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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Sustainability of Food Production (PGGE11165)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummarySustainable Food Production is about exploring and then highlighting the potential solutions to the challenges that are being faced with regards to food production. These challenges include:
water and soil resource management, crop nutrition requirements;
biotic interactions;
genetic base of production;
the need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

This course explores the conflicts and trade-off among the objectives that are required of food systems. Using health and welfare as central concepts, the course will examine what is required for a healthy environment (including specific resources such as soil), human health and welfare, healthy crops and livestock and the extent to which attempting to maximise any one of these may (or not) lead to conflicts with others.
Course description Following an introductory session, the course covers a range of relevant topics and is taught by specialists.
Session 1 Overview of the course identifying key challenges for sustainable food production / Sustainable intensification
Session 2 Nutrient and Energy Use and Food Security
Session 3 Water, Food and Energy nexus
Session 4 Role of genetics in achieving the sustainable development goals
Session 5 Energy Use and Food Security and group presentations
Session 6 Animal health and welfare
Session 7 Orphan crops and Food security
Session 8 Animal genetic improvement and Food security
Session 9 Climate change: impacts and adaptation
Session 10 Class debate
Session 11 Policy brief presentations
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) There are 4 pieces of course assessment, namely;
A critical review of an academic journal article. The review is 1000 words and it should question the information and opinions in the article in an attempt to evaluate or judge its scientific worth overall. This accounts for 35% of the total marks.
A 10 minute group presentation will be given. It will focus on resource use in a specified continent. This will be assessed in class and the presentation. In addition, a 750 word reflective log would be submitted. This will be worth 20% of the total marks (40% allocated to the presentation and 60% to the reflective log)
A policy brief which will focus on one of the key topics covered in the lectures. The policy brief will be 750 words, and it should be understandable by the intelligent lay person. The article should signpost contemporary research findings that have policy relevance /general interest in the short, medium or longer term. This accounts for 35% of the total marks.
A 5 minute presentation will be given to the class on your chosen topic for the policy brief. You are asked to assume that a government minister(s) for food and the environment has read your article and asked you to present on the key messages.

Group presentation - Policy brief ¿ presentation during week 5 lecture.
Reflective log ¿ submitted by 12 noon on Monday of week 6
Critical Review ¿ submitted by 12 noon on Monday of week 7
Policy brief presentation ¿ presentation during week 11 lecture
Policy brief ¿ submitted by 12 noon on the Monday immediately after the end of term
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have an understanding of the global context of food security including its political, economic, social and environmental components.
  2. Identify the main trade-offs that might exist between food security and other desirable goals.
  3. Carry out independent research (either practical or desk-based) and produce reports of the research in a number of different formats (e.g. written, verbal).
  4. Be competent in constructing logically sound arguments and analysing scientific theories and data-generating methodologies (e.g. experiments, surveys).
Reading List
While specific texts will be referred to in each session, the following selected material should provide useful reference points. Note that this reading list website followed by reference which are in alphabetical order.

Albajes R, Cantero-Martínez C, Capell T et al. (2013) Building bridges: an integrated strategy for sustainable food production throughout the value chain. Molecular Breeding, 32, 743¿770.
Battarbee R, Anderson N, Bennion H, Simpson G (2012) Combining limnological and palaeolimnological data to disentangle the effects of nutrient pollution and climate change on lake ecosystems: problems and potential. Freshwater Biology, 57, 2091¿2106.
Blakeney M (2011) Patents and plant breeding: Implications for food security. Amsterdam Law Forum.
Boardman, Favis¿Mortlock (2014) The significance of drilling date and crop cover with reference to soil erosion by water, with implications for mitigating erosion on agricultural land in South East England. Soil Use and Management, 30, 40¿47.
Campbell B, Thornton P, Zougmoré R, Asten P, Lipper L (2014) Sustainable intensification: What is its role in climate smart agriculture? Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 8.
Crutzen P, Mosier A, Smith K, Winiwarter W (2008) N2O release from agro-biofuel production negates global warming reduction by replacing fossil fuels. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 8, 389¿395.
Erisman J, Grinsven H, Leip A, Mosier A, Bleeker A (2009) Nitrogen and biofuels; an overview of the current state of knowledge. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 86, 211¿223.
Franks J (2014) Sustainable intensification: A UK perspective. Food Policy, 47, 7180.
Garrick D (2013) The Colorado and Murray-¿Darling at a crossroads: Learning from the past, navigating trade-¿offs.
Gliessman SR Agroecology: The ecology of sustainable food systems (2007 or 2015) CRC Press.
Gronroos J, Seppala J, Voutilainen P, Seuri P, Koikkalainen K (2006) Energy use in conventional and organic milk and rye bread production in Finland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 117, 109118.
Ilodibia CV, Okeke NF, Achebe, Egboka TP, Chukwuma MU (2014) Plant Breeding for Food Security Sustainability and Industrial Growth. International Journal of Plant Breeding and Genetics, 8, 219¿223.
Jørgensen U, Dalgaard T, Kristensen E (2005) Biomass energy in organic farming¿the potential role of short rotation coppice. Biomass and Bioenergy, 28, 237248.
Kratli S, Huelsebusch C, Brooks S, Kaufmann B (2012) Pastoralism: A critical asset for food security under global climate change. Animal Frontiers, 3, 4250.
Lee N, Plant A Agricultural Water Use in the Colorado River Basin: Conservation and Efficiency Tools for a Water Friendly Future.
Nieuwenhoven A, Knap P, Avendano S (2012) The role of sustainable commercial pig and poultry breeding for food security. Animal Frontiers, 3, 5257.
Pickett J (2013) Food security: intensification of agriculture is essential, for which current tools must be defended and new sustainable technologies invented. Food and Energy Security, 2, 167¿173.
Pretty J (2008) Agricultural sustainability: concepts, principles and evidence. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363, 447¿465.
Rigby D, Cáceres D (1998) Organic farming and the sustainability of agricultural systems. Agricultural Systems, 68.
Smith J, Sones K, Grace D, MacMillan S, Tarawali S, Herrero M (2012) Beyond milk, meat, and eggs: Role of livestock in food and nutrition security. Animal Frontiers, 3, 613.
Tittonell P (2014) Ecological intensification of agriculture ¿ sustainable by nature. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 8.
Wheeler T, Reynolds C (2012) Predicting the risks from climate change to forage and crop production for animal feed. Animal Frontiers, 3, 3641.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsSustainability Food security Global Change Environment
Course organiserDr Kairsty Topp
Course secretaryMrs Elspeth Martin
Tel: 0131 535 4198
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