2 Weeks / Credit Bearing

Agroecology (3 credit): FST 202

Sat. July 14 & Sun. July 15 mandatory move-in & orientation 

Class runs July 16 – July 27, 2018 

This is a regularized undergraduate course delivered through classroom-based instruction and homework.  The class may consist of both Summer College and undergraduate students.

Course Description:

This course explores the biological processes that undergird the food production system on which we all depend. Topics include soil fertility and quality, pest ecology, nutrient cycling and socioeconomic and policy aspects of agricultural production.

According to Miguel Altieri, “Agroecology is a scientific discipline that uses ecological theory to study, design, manage and evaluate agricultural systems that are productive but also resource conserving. Agroecological research considers interactions of all important biophysical, technical and socioeconomic components of farming systems and regards these systems as the fundamental units of study…”

This course presents an overview of research and applications in the field of agroecology. The course combines an international and domestic geographic focus. Emphasis is placed on gaining knowledge about the systems-based nature of agroecological systems including understanding the importance of soil health and quality for increasing yields and controlling insect and weed pests and plant pathogens. Policy and socioeconomic factors that can influence agroecological outcomes are also included.

By the end of this course students will:

  • Examine ecological theories with applications to agriculture and the sustainability of this critical economic sector.
  • Discern the relevance of the extant agroecological research and related applications for building a sustainable agricultural system.
  • Relate current issues in global agriculture to theories and applications covered in class.
  • Articulate the interrelationships of critical factors in agroecosystems such as soil quality, pest management, farm household members, hired labor and federal farm policy.
  • Theorize plausible sustainable agricultural systems at the farm, ecosystem, national and global levels.

Program Costs

Please visit our program costs page for more detailed information.

*Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

*Students must be 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date.

Required texts:

Gliessman, S. 2015. Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems. 3rd Edition. Taylor and Francis Group.

Instructor Bio:

Rick Welsh, Ph.D.
Falk Family Endowed Professor

Rick Welsh joined the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition as a Professor of Food Studies in August, 2012. Prior to taking this position he worked at Clarkson University as a Professor of Sociology. Previous positions have included Policy Analyst with the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture and the Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program for the Southern Region. He also serves as editor-in-chief for the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems published by Cambridge University Press. His research and teaching focus on social change and development with emphases on agri-food systems, science and technology studies and environmental sociology.

Ph.D. in Development Sociology from Cornell University
Master of Science in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida
Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the College of William and Mary

Food and Agricultural Policy; Technological Change in Agriculture; Organic Agriculture; Genetically Modified Organisms (Agricultural Biotechnology); Rural Development; Livestock Industry; Anaerobic Digesters; Wetland Preservation.