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Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Minor

https://safs.msu.edu/courses/css224-safs-field-course

CSS 224: Sustainable Farm & Food System Field Course

This is a 1-credit experiential field course, exploring interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing Michigan’s agricultural and food system operations that are working to achieve greater sustainability. The course emphasizes field visits, with a few campus class meetings to prepare for and process after field visits.

See what SAFS Field Visits have to offer!

This class can fill up, so enroll early! Contact the SAFS advisor for course or enrollment questions.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand multiple farm and food system elements, including agronomic, economic, social, labor, policy and scale factors that affect choices
  • Interact with farmers and food system professionals to better understand the opportunities and constraints of their businesses
  • Engage in discourse about agriculture and food systems, especially regarding sustainability factors and the resilience of the individual ans system actors
  • Recognize the strengths and shortcomings of different approaches to studying and analyzing agriculture and food systems

Course Design

We will have two full-day field trips and one half-day field trip.

Field trip dates for Fall 2018:

  • September 15th & September 22nd - full day field trips
  • October 13th - partial day field trip

Course meeting times:

We will leave in the morning from campus, and return by 6pm for full field trip days.

Please dress appropriately for Michigan’s unpredictable weather and the field venues of the day. You may want to bring additional money for products available at our sites.

We will also have required preparation times in-class before each field trip, as well as group project presentations after. The time for this meeting will be determined by student availability.

Meeting Times

Sa 9/15, 9/22 8:00AM - 6:00PM, 10/13 8:00AM - 3:00PM F 4:00 - 5:00PM

Materials and Fees

Reading Materials

Background on the farm and food system sites we visit and any additional materials will be posted on the D2L site.

Field Trip Fees

Trip fees will be announced to enrolled students via email in August. The fees are expect to be around $65 per student. Fees are due to the Field Trip office (see below) by Sept. 7th. You can contact the office at 355-3313 with any payment questions.

Field Trip Section of the Cashier’s Office
Hannah Administration Building
426 Auditorium Road Rm. 110

Accessibility

Please contact the SAFS advisor with any concerns you may have, and we will work to accommodate you to our greatest ability. Please understand that we will be visiting farms and facilities that may not fall under the ADA. While we may be limited in ability to modify accessibility at times during the field trips, we have and will continue to make as many opportunities available as possible.

Assignments

Field trips will include two full Saturday visits to eight farms in Michigan, a partial day visit to food system sites such as food distributors and processors, and retail site visits on your own.

Reflections after each field trip will be shared with the class via the D2L discussion board. Students are expected to post and respond to other students.

Course Meetings will be held to prepare, process, and discuss questions and insights gained during the field trips

Blog entries on a site visit will be assigned to the students based on interest. Your entry will include text and images, and you may also create other forms of content.

Rubric

Course Evaluation Criterion Points
Attendance, Participation and Professionalism in field visits
- Field Trip 1 - farm visits 100 points
- Field Trip 2 - farm visits 100 points
- Field Trip 3 - food system visists 100 points
- Field Trip 4 - retail visits (on your own) 100 points
Assignments
- Farm & Food System Questions (Prep - first meeting) 50 points
- Field Trip Reflections (4) 200 points
Course meetings & discussion (4) 200 points
Blog Entry 100 points
Total Possible Points 950 points
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