | Activities aimed at reflecting on our learning journey during the semester