This pod will use an agroecological lens to introduce students to the foundations of ecology, agriculture, and food systems.
Enrollment Requirements and Options:
Students are strongly encouraged though not required to co-enroll in these courses.
This pod includes the following courses:
Foundations of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems 3 cr
Using readings from prominent thinkers, innovators, and scholars in sustainable and alternative agriculture and food systems, as well as through films, field trips and on-farm projects, we will explore the major ideas and practices that have driven the development of agricultural philosophies and practices aligned with long-term ecological health and community resilience. Following a model that alternates deep, subject-specific explorations of primary and secondary literature in sustainable food systems with practical on-farm projects, this class provides students the intellectual and embodied foundation necessary for engaging meaningfully in alternative agricultural systems at Sterling College and beyond. Surveying the history and evolution of major problems in agriculture through time and space, we will direct our attention to alternative models that are more compatible with the ethics of land stewardship and a renewed agrarianism for the twenty-first century. We will develop a working knowledge of sustainable agriculture and food systems, while also exploring the environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural dimensions of these systems.
Foundations of Ecology 4 cr
This course is an introductory survey of concepts in ecology with emphasis on ecosystem processes, community dynamics and biodiversity. Topics include ecosystem energetics, nutrient cycling, global weather and climate, biomes and natural communities, diversity of life, and ecological relationships. We begin with a broad survey of ecological concepts at play in all ecosystems and apply these to specific terrestrial biomes. We conclude with an investigation into the factors affecting local and global patterns of biodiversity.