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Spring/Summer Academic Term 2003 Course Guide

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Courses in RC Interdivisional

This page was created at 8:29 PM on Mon, Jul 14, 2003.

Spring Half-Term Courses

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RCIDIV 318(ENVRNSTD 311) / ENVIRON 318. Food, Land, and Society.

Section 101.

Instructor(s): Catherine E Badgley ( , Ivette Perfecto (

Prerequisites & Distribution: One year of college-level biology, environmental science or environmental studies; general ecology recommended. (6). (ID). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (6 in the half-term).

Course Homepage:

This course integrates the scientific, social, and historical dimensions of agriculture, particularly as they occur in southeastern Michigan. Students will interact with and learn from participants in local agriculture, especially farmers. Community service and community-based research on farms or with farm-related organizations are required parts of the course.

The farm crisis today is acute on a global scale. This crisis includes the loss of farms, farmers, farmland, and entire rural communities; farming practices that degrade environmental quality on farms and far beyond; and substantial inequities in the rewards of farming for those who do most farm work, compared to those who own or manage most farms. Virtually all dimensions of the farm crisis are present in southern Michigan.

The course addresses these problems by providing (1) an overview of their history up to the present through lectures and readings, (2) direct experience of the problems through field trips and collaborative projects with farmers and others whose livelihoods revolve around agriculture, and (3) guidelines for how the environmental and social aspects of modern agricultural practices can be improved.

The course emphasizes (1) principles of ecology as they apply to agricultural ecosystems and the effects of agricultural activities on native ecosystems, (2) an introduction to local agricultural ecosystems through visits to farms in southern Michigan, (3) the history of agricultural practices and the ecological, social, and economic consequences of modern industrial agriculture, (4) principles of sustainable agriculture, and (5) literature about farming and rural life. A significant component of teaching occurs through fieldwork, including demonstrations, exercises, and structured activities in native ecosystems and on local farms. Additional activities include work by the students on local farms and field trips to agrichemical industries, a migrant-labor camp, and an Amish farm.

Optional field trip to Cuba to tour farms and agricultural research stations, May 19-27.

Textbooks are S. Gliessman, Agroecology; and J. Pretty, Agri-Culture: Reconnecting People, Land and Nature, with additional readings on electronic reserve from a wide range of sources. Lab fee: $25 per student

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Instructor

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Graduate Course Listings for RCIDIV.


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