ENVR E-129A. Local to Global Agroecology


  • Professor: Daniel Goldhamer
  • Term: Fall
  • Days: M
  • Time: 8:10-10:10PM, or on demand
  • School: Harvard Extension School
  • Course ID: 16158
  • Subject Area: Life Sciences

By 2050, feeding over nine billion people will require increasing world grain production beyond seventy percent according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). According to World Food Prize winner Professor Gebisa Ejita, this will require learning "to produce as much food in the next four decades as we have since the beginning of civilization." Prospects for a sustainable resolution provide the chief focus of this course, from local to international scales of land use. Class meetings and critical thinking assignments explore related questions (and quests). These include to what extent can we minimize agricultural expansion that further depletes wild lands and their associated biodiversity? How might increased food security and sovereignty be achieved without diminishing long-term crop viability and human, environmental, and economic wellbeing? The course includes field surveys of two local farms, grower interviews, in-class geographic information system (GIS) mapping workshop, predictive modeling, and case study creation. Transcending individual disciplines, this course also draws upon case studies at the confluences of biology, agronomy, hydrology, and sustainability science; international development; ecological economics; technology; and natural resource policy.

Note: This course meets via live web conference. Students must attend and participate at the scheduled meeting time. Along with the web-conference meetings, it includes an intensive—and mandatory—weekend residency. Students must be present for the entire weekend session to earn credit for the course. The course begins via web conference during the first week of the term, and continues to meet throughout the term. Please see the course website or syllabus for the specific two-hour course meeting dates. Tuition does not include hotel accommodations, transportation, or meals for the on-campus weekend session. See Visiting Campus and Finding Housing for information about visiting Cambridge. International Students see important visa information.

Prerequisites: Course work in biology and environmental studies. High school biology and chemistry.