FSE-21806 Introduction to Organic Production Systems

Course

Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Lecture20
Field practical28
Group work5
Excursion (one day)28
Course coordinator(s)MAJ Hofmeijer
ir. C van Veluw
Lecturer(s)dr. DF van Apeldoorn
MAJ Hofmeijer
MJ Zwetsloot
ir. C van Veluw
Examiner(s)ir. C van Veluw

Language of instruction:

EN

Continuation courses:

FSE-31806 Agroecology; FSE-30306 Analysis and Design of Organic Framing Systems; FSE-50306 Ecological Design and Permaculture; SOQ-33306 Integrated Nat. Res. Mgt. in Organic Agriculture; RSO-34806 Social Transformations towards Sustainable Food Systems.

Contents:

This course focuses on Organic Production Systems . First the different approaches to plants, animals and soils in organic farming are presented and experienced, after that different farming systems such as Conventional Farming, Organic Farming, Biodynamic Farming, Nature Inclusive Agriculture, Agroforestry and Permaculture are explained and experienced by lectures and excursions and farmer's experiences.
The level of working in this course is the farm level.
The course is especially focusing on the integration and cooperation of different farm elements such as annual and perennial arable crops, livestock species and trees in a specific soil in a certain landscape in the Dutch environment. However examples from all over the world will be used to show the ways of integration and cooperation.
The integration will be studied in lectures and excursions, experienced in practicals and group work and at the end of the course improved/redesigned by an assignment in a real farm life situation.
The course has therefore three main blocks:
Part A. Week 1-4: Gaining and experiencing knowledge on the different elements of an Ecological Farming System (soils-crops-trees-livestock) and the integration of these elements. This parts ends with a content exam.
Part B. Week 5: Comparing two farming systems: Analysis and Assessment of a real organic and conventional farming system on a self-chosen parameter of sustainability
Part C. Week 6: Proposing strategies/methods/techniques to improve the ecological functioning of a farming system by making smart use of biodiversity.
Week 7: report writing
Week 8: reflection exam

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- identify the different types of ecological farming systems and explain the principles of these different farming systems;
- recognize and describe relationships between soils, crops, trees and livestock in a certain landscape/environment;
- analyse, assess and compare a real organic and conventional farming system on self to choose sustainability, biodiversity or integration parameters;
- propose strategies to improve the ecological functioning of a farming system by making smart use of biodiversity.

Activities:

Lectures, Field-Practicals, Group work, Discussions, Comparing assignment, Excursions

Examination:

Four parts:
- individual exam on the content of week 1-4 (30% of mark;
- group assignment on comparing two farms, week 5 (20% of mark);
- froup assignment on improving/integration, week 6 (20% of mark);
- reflection exam end of week 8 (30% of mark);
All components have to be completed, the content exam with a mark of 5.5 or higher.

Literature:

Compulsory literature for the content exam and other relevant literature to support the assignments are provided in Brightspace

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMSc1AF
MinorPeriod
Compulsory for: WUSACBSc Minor Sustainable Agriculture and Consumption5AF