Study Abroad and Exchanges

Modules

Modules

ACE1041 : Investigating Agri-food Systems from Farm to Folk

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The Module is common to all Stage 1 students in programmes within the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. The Module develops students understanding of the complex links and relationships between the different parts of some key agri-food systems. Students will work across degree programmes to develop a broad understanding of the issues emerging across agri-food systems and also in programme specific workshops to develop an understanding of how discipline-specific issues emerge from this broad context.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introductory sessions consider the importance to humans of plants, animals, land and their products and discuss the role of consumers in the agri-food system and the complex relationship between people and the food they eat. These sessions are supported by a half day visit (in groups of 40-45 students) to the farm at Cockle Park to see interactions between land, plants, animals and people in practice.

The main part of the Module explores the issues associated with 5 agri-food systems from farm to folk. The chains covered may vary from year to year but could include the following:
1) Vegetables - field and protected cropping, handled and marketed as fresh produce.
2) Wheat (bread and biscuits)- farm mechanisation, assurance schemes, grain storage, global commodity
3) Dairy (milk, milk products and beef) - processing chains, small and large scale processors, quality transmission through the chain, disease risks (HACCP, pasteurisation, TB)
4) Meat (pigs) - animal welfare, intensive vs extensive production systems, assessing environmental impacts, preservation and processing, organ transplant
5) Sugar - UK vs sub-tropical production systems, food miles, bioenergy

For each chain, the teaching will be delivered in an integrated programme of 4 lectures which cover issues arising through the chain from production to consumption with more discipline-specific materials developed in an associated workshop (programme specific).
5 field trips will be arranged on different dates linked to each chain(1 coach per trip) and students must attend at least one - subject to space available, students can attend more than 1 trip. Each trip will cover at least 2 steps in the agri-food chain under investigation.

At the end of the Module the challenges and opportunities facing the agri-food chain will be discussed by students together with a panel of recent graduates now working in the agri-food and rural sectors.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion111:3011:30Revision of materials for 5 f-f systems and unseen examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00Introductory sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture14:004:00Concluding sessions including workshop with graduates
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion113:0013:00Research for and preparation of final technical report on key issues for one agri-food system
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Formative - Individual study proposal of an agri- system
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Personal data gathering and analysis (written exercise 1)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture54:0020:00Teaching blocks broken into 1 and 2 hour sessions for shared teaching for each f-f system
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading115:0015:00Student-led research and reading associated with the f-f chain they have selected for further study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading510:0050:00Student-led research and reading associated with each f-f chain, including prep for discipline wkshp
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:307:30Discipline specific workshops (1-2 hours) associated with each f-f chain
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:005:00Assessment briefing (feed-forward) and feedback sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00Field visits (5 arranged in total for Module) - students must attend at least one
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork15:005:001/2 day visit including travel time to Cockle Park Farm
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study144:0044:00Student-led research on issues drawing from general press and information beyond the course material
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Introductory sessions consider the importance to humans of plants, animals, land and their products and discuss the role of consumers in the agri-food system and the complex relationship between people and the food they eat. These sessions are supported by a half day visit (in groups of 40-45 students) to the farm at Cockle Park to see interactions between land, plants, animals and people in practice. In these sessions the key overarching knowledge outcomes 2 and 3 are the focus to give the context for the Module.

The main part of the Module explores the issues associated with 5 agri-food systems from farm to folk thus covering the knowledge outcomes 1 and 4. In this way the module presents the different systems used to produce animals and plants in agricultural systems, the main process technologies used to deliver plant and animal products and the importance of marketing and retail. The materials covered also give an introduction to health and nutrition as well as considering the role of consumers.
For each chain, the teaching will be delivered in an integrated programme of 4 lectures which cover issues arising through the chain from production to consumption with more discipline-specific materials developed in an associated workshop (programme specific).
5 field trips will cover at least 2 steps in the agri-food chain under investigation (1 coach per trip) and students must attend at least one - subject to space available, students can attend more than 1 trip.

Specific assessment preparation sessions will focus on the skills of problem definition, literature-based research and critical analysis providing additional training so that students are well equipped to tackle the assignments - Learning outcomes 5, 6, 7, 8.

At the end of the Module the challenges and opportunities facing the agri-food chain will be discussed by students together with a panel of recent graduates now working in the agri-food and rural sectors.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A30Short answer questions on common materials studied on f-f systems
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M20Personal data gathering exercise
Report2M50Technical report (2000 wds) on an agri-food chain describing the system as a whole and providing analysis of at least 2 key issues
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Research proposal2MIndividual proposal of agri-system to be investigated (400 words) including outline maps of the system and its stakeholders
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Engagement with the Module will be encouraged by a individual written exercise (20%) which requires students to carry out a week's personal observations of their personal interactions with plants, animals, land and their products (a "farm to folk" diary) and provide two short pieces of commentary on the implications of the choices. A template will be provided to facilitate the observation and recording and analysis of the student's data and reflections. Students will also provide a brief report of the farm visit to Cockle Park. This assessment will show achievement (in part) of learning outcomes 2 and 3.

The materials studied in common for 5 farm to folk chains will be examined in a unseen exam paper completed at the end of Semester 2 - this will provide assessment of learning outcome 1.

In Semester 2 students will be required to identify one agri-food system not studied as part of the main teaching of the module for their own individual research.

A formative research proposal will allow students to receive early feedback on their problem definition steps and the proposed approaches to literature-based research (learning outcomes 6 and 7). A template will be provided to guide students in the reporting of the systems and its stakeholders as outline maps and to direct the proposal to identify the importance, key sources of information and proposed issues for detailed research.

The final technical report (50%) will provide introductory sections describing the selected agri-food system as a whole and the physical, financial and policy contexts within which it operates (learning outcome 4). The report will then provide detailed analysis of at least 2 key issues / problems associated with that system (learning outcome 5, underpinned by learning outcomes 6 and 7). The selection of key issues for investigation is likely to reflect the student's disciplinary focus. The work will be structured according to guidance provided and will be expected to meet the presentational requirements of a report within the agri-food industries (learning outcome 8).

Reading Lists

Timetable