SRJC Course Outlines

12/3/2021 4:46:23 AMSUSAG 50 Course Outline as of Summer 2017

Changed Course
CATALOG INFORMATION

Discipline and Nbr:  SUSAG 50Title:  INTRO SUSTAIN AGRI  
Full Title:  Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture
Last Reviewed:1/28/2019

UnitsCourse Hours per Week Nbr of WeeksCourse Hours Total
Maximum3.00Lecture Scheduled3.0017.5 max.Lecture Scheduled52.50
Minimum3.00Lab Scheduled010 min.Lab Scheduled0
 Contact DHR0 Contact DHR0
 Contact Total3.00 Contact Total52.50
 
 Non-contact DHR0 Non-contact DHR Total0

 Total Out of Class Hours:  105.00Total Student Learning Hours: 157.50 

Title 5 Category:  AA Degree Applicable
Grading:  Grade or P/NP
Repeatability:  00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP
Also Listed As: 
Formerly:  SUSAG 100

Catalog Description:
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Designed to provide an introductory overview of the issue of sustainability in agroecosystems, this course introduces the concepts and principles of agroecology as applied to the design and management of sustainable agricultural systems. Includes an examination of case studies to connect sustainable agriculture principles to actual farming practices.  Course includes field trips to local farming systems and guest speakers.

Prerequisites/Corequisites:


Recommended Preparation:
Eligibility for ENGL 100 or ESL 100

Limits on Enrollment:

Schedule of Classes Information
Description: Untitled document
Designed to provide an introductory overview of the issue of sustainability in agroecosystems, this course introduces the concepts and principles of agroecology as applied to the design and management of sustainable agricultural systems. Includes an examination of case studies to connect sustainable agriculture principles to actual farming practices.  Course includes field trips to local farming systems and guest speakers.
(Grade or P/NP)

Prerequisites:
Recommended:Eligibility for ENGL 100 or ESL 100
Limits on Enrollment:
Transfer Credit:CSU;
Repeatability:00 - Two Repeats if Grade was D, F, NC, or NP

ARTICULATION, MAJOR, and CERTIFICATION INFORMATION

Associate Degree:Effective:Fall 2005
Inactive: 
 Area:C
Natural Sciences
 
CSU GE:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 B1Physical ScienceFall 2019
 
IGETC:Transfer Area Effective:Inactive:
 
CSU Transfer:TransferableEffective:Fall 2005Inactive:
 
UC Transfer:Effective:Inactive:
 
C-ID:

Certificate/Major Applicable: Both Certificate and Major Applicable



COURSE CONTENT

Outcomes and Objectives:
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
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Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:
1. Relate the methods of scientific investigation to agricultural productivity.
2. Define the nature of scientific inquiry.
3. Describe the values, themes, methods, and history of sustainable agriculture regionally and worldwide.
4. Define sustainable agriculture.
5. Describe the characteristics of a natural ecosystem.
6. Compare and contrast the properties of natural ecosystems, sustainable agroecosystems, and conventional agroecosystems.
7. Evaluate the role of soil fertility in an ecological production system.
8. Discuss the principles and strategies of sustainable agriculture.
9. Optimize the use of water to promote an ecological use of resources.
10. Summarize the ecological roles of plants and their functional relationships to an agroecosystem.
11. Assess an agroecosystem for its level of sustainability based on indicators of a sustainable system.
12. Prescribe ways of converting to a sustainable system through the redesign of a conventional agroecosystem.
13. Identify career opportunities and objectives in sustainable agriculture.

Topics and Scope
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I. Introduction to Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture
 A. What is sustainable agriculture?
 B. Terms related to sustainability
 C. Common themes of sustainable agriculture
 D. The three "E's of sustainability
    1. Economic viability
    2. Environmental health
    3. Equity (social)
II. Concepts of Agroecology and Sustainability
 A. Agroecology as a science
    1. The nature of scientific inquiry
    2. Application of the scientific method to problem solving
    3. Ecological imperative for sustainable agriculture
    4. Global impacts of sustainable agriculture
 B. Ecosystem characteristics
     1. Natural ecosystems
     2. Sustainable agroecosytems
     3. Conventional agroecosystems
 C. Ecological Principles
     1. Niche
     2. Succession
     3. Biological diversity
     4. Applications of niche theory to agriculture
 D. Steps in the ecological design process
     1. Observation
     2. Visioning
     3. Planning
     4. Development
     5. Implementation
 E. Natural patterns in the garden
III. History of Sustainable Agriculture
 A. Worldwide
 B. United States
    1. 1980 - 1990
    2. 1990- present
 C. Regionally
 D. Advent of modern agriculture
 E. Modern agriculture in crisis
 F.Sustainability issues within conventional agriculture
 G. Barriers to Developing Agricultural Sustainability
   1. Ecological
   2. Social
   3. Economic
IV. Key components of Sustainable Agriculture
 A. Soil fertility and nutrient cycling
 B. Enhancing and maintaining biological diversity
 C. Integrated pest management (IPM)
 D. Input reduction
 E. Water management
 F. Conservation of natural resources
 G. Ecosystem (agroecosystem) management
 H. Benefits of a sustainable agroecosystem
     1. Genetic diversity
     2. Productivity
     3. Resilience
     4. Low reliance on external input
V. Achieving Sustainability
 A. Learning from existing agroecological systems
   1. Biological agriculture
   2. Nature farming
   3. Organic agriculture
   4. Biodynamic agriculture
   5. Permaculture
B. Comparing existing agroecological systems
C. Converting to sustainable practices
VI. Specific Strategies
 A.  Protecting and enhancing soil microbiology and productivity
 B. Water management
   1. Use of water in agriculture
       a. Principles of irrigation
       b. Optimizing use of the water resource
   2. Water conserving techniques
      a. High organic matter content
      b. Deep mulching
      c. Water-conserving plants
      d. Dense planting
      e. Soil contouring
      i. swales
      ii. contours
         f. Water catchment
      i. Harvest and storage of rainwater
      ii. Using greywater
 C. Enhancing and maintaining biological diversity
   1. Uses of plants
     a. Multipurpose plants
     b. Ecological roles of plants
    2. Annuals and perennials
      a. Perennial vegetables
      b. Herbs
      c. Greens
   3. Roots and tubers
   4. Microclimates
   5. Plant communities
      a. Interplanting /intercropping
      b. Polyculture
      c. Plant guilds
      b. Habitat strips and hedgerows
 D. Incorporating principles of (IPM)
   1. Attracting beneficial insects
      a. Predatory insects
      b. Parasitic insects
      c. Pollinators
      d. Weed feeders
   2. Attracting birds
      a. Food
      b. Water
      c. Shelter
      d. Protection
      e. Habitat diversity
   3. Use of other animals
      a. Chickens
      b. Ducks
      c. Rabbits
      d. Other livestock species
 E. Input reduction (efficient use of inputs)
   1. Maximize reliance on natural, renewable and on-farm inputs
   2. Not simple input substitution
   3. Assess situations where the use of synthetic chemicals would be
      more "sustainable"
   4. Goal: develop efficient, biological systems which do not need high
      levels of material inputs
 F. Conservation of natural resources
   1. Wildlife habitat
   2. Energy
   3. Air
 G. Integrating and managing livestock within agroecosystems
  1. Animal Husbandry
   a.  Variety selection and animal reproduction
   b.  Select appropriate stock for farm or ranch resources
   c.  Grazing and range management
   d. For herd health and productivity
   e.  For environmental quality
   f.  For biodiversity conservation
   g.  Integrating crop and livestock production
   h. National Organic Program (NOP) standards
VII. Case Studies
 A. National perspective
 B. Local case studies
VIII. Career Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture
XVI. Current issues with sustainability.

Assignments:
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Representative assignments may include and may not be limited to:
1. Specific reading and study assignments from texts, handouts, and
internet sites (15-30 pages per week).
2. Applications of scientific method that may include:
 a. analyze agricultural productivity in conventional vs. sustainable
    systems and write a 2-3 page report on findings
 b. evaluate and compare conventional vs. organic system field trials (based on field trips to conventional and organic farming systems)
3. Conduct interviews with farmers for case studies.
4. Based on case study, prepare a written evaluation of a local farm's level of sustainability,
using the indicators of a sustainable system (3-5 pages).
5. Present case study evaluation to class (10-12 minutes).
6. Prepare annotated bibliography of classic readings of Sustainable Agriculture and Agroecology.
7. Quizzes, midterm, final exam.

Methods of Evaluation/Basis of Grade.
Writing: Assessment tools that demonstrate writing skill and/or require students to select, organize and explain ideas in writing.Writing
20 - 30%
Case study report, annotated bibliography, analytical report
Problem solving: Assessment tools, other than exams, that demonstrate competence in computational or non-computational problem solving skills.Problem Solving
20 - 30%
Case study evaluation, cropping systems analysis
Skill Demonstrations: All skill-based and physical demonstrations used for assessment purposes including skill performance exams.Skill Demonstrations
0 - 0%
None
Exams: All forms of formal testing, other than skill performance exams.Exams
30 - 40%
Multiple choice, True/false, Completion, short essay
Other: Includes any assessment tools that do not logically fit into the above categories.Other Category
10 - 20%
Case study presentations, class participation


Representative Textbooks and Materials:
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Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Agriculture, an Earthscan Readers Series. Obe, Jules Pretty. 2005. Routledge
Ecological Principles in Agriculture. Powers, Laura E. and McSorely,
Robert. Delmar, 2000 (classic)
Agroecology: Ecological Processes in Sustainable Agriculture. Gliessman,
Stephen R. Sleeping Bear Press, 1998.(classic)
web based materials and various short readings/essays

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