ACE8101 : Food Security: Sustainable Food Production

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The overall aim is to encourage students to gain knowledge and develop understanding that enables them to critically evaluate (a) challenges and problems related to the future sustainability of food production systems and supply chains, (b) the core concepts of sustainability science and their application in the context of development planning in a dynamic biophysical, economic and socio-cultural environment, and (c) solutions proposed to improve future food security.
This will include knowledge/understanding of issues related to (1) global changes in population, land use and climate and (2) resource availability and use efficiency in food production.
The module will also contribute to preparing students for their relevant dissertation project to be undertaken throughout the year.

Outline Of Syllabus

Concepts and debates in food security and sustainable agriculture
Sustainable intensification; definitions and concepts; yield gap and its components
Water constraint – resource availability & use efficiency; sustainability indicators
Land constraint and sustainable soil resource use
Phosphorus, potassium & other mineral fertilisers – resource availability & use efficiency
Crop improvement and the impacts on food security; importance of genetic diversity for robustness of the system; conventional and GMO techniques
Livestock production systems; impact on agricultural sustainability & food security
Urban agriculture; impact on agricultural sustainability & food security
Assessing sustainability of food systems; targets and indicators; ecological footprinting, food miles as a proxy indicator of sustainability
Sustainable diets for the future

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Learning log - Reflection on learning in module.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion121:0021:00Report preparation. Strategies to achieve sustainable intensification.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture92:0018:00Lectures on core module material by teaching staff and visiting speakers
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Guidance session on assessments: review of module content.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching92:0018:00Interactive discussion sessions and presentations building on material presented in lectures.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study122:0022:00Lecture follow-up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study15:005:00Student research and reading in preparation for country specific food security presentation.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures deliver the underlying knowledge needed by students to understand the main global sustainability and food security problems/issues.
Report writing on key topics in food security provides the student with the opportunity to conduct independent study and reflect and critically evaluate the information from the lectures, as well as information obtained by through own research.
Seminar preparation and participation will require group activity for preparation but will be assessed through individual learning logs.
The interactive learning environment Blackboard will be used to encourage discussion among the students and with the lecturer. Blackboard will also be used to provide links to supplementary material that will enhance the students’ understanding of the course material.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M40Learning log; critical reflection on key topics covered in lectures and seminars (max. 1000 words)
Report2M60Assessed report on selected topic relating to sustainable intensification strategies (max. 6 pages; equivalent 1500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

As the module investigates major problems/issues of complex (agricultural sustainability and food security) system, the assessed reports are appropriate ways of assessing the students’ integration of knowledge and understanding acquired over the programme of lectures and independent study. They are designed to assist, enhance and promote the learning experience and develop key skills in analysing complex multi disciplinary issues relating to food security. They will also allow the assessment process to contribute to skills development with respect to dissemination/knowledge transfer.

Reading Lists