SFS 1001: Introduction to Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies is a critical, interdisciplinary, problem-solving major that seeks to cultivate students capable of analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information from multiple sources so that they can render reasoned decisions and take appropriate, effective action. This course is designed to introduce you to the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Studies. To that end, I will endeavor to acquaint you with a variety of environmental issues, and the way various disciplines address that issue. This course will introduce the areas you will study further in the Environmental Studies majors through a case study method. This course will also help you develop an understanding of contemporary bioregional theory and apply this understanding to your new bioregion.
SFS 1075: Farming Skills Intensive
Many components of an integrated farm system draw on a specialized skill set and body of knowledge and are best learned in an intensive setting that combines theory and practice. This course will immerse students in a particular aspect of sustainable farming. Students will work with agricultural faculty and agricultural practitioners, generally in the field or at the practitioner’s operation, to explore and apply the theory and knowledge regarding the topic at hand in a workshop format. Potential topics include greenhouse management, plant propagation, winter farming, draft animal driving and training, and draft animal utilization. (Note: Topics with sufficient depth and demand will be presented in a two course series, e.g. season extension design and season extension crop management.)
SFS 1211: Introduction to Cerridwen Farm
Students in this course will be responsible for one morning chore shift a week at Cerridwen farm (~2 hrs/week). This will include helping with vegetable management in season (cultivating, harvesting, processing) as well as animal management and care—feeding, cleaning, and moving animals, gathering eggs, milking the cow, etc. In addition, all farm hands will meet for one hour a week with the farm manager to discuss and learn about various aspects of managing Cerridwen Farm.
SFS 2002: Food Preservation
Throughout most of human history, domestic-scale food preservation has been of vital significance. Today, as an alternative to industrially processed products, small-scale food preservation can play an integral role in sustaining locally based food systems. This course gives students the opportunity to investigate the history, theory, and practice of such traditional means of food preservation as lactic fermentation, pickling, drying, salting, and root cellar storage of seasonal products, such as fish, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Students will learn the fundamentals of preservation processes through hands-on in-class and field-based activities and experiences, and, in particular, work in collaboration with Green Mountain College’s Cerridwen Farm in doing group projects demonstrating principles of food preservation with portions of the fall season’s harvest. The course will survey the history and diversity of food preservation practices and technologies that have evolved in response to the problems of place (tropical vs. temperate), and scale (home use vs. market commodity). It will explore different processes, ranging from ancient techniques to more modern methods, for preserving a diversity of local products and investigate how they were preserved in different types of traditional food systems (hunting-gathering, pastoral, and farming).
SFS 2060: Biodiversity Issues in Agriculture: Seeds & Trees
This course will take a comparative approach to understanding the role of biodiversity in agriculture using cultural, biological, and geographic perspectives. It will cover the emergence and diffusion of crop diversity in different traditional agricultural systems, and trace the erosion of this heritage with the rise of scientific breeding and industrial agriculture. We will also investigate a range of contemporary agrobiodiversity issues: ex situ vs. in situ conservation, participatory breeding, global policy, the threat of GM (genetically modified) crops, and the relationship between biological and cultural diversity.
SFS 2061: Biodiversity Issues in Agriculture--Livestock
A diverse array of livestock breeds are disappearing across the globe at alarming rates. The landscapes, management practices, and cultural traditions associated with these livestock are also threatened. The remaining predominate breeds suffer from perilous genetic erosion. This course will examine the conservation strategies and issues surrounding rare breeds of livestock in the U.S. and abroad.
SFS 2067: Animal Husbandry
Appropriate animal husbandry is a critical economic, ecological, and ethical element of farming. This course will provide an overview of basic physiological processes and needs of common livestock species, with an emphasis on management techniques that can help maximize livestock health and minimize veterinary investments and interventions.
SFS 2070: Sustainable Regional Food Systems
In this interdisciplinary course students will be challenged to conceptualize and present evidence found in our region of a sustainable regional food system, while also researching and describing alternative modes of production, distribution, and consumption that can enhance the viability of the current system. Students’ direct participation in GMC’s Cerridwen Farm will enable them to experience the challenges and realities of consuming foods they produce, process, and prepare from field to fork. This course will also investigate other field sites of our regional food system, exploring the social context and cultural values (including nutrition models) motivating consumption of locally produced and processed food products. Our evaluation and analysis of these factors will be informed by critical readings of current literature addressing sustainable food systems issues from the theoretical and practical perspectives.
SFS 2073: Appropriate Technologies in Agriculture
Students will be expected to work 5 hours on the farm plus taking a share in daily chores (max. 2 hours a week). In addition, they will spend 6 to 9 hours a week in curricular activities as outlined below. The course will feature experiential learning and independent study and research in addition to an average of 4 contact hours each week, equivalent to a standard 15-week term’s contact hours.
SFS 3040: Composting & Organic Waste Management
This course on organic waste management will focus on aerobic composting, vermiculture, and anaerobic digestion. It addresses the history of organic waste management in the US, both on farms and in municipalities. This comprehensive introduction to farm and non-farm based organic feedstock management will address several key topics in this growing industry: the increasingly important role of organics diversion, management systems at different scales, Best Management Practices, the role of composing in current and future farm systems, soil health benefits, associated environmental remediation projects, and the evolving regulatory approaches to organic waste management practices.
Prerequisites: None, but previous coursework in sustainable agriculture, natural resources management, and/or environmental policy is strongly recommended.
SFS 3054: Sustainable Farming Systems
“Sustainable agriculture” tends to progress from scientific/ecological theories to a set of guiding principles to on-farm applications to evaluations of economic viability. These sets of guiding principles generally evolve into systematic approaches to agriculture and how some farmers in our region have utilized these systems in farm design and practice. Systems studied will include holistic farm management, grass-based farming, Amish systems, agroforestry, and permaculture. Students will spend extensive time on an assigned farm and will design an agriculturally-based campus land use model.
SFS 3055: Advanced Organic Agriculture
The economically-successful and ecologically-sustainable management of agroecosystems requires knowledge from multiple disciplines including botany, soil ecology, plant ecology, entomology, marketing, and small business management. Students will delve into all of these fields as they survey the theory and practice of cutting-edge organic vegetable production and marketing techniques including soil management, plant propagation, pest management, season extension, and direct marketing. Particular emphasis will be placed on planning, observation, and record-keeping with a constant eye on economic efficiency. Prerequisites: ENV 1011 Fundamentals of Organic Agriculture, or permission of instructor.
SFS 3057: Advanced Topics in Sustainable Agriculture
This course will teach the application of systems theory and systems thinking to the challenge of understanding and designing farm systems. Students will learn how to develop conceptual and analytical models of various components of a farm system including crops and other plants, insects, soil nutrients, energy, marketing strategies, and various farm technologies. Such models will be integrated in the development of a systems model for Cerridwen farm.
SFS/HIS 3058: A History of Agriculture: Civilizations, Technology & the Environment
Understanding how previous agricultural methods and technologies have impacted humans and the environment is critical to determining the best methods and technologies for contemporary agriculture—approaches that can best feed human populations while ameliorating the environment. Beginning with an overview of the evolution of agriculture, the course will then focus on the historical development of agriculture in the U.S., with an emphasis on soils, technologies, and on-farm practices.
SFS 3075: Agroecology in the Alps
Agroecology is the application of ecological theory to farms as ecosystems. It is also an approach to the sustainable management of farm systems that has arisen out of the perspective of crop and livestock systems as ecosystems. This course will review the theoretical and practical underpinnings of agroecology and teach the fundamentals of an agroecological approach to farming. In particular, it will teach students how to collect and analyze ecological data within the context of a working farm and use this information to develop more sustainable practices.
SFS 4090: Internship
Under the direction of an advisor, a student may arrange a period of practical experience that will make substantive use of the knowledge and skills acquired in the Environmental Studies major. Evaluative reports will be expected from both student and off-campus supervisor. Internship proposals will be evaluated by the Environmental Studies Committee, and the internship itself will be monitored and evaluated by the advisor. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing.