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ACE1041 : Agri-Food Supply Chains

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Simon Parker
  • Lecturer: Dr Catherine Douglas, Dr Jonathan Guy, Dr Andrew Beard, Dr Ankush Prashar, Dr Orla Collins, Professor Thomas Hill, Dr Paul Bilsborrow, Dr Simon Peacock, Professor Robert Edwards, Dr Sharron Kuznesof, Dr Kirsten Brandt, Dr Julia Cooper, Professor Guy Garrod, Dr Elisa Lopez-Capel, Mr Karl Christensen
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

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