Courses for the Agriculture and Food Systems major are drawn from the program and other departments and programs. The courses currently offered by this program are listed below.

11:020:210 Introduction to Agriculture and Food Systems. Syllabi: Fall 2016, Spr 2017

Spring 2017 (Hybrid 80 min class; Monday 10:55am-12:15pm. Prerequisites: None.
Instructor: Xenia Morin, Department of Plant Biology and Pathology

The hybrid course takes a systems approach to examining the challenges faced by humanity to produce enough food for a growing world population, which is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. Challenges include risks from weather events, soil degradation and water shortages, pest and disease pressure, dwindling genetic diversity, and increasing energy demands. The course will also examine the controversies over adoption of technologies as well as social justice and ethical considerations. Potential solutions are examined including sustainable agriculture and the role that consumers can have through the food choices they make. The hybrid format of this course provides extended opportunities for students to develop their online writing skills as well as develop their ability to work well with others in an online environment. Class time is dedicate to short presentations, discussion and small group work.

11:020:215 Applied Practical Applications in Agriculture and Food Systems (2 credits) Syllabus

Spring 2017 Prerequisites: None. Placement into pre-calculus preferred.

Course under development. Student will develop qualitative and quantitative problem solving skills focusing on applied practical applications in agricultural and food enterprises. These are skills that must be mastered to be successful, accurate, efficient, and safe when working. At least one field trip will be included in the class to practice the skills developed.

11:020:255 Special Topics in Ag and Food Systems (variable credit)

Prerequisite: By special permission of the instructor. This course can be taken more than once.

Fall 2017: Substitute: 11:020:337 Sustainability: Tackling Food Waste
Spring 2018: Exploring Entrepreneurship in Ag and Food Systems (under development)

11:020:305 Starting and Managing a Small Farm (3 credits) Syllabus

Next Offered: Spring 2018 (Offered every other years)

Prerequisites: 11:020:210 or special permission of the instructor. Introductory Economics course preferred but not required, basic soils class preferred but not required.

Instructors: Bill Hlubik and Ray Samulis, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

Students wishing to pursue a career in agricultural production often graduate with an inadequate understanding of the fundamentals that apply to starting and managing a small farm business. Students will examine the basics of traditional and organic farming systems and learn about resources and strategies to get started running their own farm business. Students will gain a valuable understanding of the myriad of economic and regulatory issues involved in starting a farm. The information and understanding gained from this course will prepare students to look at agricultural businesses from a holistic and realistic perspective. In small groups, students will apply this knowledge to develop a business plan for a small farm business and practice making a pitch for their plan.

11:020:321 Principles and Practices of Small-Scale Organic Farming (3 credits) Syllabus

Summer 2017 (Short title: Rutgers Summer Farm). Instructor: Arianna Lindberg
Prerequisites: By special permission of the instructor.

The Student Farm at Rutgers Gardens is focused on organic production and community involvement. As an outdoor classroom, the Farm provides place-based and hands-on learning. In a broader context, the Farm provides the foundation for a wide spectrum of community outreach and programs, research opportunities and entrepreneurial pursuits. Students enrolled in The Principles and Practice of Small-Scale Organic Farming will gain experience with all aspects of basic organic vegetable, fruit and herb production, from field preparation to harvest. Through weekly readings and responses, lectures-with guest lecturers from other operating farms, University programs and Cooperative Extension, farm visits and field work, students will examine the history and philosophy of organic agriculture, as well as build a core understanding of local food systems. Topics of nutrition and food justice will have a key role, and the course will provide students with the opportunity to engage community members through outreach and education with local non-profit partners.

11:020:333 Community Food Justice and Advocacy (3 credits) Syllabus

Fall 2017 Prerequisites: 11:020:210 or special permission of the instructor.
Instructor: TBD

This course will focus on building student's knowledge and skills in advocacy in order to help promote healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable food systems. Students will be introduced to the concepts of food justice and food sovereignty, and will be introduced to the value of individual and community-level advocacy and action as a means to achieving them. Students will actively engage in a team-driven food access or advocacy project during the class. Cuban agricultural will be one area of study in this class.

New Course! 11:020:337 Sustainability:Tackling Food Waste (3 credits) Syllabus

Fall 2017. Instructor: Prerequisites: 11:020:210, 11:374:299 or 11:374:298; or by special permission of the instructor.
Instructor: Dr. Jill Lipoti

It is estimated that over 40% of the food purchased goes to waste which makes our food system significantly unsustainable. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have a goal to reduce the nation's food waste by 50% by the year 2030. Reducing wasted food will save resources (e.g. water, gasoline, energy, labor, land, and fertilizer), reduce methane from landfills, and return nutrients to the soil. Instead of feeding landfills, we can feed people. This class will use the food recovery hierarchy and the circular economy as frameworks to discuss actions which can be taken by individuals, institutions, and businesses. Students will develop analytical skills and experience to help them be part of the solution to the food waste problem. Students will learn about sustainability and food waste though case studies, and will consider various opportunities, methods and scales of action that can contribute to food waste reduction. One or more field trips will be part of the class.

New Course! 11:020:340 Indoor Cultivation of High Value Crops (4 credits) Syllabus

Fall 2017. No prerequistes; Introduction to Horticulture recommended but not required.
Instructor(s): Bill Sciarappa (lead); AJ Both, Albert Ayeni

Aeroponics, hydroponics and geoponics are innovative and emerging greenhouse technologies that may offer career opportunities in the production of high value crops. Students will investigate these various indoor plant growth methods in mini-models, commercial vertical towers and conventional hydroponic or geoponic systems. The students will compose a detailed production, business and marketing plan. Students will be able to compare these systems in terms of research, educational demonstration and agri-business feasibility. Independently, they will master the culture of one specific crop of interest under a controlled environmental system and assess entrepreneurial potential in New Jersey as well as nationally and globally.

11:020:436 Sustainable Agriculture (3 credits)

Fall 2015. (Offered every other year) Prerequisites: None. Jr/Sr. Colloquium.
Instructor: Jack Rabin, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

This class explores sustainability challenges faced by US farmers (primarily). The class makes multiple long off-campus field trips (~8) because sustainable practices and resources are much clearer with your footprints in fields and on farms-learning from farmers-than when described with words. Over the course of the semester we will let the practices observed evolve sustainability definitions for us, supported by weekly readings and discussion. We learn practices, equipment, technologies, and discuss management options and political economy tensions. Topics encountered include the vast range of resources commercial farmers manage in their enterprises daily-spanning all scales-from soil microbial nitrogen chemistry to a Locavore's dilemma in a global economy.

11:020:455 Advanced Topics in Ag and Food Systems (variable credit). Syllabus

Prerequisites: Special permission of the instructor. Because course topics change, this course can be taken more than once.
This advanced seminar class challenges students to use their analytical and critical thinking skills to analyze and assess important topics in agriculture and food systems. A field trip is included. Topics change regularly.

Spring 2017 Topic: Feeding America's Cities

Instructors: Xenia Morin, Department of Plant Biology and Laura Lawson, Department of Landscape Architecture.
Prerequisites: By special permission or successful completion of 11:020:210.

What does it take to feed America's cities? According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over 80% of the U.S. population live in urban areas and this number is increasing. In this advance seminar, we examine America's food systems and food sheds through time. We will look at how foodways have been shaped by trade, policy, law, immigration, farming, food production, and food entrepreneurship as well as food retailer from restaurants and food trucks, to grocery stores and bodega. We'll explore America's foodways from the earliest days of the country through present and we will consider what the future of food might be for America's cities.

11:020:490 Ag and Food Systems Practicum (variable credit). Syllabus

Instructor: By special arrangement. Contact UPD.
This course allows student to gain experience-based education in consultation with a faculty advisor. A learning contract is agreed upon at the start of the project. A report must be submitted by the student at the end of the practicum.

New! 11:020:490 Ag and Food Systems Practicum, Section 2 Syllabus, (1 credit)

Off-campus course. By special arrangement. Contact UPD.
Module One: The Basics of Getting Started
16 hours of instruction Class Instruction, Farm Tour & Demonstration Course held at Rutgers Eco Complex.

11:020:492 (formerly 015:492). Tropical Agricultural Systems (Junior/Senior Colloquium). Syllabus

Spring 2017. M/W 10:55-12:15 pm. No prerequisites. Open to juniors and seniors of all disciplines.
Instructor: Albert Ayeni, Department of Plant Biology
Description: Course is being updated for Spring 2017. This junior/senior colloquium course explores tropical agricultural systems and the agricultural crops grown there such as commodity crops (sugar, cocao, coffee) as well as fruits and vegetables. These systems behave quite differently from the temperate agricultural systems we find in New Jersey and much of the United States.

11:020:495 Special Topics in Agriculture and Food Systems. Syllabus

Fall/Spring/Summer. Credits: By arrangement
Instructor: By arrangement
Description: Advanced independent work in agriculture and/or food systems with a combination of assigned reading, library research, and, when appropriate, a field- or greenhouse-based project. A learning contract and final report or presentation required..

11:607:484 Practical Leadership Applications in Agriculture (4 credits). Syllabus

Spring 2017. Instructor: Dr. Karen A. Plumley
Prerequisites: At least one animal science course, plant science course or general biology OR Permission from Instructor. Open to sophomores and above.

This course provides students with relevant knowledge and skills related to agricultural work environment. Classroom instruction coupled with an 'intensive field experience' in Germany provides international perspective while preparing students to be productive contributors in the workplace. Students apply and integrate classroom-taught theories, principles and skills to authentic situations encountered beyond the classroom. Establishing contacts and developing rapport with agricultural leaders further enhances student growth, development and opportunities.

Learning Goals - As a result of this course, students will:

  • Demonstrate appropriate professional workplace behaviors and skills
  • Identify agriculture industry issues, challenges and solutions
  • Establish a network of agriculture industry contacts
  • Assess and evaluate professional development opportunities in agriculture

Courses not offered in 2017-18

11:020:315 Direct Farm Marketing and Agritourism (3 credits)

Prerequisites: 11:020:210 or special permission of the instructor.
Introductory Economics course preferred but not required, basic soils class preferred but not required.
Instructors: Jack Rabin, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and Brian Schilling, Department of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Economics.
This course prepares students to successfully develop and manage agricultural enterprises in urbanized areas where farming opportunities involve direct retail sales to customers via community farmers markets and agritourism venues. Students will prepare, present, and evaluate enterprise development projects.

11:020:460 Applied Analysis of Successful Agricultural Practices (3 credits)

Prerequisite: 11:020:305 or special permission of instructor
Instructor: Bill Hlubik, New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station
This course analyzes why certain agricultural operations are successful and why some fail. Class instruction and some field trips during class time are involved. Description coming soon.