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Ecological Food & Farming Systems Graduate Specialization

CSS 893: 301: Ecological Food and Farming Systems Field Course

This experiential class includes readings, course field trips, and discussion to support the understanding of Sustainable Agriculture and Food System concepts. Fall 2019 is a transition year for the graduate program; students this term will consider instructional design around field experiences and the understanding of core concepts.

Learning Objectives

  • generate discussion with farmers and food system professionals to better understand the opportunities and constraints of their businesses
  • interpret biological and socio-economic farm and food system elements, including agronomic, natural resource, labor, policy, market, and scale factors that affect management choices
  • appraise sustainability and resilience factors of agriculture and food systems
  • co-develop a course approach for future graduate participants

Course Design

We will have two full-day farm field trips, one partial-day food system field trip.

We will leave in the morning from campus, and return by 6pm for full field trip days.

Please dress appropriately for Michigan’s unpredictable weather and the field venues of the day. You may want to bring additional money for products available at our sites.

We will also have required meetings for discussion outside of the field trips.

Meeting Times

TENTATIVE 2020 SATURDAY field trip dates (subject to update before Aug 2019): Sept. 12 - 8:00AM - 6:00PM Sept. 19 - 8:00AM - 6:00PM Oct. 3 - 8:00AM - 3:00PM COURSE MEETING DATES: Fridays from 4-5PM, Sept. 4, 18, 25, and Oct. 9th & 16th

Materials and Fees

Reading Materials

Background on the farm and food system sites we visit and additional materials will be posted on the D2L site.


Please contact the Dr. Mathew Grieshop with any concerns you may have, and we will work to accommodate you to our greatest ability. Please understand that we will be visiting farms and facilities that may not fall under the ADA. While we may be limited in ability to modify accessibility at times during the field trips, we have and will continue to make as many opportunities available as possible.


Field trips will include two full Saturday visits to eight farms in Michigan, a partial day visit to food system sites such as food distributors and processors, and retail site visits on your own.

Course Meetings will be held to prepare, process, and discuss the field trips and consider the teaching and learning of sustainable food systems. We will have 4 required meetings for discussion outside of the field trips.

Co-developed Curriculum will be a final outcome for the course


Course Evaluation Criterion Points
Attendance, Participation and Professionalism in field visits
Course meetings & discussion
Total Possible Points 0 points