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University of Toronto Mississauga • Department of Geography • Winter 2019

GGR 287H5S: Food and Globalization


 Instructor: Pierre Desrochers


 Lectures: Monday 7-9 PM


 Phone: (905) 828-5206

 Office: Davis Building, room 3273


 Lecture room: IB 345





Course Description
Course Objectives
> Assignments
> Contacting the Instructor
> Tests
> Written Assignments
> Department of Geography Late Assignment/Missed Test Policy
> Equity Statement and Academic Rights
Expectations/Classroom Behaviour/Behaviour in the Academic Setting
> Academic Integrity/Honesty or Academic Offenses
> Accessibility
> Accommodations for Religious Observances
> Recommendations & Suggestions
> Lecture Schedule

Week 1 (January 7): Introduction
> Week 2 (January 14): Historical Perspective I
> Week 3 (January 21): Historical Perspective II
> Week 4 (January 28): Commodities I
> Week 5 (February 4): Commodities II
> Week 6 (February 11): Term Test
> Week 7 (February 18): Provincial Holiday - No Lecture
> Week 8 (February 25): Commodities III
> Week 9 (March 4): Commodities IV
> Week 10 (March 11): Agricultural Inputs, Technologies and Food Additives
> Week 11 (March 18): Policy Controversies: Environment, Biotechnologies and Organic Production, part 1
> Week 12 (March 25): Policy Controversies: Environment, Biotechnologies and Organic Production, part 2
> Week 13 (April 1): Policy Controversies: Food Safety, Food Security and Locavorism
> Suggested Readings



Interest in agricultural issues and debates have grown markedly among non-specialist audiences in recent years. This course will provide a broad overview of the historical development of our global food economy along with a survey of recent trends and controversies. Topics discussed will range from basic food staples, food markets and trade liberalization to food security, environmental sustainability and alternative agricultural systems. Understanding of technical terms and trade-offs, along with the local and global dimensions of the economics and politics surrounding our globalized supply chain will be recurring concerns in this course.


The course has five (5) main objectives:

1) To cover the basic physical, technical and economic issues related to agricultural development;
2) To cover broadly the history of our globalized food supply chain;
3) To introduce students to past debates and current controversies;
4) To memorize and use, without aids, the basic terminology with which professionals in relevant disciplines communicate their work and their research findings;
5) To apply a wide range of academic skills in active listening, note-taking, studying, reading, and test-taking to upper-level university courses.



There is no textbook or reading package for this class. Most of the readings are freely available on the web and links are provided on the course’s webpage. Suggested readings are not mandatory, but students who will write term papers on topics covered in these texts are expected to be familiar with them.

Most of the suggested readings are freely accessible from anywhere. Some of them, however, may require you to use a UofT terminal or user code.




1) Written Assignment 1
2) Term Test
3) Written Assignment 2
4) Written Assignment 3
5) Final Exam


January 28
February 11
April 1
April 1
April 23 (17:00 to 19:00 / IB 110)

As per the University Grading Practices Policy, please note that "after the methods of evaluation have been made known, the instructor may not change them or their relative weight without the consent of at least a simple majority of the students enrolled in the course. Any changes shall be reported to the division or the department."

How to Query or Challenge a Mark

Please note that you have two weeks from the date an item is returned in class to ask for the item to be remarked. Contact the Course Instructor for all queries about course marks, or if you wish to challenge a mark. Absolutely no item will be remarked after the two-week period has passed. Material submitted for remarking must be accompanied by a brief written explanation detailing your reasons for dissatisfaction with the original mark (such as an addition error or something you think the marker may have missed). A request for a remark without a written explanation will not be acted upon.

Please note that you are allowed two questions where you and the instructor can agree to disagree (meaning you believe that you are entitled to a higher mark, but your instructor disagrees) without penalty. Beginning with the third question where you and your instructor disagree, one point will be taken off your final mark by question for which a revised mark was requested by you and denied by the instructor.

Contacting the instructor

Office hours are Monday 5:30-7:00 PM, Davis Building 3273. You can contact me at

Please read the course syllabus before e-mailing a question or expect a one line answer telling you to look it up if the answer is already there.

Always use your University of Toronto e-mail address ( for all course-related communications. E-mails from other domains (e.g., hotmail, Rogers, gmail, yahoo, etc.) may be filtered as spam and will at any rate be ignored. Always include the course code (e.g., GGR287) as part of your subject line, along with your full name and student number in the body of the e-mail. E-mails will be answered during office hours as promptly as possible. Please note that I do not open attachments and will not answer during week-ends.

The first person that you should e-mail concerning department- or program-related queries or to submit documentation regarding a missed assignment, quiz, or test is the Academic Counsellor for Geography/Environment, Sabrina Ferrari (

E-mail should NOT be viewed as an alternative to meeting with the TA or professor during office hours. Nor should e-mail be used as a mechanism to receive private tutorials (especially prior to tests) or to explain material that was covered in missed lectures. Not receiving replies to e-mails from the TA or professor, or not receiving them in time, will not be an acceptable excuse for pleas for extensions to assignment or exam deadlines.

Students are advised to consult for information on university policy concerning the appropriate use of information and communication technology.

© PhD Comics


A set of questions will be given in advance. Students will be asked to answer a number of these during the test. Note that PowerPoint slides presented during the lectures WILL NOT be posted online. No documentation is allowed during the tests. UTM Exam Schedule


Written Assignments

What is the point of these assignments?
• To acquire more in-depth learning about a topic discussed in this course and its relevance to broader policy discussions
• To develop your writing skills
• To learn to think critically
• To learn the basics of scholarly and policy work

Useful links to help you write your assignments
The University of Toronto Library staff has compiled several links on researching and writing term papers and other types of work. Please look them up, along with the various university resources available to you:
• Writing (University of Toronto Mississauga Library)
• Writing at the University of Toronto
• Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre
• University of Toronto Library Research Guides: Geography
• University of Toronto Mississauga Library liaison librarian Andrew Nicholson

Citation styles
Please look up the University of Toronto Library webpage devoted to citing sources and creating your bibliography.
For written assignments 1 and 2 your are free to follow any of the Standard Documentation Formats, but I insist you use endnotes in assignment #2 (try to mimick the Ottawa documents as closely as possible).
For assignment 3 no citations are expected.

Students unfamiliar with Turnitin are directed to the Turnitin guide from the University of Toronto's Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation.
Normally, students will be required to submit written assignments to for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their assignments to be included as source documents in the reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University's use of the service are described on the web site ( If you have an objection to the use of Turnitin for the submission of your work, please make an appointment to speak personally with the Course Instructor to discuss alternative arrangements.

Please note that submitting your paper through or making alternative arrangements with your professor before the relevant deadlines is not optional. Failure to do so will result in a grade of 0 for your assignment. The late penalties describe in this syllabus will apply. course ID: 19824731
The Turnitin key (password) will be given in class and through Quercus.

Details of the written assignments
Written assignment #1 (10% of your final mark)
Please choose your topic for this assignment carefully as it will apply to all your written assignments this semester. [Hint: I strongly encourage you to look at the relevant required readings for each potential subject so that you select the one that is of greatest interest to you.]

Write a 2-3 page reflection on ONE of the following questions. The choice is yours. Please use the relevant required readings of the lectures listed in parenthesis as a basis for your reflection. Cite these relevant readings in your paper. You may cite additional sources if you want to, but this is not required for this assignment.

• Do GMOs (or rDNA food) represent a major break with - and perhaps potentially a greater risk than - older plant modification practices? (weeks 4-9; 11-12)

• Would humanity giving up on meat consumption have significant environmental benefits? (weeks 11-12)

• Are organic foods inherently safer to eat than those produced with modern/conventional technologies? (weeks 11-12)

• Is Food Sovereignty or trade liberalization more likely to deliver greater food security? (weeks 1, 2 and 13)

In short, what your professor wants to know is 1) what is the topic about (i. e., define the concept and summarize the relevant controversy if applicable)? 2) What do you think of the debate/controversy on this topic based on your preliminary readings? 

• Text should be written in full sentences and paragraphs organized in a clear and coherent fashion.
• The reflection should be written from a first-person perspective (i.e., you can use "I", "me", and "my" in this assignment).
• Text should be 11-12 point font and 1.5-2.0 line spacing on all pages. If applicable, block quotes and bibliography should use 1.0 line spacing.
• Pages should have regular 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins.

• Monday, January 28th @ 23:59 (week 4) via Turnitin

Written assignment #2 (20% of your final mark)
The goal of this assignment is to write a document similar to the "In Brief" notes produced by the Library of Parliament's Information and Research Service (Ottawa).
Here are links to a few "In Brief" notes:
• Barnes, Andre. 2010. In Brief: Youth Voter Turnout in Canada: 1. Trends and Issues. Publication No. 2010-19-E. Parliamentary Information and Research Service. Ottawa: Library of Parliament. 

• Heminthavong, Khamla. 2015. In Brief: Canada's Supply Management System (PDF). Publication No. 2015-138-E. Parliamentary Information and Research Service. Ottawa: Library of Parliament.

• McGlashan, Lindsay. 2015. In Brief: Public-Private Partnerships: Are Canadians Getting the Full Picture? (PDF) Publication No. 2015-50-E. Parliamentary Information and Research Service. Ottawa: Library of Parliament.

As specified on the Library of Parliament's website, their publications aim to "provide analysis to parliamentarians, parliamentary committees and parliamentary associations on current and emerging key issues, legislation and major public policy topics. The publications provide non-partisan, reliable and timely information on subjects that are relevant to parliamentary and constituency work (my emphasis)."

Your goal is to follow the spirit of these "In Brief" notes and produce a short document for busy people that presents all aspects of a particular problem in a non-partisan way. You must present and define the issue or problem, provide some background or context, explain why it is important and list all arguments for and against the problem or issue discussed. You can use bullet points, graphs or maps, but each claim or piece of evidence must be supported through an endnote.

• Cover page. Must include subject title, first and last name, student number, course number and year
• Table of contents
• Between 6 and 9 pages of text, excluding cover page, table of contents and endnotes
• Text should be 11-12 point font; 1.0 line spacing on all pages, including cover page, block quotes, and endnotes
• Pages should have regular 1.0 inch margins
• Reference/Citation style: Endnotes. Format of your choice, but you must be consistent

• Monday, April 1st @ 23:59 (last day of class) via Turnitin

Written assignment #3 (15% of your final mark)
An op-ed (originally short for "opposite the editorial page") is a written prose piece which presents a specific opinion as opposed to a balanced perspective.

Your task in assignment #3 is to your write your own commentary on the question you have researched in assignments 1 and 2. Present and support your one-sided position with ideas and facts learned while researching your previous assignments and in other lectures and readings during the semester.

Your op-ed should be between 650-750 words, excluding your name, course number and student number. This assignment does not require a cover page, but it requires you to write the word count of your piece at the end of your assignments (e.g., word count: 673 words.)

Keep in mind that your audience is the general reading public, meaning people who are likely not familiar with your topic and who may not have had a post-secondary education. You must therefore draw their interest by using a catchy title and, ideally, a "hook" at the beginning of your story (e.g., "poachers have killed government officials in a nature preserve"; "ruins of a gigantic city have been discovered in the Amazon"). Explain your position using simple language, do your best to persuade and do not simply make assertions (e.g., "every expert agrees with me").

Keep in mind that your word count is low and that you might have to use only your BEST arguments, not all the arguments that support your position.

The University of Toronto offers the following guidelines to write an effective op-ed piece:
• Focus on one main idea or a single theme in your op-ed.
• Have a clear editorial viewpoint. State that point in your first paragraph, and then proceed to back up your opinion or prove your thesis.
• Look for opportunities to wed your specific area of expertise or interest with news developments.
• If you can, be controversial in your opinion.
• Always write for the lay reader. Be clear and straightforward. Use simple words, short declarative sentences. Even the brainiest of readers will lose interest if your submission is replete with long, complex sentences and paragraphs.
• Make your submission as argumentative as possible. It should not appear driven by anger and it should follow methodological reasoning.
• Express a strong call to action. Write with passion and "fire in your gut."
• Take pains to educate the reader with your insight, but don't condescend or preach.

See also the op-ed guidelines of Carleton College.

Op-ed links
• New York Times op-ed page

• Monday, April 1st @ 23:59 (last day of class) via Turnitin

Department of Geography Late Assignment/Missed Test Policy

This is the departmental policy for late assignments and missed tests. Please note that the penalty related to your proposal is different. In this particular case, I apply my own policy as specified on the syllabus.

n-class or Online QUIZ/TESTS: Students CANNOT petition to re-write a quiz/test once the test has begun. If you are feeling ill, please do not start the online or in-class test and seek medical attention immediately. You must have a physician fill out a U of T Student Medical Certificate and submit a request via the online Special Consideration Request form @ within 24 hours.

Online Submissions for Term Work: It is every student’s responsibility to ensure that their online submission is submitted successfully by the due date. Accommodations will not be made for unsuccessful submissions due to, but not limited to, i) the system timing out ii) submitting the incorrect document(s) iii) poor internet connection / no internet connection etc.

Missed Term Work (Assignment/Lab - as per Department of Geography policy):
Late assignments will be subject to a late penalty of 10% per day (including weekends) of the total marks for the assignment. Assignments submitted five calendar days beyond the due date will be assigned a grade of zero.

Academic accommodation can be made when an assignment is late. For accommodations on late/missed assignments please see section on "Extension of Time".

Missed Term Work (Quiz/Test - as per Department of Geography policy):
In courses with final exams, there will be no re-writes or make-ups for term tests/quizzes missed for University-accepted, verifiable reasons. Instead, the final exam will be re-weighted by the value of the term test/quiz.

Requesting Academic Accommodation using the Online Special Consideration Request Application: In Geography and Environment courses, professors cannot grant extensions on term work or allow makeups for missed items. If you ask for and receive an extension or a makeup date directly from a professor, without following the appropriate steps as outlined in this document, it will be invalid and may be revoked at any time by the departmental petitions committee.

Students are responsible in ensuring strong reliable internet connection. Special consideration requests due to poor internet connection (ie. unable to complete online quiz / unable to submit assignment before deadline) will not be accepted.

Informing Your Professor and Submitting Appropriate Documentation:
The following steps must be completed in order to be considered for academic accommodation for any course work such as missed tests or late assignments:

1. Students must inform their professor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) within 24 hours of a test date/assignment due date of any circumstances that prevent them from writing a test or submitting an assignment on time.
2. Students must complete an online Special Consideration Request @ Students who miss a test due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. illness or an accident) can request that the Department grant them special consideration. You must inform your instructor within 24 hours and you have up to one (1) week from the date of the missed test to submit your online request (late requests will NOT be considered without a "letter of explanation" as to why the request is late). You must present your case to the Department (not the Instructor). Note: The system only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox for the time being.
3. Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Supporting documentation is required within 48 hours of submitting your online request.
Please Note: If you missed your test for a reason connected to your registered disability, please be advised that the department will accept documentation supplied by the UTM AccessAbility Resource Centre.
Note: (i) ROSI declarations are not accepted as supporting documentation.
(ii) If your reason for absence is due to a last minute flight due to a family emergency (illness/death etc.) you must provide your flight itinerary INCLUDING the date the flight was purchased as well as boarding passes in addition to proof of death/illness/accident.
4. Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms MUST include the statement "This Student was unable to write the test on date(s) for medical reasons". Documentation MUST show that the physician was consulted within ONE day of the test date. A statement merely confirming a report of illness made by the student is NOT acceptable (such as, "This patient tells me that he was feeling ill on that day."). Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms can be found on the Office of the Registrar's webpage (

Please complete the following:
- Special request link:
- Verification of Illness form:

Please note that the written explanation and documentation that you submit represents an appeal from you, requesting the opportunity to account for that portion of your grade in some other manner. If an appeal is not received, or if the appeal is deemed unacceptable, you will receive a grade of zero for the item you missed. If the appeal is granted - that is, your reason for missing the item is considered acceptable by the committee - then a mechanism for accounting for the grade value of the missed item will be discussed.

A Departmental committee evaluates each request. Decisions will be communicated by email within two weeks of receipt of all completed documents. Note: It is your responsibility to ensure your email account is working and able to receive emails. Claims that a Departmental decision was not received will NOT be considered as a reason for further consideration. Contact Sabrina Ferrari ( Academic Counselor, should you NOT receive notification of your decision within 2 weeks of submission.

Note that holidays and pre-purchased plane tickets, family plans, your friend's wedding, lack of preparation, or too many other tests are not acceptable excuses for missing a quiz, a test, or an item of term work.

Extension of Time
Students are expected to back up their work at all times. As such, extension requests due to computer issues (stolen, crashed, damaged etc.) will not be considered. The following steps must be completed in order to be considered for academic accommodation for any assignment extensions. Assignments handed in AFTER the work has been returned to the class cannot be marked for credit.

1. Students must inform their professor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) IN ADVANCE of an assignment due date of any circumstances that prevent them from submitting their assignment on time.
2. Students must complete an online Special Consideration Request @ IN ADVANCE of the assignment due date. Note: The system only supports Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox for the time being.
3. Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Supporting documentation is required within one (1) week of submitting your online request.
4. Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms: Documentation MUST show that the physician was consulted within ONE day of the assignment due date. A statement merely confirming a report of illness made by the student is NOT acceptable (such as, "This patient tells me that he was feeling ill on that day."). Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms can be found on the Office of the Registrar's webpage (

Original supporting documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form, accident report, etc) MUST BE SUBMITTED to the DROP BOX (labeled "Environment and Geography Petition Documentation") located outside Room 3282, Davis Building. Note: ROSI declarations are not accepted as supporting documentation. You are expected to submit your request to the Department before the due date of the assignment, unless demonstrably serious reasons prevent you from doing so. In the event of an illness, if you are seeking a one-day extension, Verification of Student Illness or Injury forms must confirm that you were ill on the due date of the assignment; if you are requesting a longer extension, your documentation must specify exactly the length of the period during which you were unable to carry out your academic work. For extensions of time beyond the examination period you must submit a petition through the Office of the Registrar.

A Departmental committee evaluates each request for an extension of time. Decisions will be communicated by email within two weeks of receipt of all completed documents. Please note that students are required to submit their assignment/lab as soon as they are able and they should NOT wait for the decision of the committee. Note: It is your responsibility to ensure your email account is working and able to receive emails. Claims that a Departmental decision was not received will NOT be considered as a reason for further consideration. Contact Sabrina Ferrari ( Academic Counsellor, should you NOT receive notification of your decision within 2 weeks of submission.

It is your responsibility to follow the appropriate procedures and submit requests for special consideration on time. Failure to do so may result in the committee denying your request.
Should you require further information regarding Special Considerations, please contact the Academic Counselor, Sabrina Ferrari
Undergraduate Academic Counselor
Room 3282, Davis Building, Telephone: 905-828-5465

Equity Statement and Academic Rights

The University of Toronto is committed to equity and respect for diversity. All members of the learning environment in this course should strive to create an atmosphere of mutual respect. As a course instructor, I will neither condone nor tolerate behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual in this course and wish to be alerted to any attempt to create an intimidating or hostile environment. It is our collective responsibility to create a space that is inclusive and welcomes discussion. Discrimination, harassment and hate speech will not be tolerated. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you may contact the UTM Equity and Diversity officer at or the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union Vice President Equity at

Academic Rights

You, as a student at UTM, have the right to:
- Receive a syllabus by the first day of class.
- Rely upon a syllabus once a course is started. An instructor may only change marks' assignments by following the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy provision 1.3.
- Refuse to use (you must be offered an alternative form of submission).
- Have access to your instructor for consultation during a course or follow up with the department chair if the instructor is unavailable.
- Ask the person who marked your term work for a re-evaluation if you feel it was not fairly graded. You have up to one month from the date of return of the item to inquire about the mark. If you are not satisfied with a re-evaluation, you may appeal to the instructor in charge of the course if the instructor did not mark the work. If your work is remarked, you must accept the resulting mark. You may only appeal a mark beyond the instructor if the term work was worth at least 20% of the course mark.
- Receive at least one significant mark (15% for H courses, 25% for Y courses) before the last day you can drop a course for H courses, and the last day of classes in the first week of January for Y courses taught in the Fall/Winter terms.
- Submit handwritten essays so long as they are neatly written.
- Have no assignment worth 100% of your final grade.
- Not have a term test worth 25% or more in the last two weeks of class.
- Retain intellectual property rights to your research.
- Receive all your assignments once graded.
- View your final exams. To see a final exam, you must submit an online Exam Reproduction Request within 6 months of the exam. There is a small non-refundable fee.
- Privacy of your final grades.
- Arrange for representation from Downtown Legal Services (DLS), a representative from the UTM Students' Union (UTMSU), and/or other forms of support if you are charged with an academic offence.

Expectations/Classroom Behaviour/Behaviour in the Academic Setting

Our expectation of you is that you will show respect to the Course Instructor, TAs, other faculty, staff, and fellow students. This includes arriving on time and staying for the entire class (so you don't disturb others by your late entry or early departure); listening quietly (so you don't disturb others by your chatting or online activities); approaching your course work with an open, honest spirit and enthusiasm; and otherwise adhering to the Code.

In turn, you can expect the Course Instructor, staff, and TAs to show respect to you and your fellow students; to deliver the best course that they possibly can; to communicate their enthusiasm for the material; to maintain fairness in all aspects of course delivery and assessment; and otherwise to adhere to the University's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

Academic Integrity/Honesty or Academic Offenses

It is your responsibility as a student at the University of Toronto to familiarize yourself with, and adhere to, both the Code of Student Conduct and the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

This means, first and foremost, that you should read them carefully.

  • The Code of Student Conduct is available from the U of T Mississauga website (Registrar > Academic Calendar > Codes and Policies) or in your print version of the Academic Calendar.

  • The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters is available from the U of T Mississauga website (Registrar > Academic Calendar > Codes and Policies) or in your print version of the Academic Calendar.

Another helpful document that you should read is How Not to Plagiarize, by M. Procter.

Further Thoughts on Academic Honesty:
The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters states that:

"The University and its members have a responsibility to ensure that a climate that might encourage, or conditions that might enable, cheating, misrepresentation or unfairness not be tolerated. To this end all must acknowledge that seeking credit or other advantages by fraud or misrepresentation, or seeking to disadvantage others by disruptive behaviour is unacceptable, as is any dishonesty or unfairness in dealing with the work or record of a student." ―University of Toronto Mississauga Academic Calendar

This summarizes what we are all trying to achieve through the implementation of this Code―both students and faculty. We are trying―together―to create an atmosphere of fairness and honesty, in which people can learn and receive appropriate credit for work that they have done. Note that the Code refers specifically to expectations for faculty members, not just for students. It is my responsibility, as a member of the faculty of the University of Toronto, to be familiar with these expectations and adhere to them. There are many additional academic requirements that we are expected to meet with regard to the integrity of course materials, returning of marked work to students, maintenance of student privacy, fairness, grading practices, and others. My TAs and I will make every possible effort to meet these expectations.


U of T Mississauga and the AccessAbility Resource Centre are committed to the full participation of students with disabilities in all aspects of campus life. The AccessAbility Resource Centre provides academic accommodations and services to students who have a physical, sensory, or learning disability, mental health condition, acquired brain injury, or chronic health condition, be it visible or hidden. Students who have temporary disabilities (e.g., broken dominant arm) are also eligible to receive services. All interested students must have an intake interview with an advisor to discuss their individual needs.

Students who require accommodation are advised to visit the AccessAbility Resource Centre as early as possible to have their needs assessed, as it may take some time to process the application.

For more information please contact the centre at:
Room 2047, South Bldg.
Tel/TTY: 905-569-4699

For students who would like to help

Please note that the AccessAbility Resource Centre is looking for a volunteer note-taker to take notes on behalf of students with a disability registered in this class. Volunteer note-takers are responsible for submitting their notes to AccessAbility every week. The notes can be submitted online or scanned at the Centre. (The form can be downloaded at

Volunteer note-takers will receive a certificate of recognition and reference letter at the end of the year. If you are interested in this opportunity, please take a volunteer form and follow the instructions provided. If you have any questions, please call 905-828-5422, email, or drop by the Centre (room 2047, Davis Building).

Accommodations for Religious Observances

As noted in the the Policy on Scheduling of Classes and Examinations and Other Accommodations for Religious Observances, the following provisions are included:

"It is the policy of the University of Toronto to arrange reasonable accommodation of the needs of students who observe religious holy days other than those already accommodated by ordinary scheduling and statutory holidays.
Students have a responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences. Instructors will make every reasonable effort to avoid scheduling tests, examinations or other compulsory activities at these times. If compulsory activities are unavoidable, every reasonable opportunity should be given to these students to make up work that they miss, particularly in courses involving laboratory work. When the scheduling of tests or examinations cannot be avoided, students should be informed of the procedure to be followed to arrange to write at an alternate time.

It is most important that no student be seriously disadvantaged because of her or his religious observances. However, in the scheduling of academic and other activities, it is also important to ensure that the accommodation of one group does not seriously disadvantage other groups within the University community."

With respect to minimum advance notice, the Policy provides that "Students have a responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences." Since students would normally be aware of upcoming religious observances as well as examination schedules in advance, a minimum of three weeks advance notice will be considered sufficient.

More information and some dates of potential relevance for the U of T community are available at

As with any academic accommodation request, students must submit an on-line Special Consideration Request @

Recommendations & Suggestions

Suggested Scholarly Sources
Suggested Websites

Lecture Schedule

Week 1 (January 7): Introduction
Week 2 (January 14): Historical Perspective I
Week 3 (January 21): Historical Perspective II
Week 4 (January 28): Commodities I (Deadline for written assignment 1)
Week 5 (February 4): Commodities II
Week 6 (February 11): Term Test (Questions)
Week 7 (February 18): Provincial Holiday - No Lecture
Week 8 (February 25): Commodities III
Week 9 (March 4): Commodities IV
Week 10 (March 11): Agricultural Inputs, Technologies and Food Additives
Week 11 (March 18): Policy Controversies: Environment, Biotechnologies and Organic Production, part 1
Week 12 (March 25): Policy Controversies: Environment, Biotechnologies and Organic Production, part 2
Week 13 (April 1): Policy Controversies: Food Safety, Food Security and Locavorism (Deadline for written assignments 2 and 3)
Final Exam: April 23 (17:00 to 19:00 / IB 110)

Week 1 (January 7): Introduction

Required Videos

The Meatrix

IFPRI Millions Fed - Proven Solutions

BBC 4. 2010. "Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats." (November 26).

Worldwrite. 2006. "I'm a Subsistence Farmer get me out of Here!

Breakthrough Institute. 2016. "Precision Agriculture: Visualizing Agricultural Innovation."

College Humor. 2018, "Buy Food Ethically, Unless It's Too Hard."

Required readings

• Overviews
- "2050: A third more mouths to feed." FAO, September 23, 2009.

- "How to Feed a Hungry World." Nature 466 : 531-532 (July 29, 2010).

Cowen, Tyler. 2012. "World Hunger: The Problem Left Behind." The New York Times (September 15).

FAO. 2014. State of Food Insecurity in the World (IN BRIEF).

Starling, Shane. 2014. "World's Most Obese Nation? Kuwait (and the next four are Middle Eastern)." Food (November 3). 

Sharp, Philip A. and Alan Leshner. 2016. "We Need a New Green Revolution." New York Times (January 4).

Charlebois, Sylvain et al. 2018. Canada's Food Price Report 2018. Dalhousie University and University of Guelph (Executive Summary). 

• Critics
Pollan, Michael. 2008. "Farmer in Chief." New York Times Magazine (October 9).

People's Food Policy Project. 2011. Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada (Executive Summary).

OXFAM. 2011. Growing a Better Future (Summary).

Global Development and Environment Institute (Tufts University). 2012. Resolving the Food Crisis. Research for Global Policy Reform.

Bittman, Mark, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador and Olivier De Schutter. 2014. "How a National Food Policy could save Millions of American Lives." Washington Post (November 7). 

Smil, Vaclav. 2016. "Harvesting the Biosphere." The World Financial Review (January - February): 46-49. 

• Defenders of modern agriculture and agri-business
Harris, Rob. 2007. "Let's Ditch this 'Nostalgia for Mud'." Spiked, 4 December.

Hurst, Blake. 2009. "The Omnivore's Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals." The American, July 30.

Paarlberg, Robert. 2010 "Attention Whole Food Shoppers." Foreign Policy (May-June).

Smith, Kyle. 2013. "The Greatest Food in Human History." New York Post (July 29).

Tucker, Jeffrey. 2014. "Life without the McDouble." (August 5).

Jen. 2014. "Top Myths in Agriculture and Food Production with Dr. Cami Ryan." Canola (Manitoba Canola Growers) (December 3). 

Hurst, Blake. 2015. "The End of Farming?" The American (April 3).

Laudan, Rachel. 2015. "A Plea for Culinary Modernism." Jacobin (May).

Laudan, Rachel. 2016. "In Praise of Artificial Food." Aeon (January 28).

Lusk, Jayson. 2016. "Why Industrial Farms Are Good for the Environment." New York Times (September 23). 

Suggested readings and links

Weeks 2-3 (January 14 -21): Historical Perspective I-II

Required Videos


"Ancient Farmers of the Amazon" Evolution Library (PBS), 2001 (video).

Video - Chimps Use Tools to Hunt Mammals - National Geographic

Duet of a Sumerian Drinking Song (Hymn to the Beer Goddess) (Background: Main, Douglas. 2014. "What Did Ancient Babylonian Songs Sound Like? Something Like This." Newsweek (December 14).

General Electric. Date Unknown. General Electric Effects on Farm Life - 1930s Dairy Farms Cows Milk Tractors Behind the Scenes

FreeThink. 2017. "We're All Gonna Starve!"

Required readings

• Insect Agriculture
Munger, Dave. 2010. "Humans aren't the Only Creatures that Grow their Own Food. Leaf-cutter Ants, Trees, and even Protists do it too." Seed, November 10.

"Herding Aphids: How 'Farmer' Ants Keep Control Of Their Food." Science Daily, October 11, 2007.

"Termites Create Sustainable Monoculture Fungus Farming." Science Daily, Nov. 22, 2009.

• Fire and Tools
"The American Association for the Advancement of Science - What's cooking?" The Economist, February 17, 2009.

Jones, Steve. 2009. "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham." The Guardian, October 17.

Forbes, Peter. 2010. "Review of The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by Timothy Taylor." The Guardian, September 4.

Gibbons, Ann. 2019. "Ancient Switch to Soft Food Gave Us an Overbite-and the ability to pronounce 'f's and 'v's." Science (March 14). 

• Early Agriculture
(Note: This issue is addressed in much more detail in my course GGR329: Environment and the Roots of Globalization)

Pringle, Heather. 1998. "The Slow Birth of Agriculture." Science 282 (5393): 1446.

Loehrlein, Marietta. 2010. "Horticulture." In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Earth.

Prakash, C. S. 2001. "The Genetically Modified Crop Debate in the Context of Agricultural Evolution." Plant Physiology 126 (1): 8-15.

Wallace, Eric J. 2019. “The Moroccan Food Forest That Inspired an Agricultural Revolution. These ancient forest gardens may be more relevant than everAtlas Obscura (April 1).

• Transition towards the Modern Era
Crowley, Terry. 2004. '[Victorian] Agriculture' and 'Rural Labourers in the Victorian Era' in James Eli Adams, Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast (eds). The Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era. 4 vols. Grolier Academic Press.

Eh.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History
- White, William J. 2008 "Economic History of Tractors in the United States."
- Law, Marc T. 2004 "History of Food and Drug Regulation in the United States."

EH.Net Book Reviews 
- Craig, Lee. A. 2009. "Creating Abundance: Biological Innovation and American Agricultural Development." (Review of Alan L. Olmstead and Paul W. Rhode, Creating Abundance: Biological Innovation and American Agricultural Development. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008). 

• Modern Agriculture and the Green Revolution
Roser, Max and Hannah Ritchie. 2018. "Yields and Land Use in Agriculture."

Energypedia. "Energy within Food and Agricultural Value Chains." 

Goklany, Indur M. 2001. "The Pros and Cons of Modern Farming." PERC Reports. March: 12-14.

Dimitri, Carolyn, Anne Effland, & Neilson Conklin. "The 20th Century Transformation of U.S. Agriculture and Farm Policy." U.S. Department of Agriculture, Electronic Information Bulletin Number 3, June 2005.

Kunkel, Phillip L., Jeffrey A. Peterson, Jessica A. Mitchell. 2009. "Agricultural Production Contracts." University of Minnesota Agricultural Extension Service.

Perkins, John. 2010. "Green Revolution" in Cutler J. Cleveland (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment.

Miller, Henry I. 2012. "The Father of the Green Revolution." Defining Ideas (February 17).

Spielman, David J., and Rajul Pandya-Lorch. 2009. Highlights from Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development. IFPRI. (Full text and other documentation available at Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development IFPRI).

Ades, Gary, Craig W. Henry, and Faye Feldstein. (2011/2012). "The Food Safety Challenge of the Global Food Supply Chain." Food Safety Magazine (December/January). 

Suggested readings and links

Weeks 4-5 (January 28, February 4): Commodities I-II

Required Videos

Week 4 (January 28) Deadline for written assignment 1

- BBC Scotland. 2012. How to Grow a Planet - Episode 3: The Challenger (Gφbekli Tepe and the domestication of wheat).
- USDA. Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution 

Corn (maize)
- Iowa State University Research Foundation. 1991. The Hybrid Corn Miracle

- Riso Amaro (1949) 
- Allow Golden Rice Now. 2013. "Allow Golden Rice Now!

-. 2007. Forgotten Genius: Percy Lavon Julian, NOVA (Video here from 1:24:19- 1:30:53)

- Hill Tribe TV. 2012. QV Foods: Growing Potatoes, from Field to Supermarket

- 4000 Types of Potatoes in Peru - Peruvian Potatoes - Vicky The Gastronaut: Peru - Ep 06 - Mistura (Related videos here, here and here)

- Tomato sorter 

Required readings

• Commodity Markets
Eh.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History
- Santos, Joseph. 2008. "A History of Futures Trading in the United States."

• Plants
Maxham, Amanda. 2018. "Who should we thank for all those wonderful fruits and vegetables? 'Not Mother Nature'" Genetic Literacy Project (October 2). 

- Interactive Websites (browse)
"A Plant's Eye History of the World" (Map Timeline) The Botany of Desire (PBS adaptation of Michael Pollan's book).

CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture). Where our Food Crops Come From

Canada Food Inspection Agency. Varieties of Crop Kinds Registered in Canada

- Wheat
Mejia, Paul. 2018. "Found: 14,400-Year-Old Flatbread Remains That Predate Agriculture. The burned crumbs shed light on prehistoric hunter-gatherers' diets." Atlas Obscura (July 16). 

Gary M. Paulsen and James P. Shroyer. 2008. "The Early History of Wheat Improvement in the Great Plains." Agronomy Journal Vol. 100 No. Supplement_3, p. S-70-S-78.

"Fueling the Green Revolution." U.S. Department of Agriculture & Agricultural Research Service, October 10, 2003.

Leech, Caleb. 2016. "Survival and Adaptation: Bonnefont's Corne Field." The Met (June 23).
Fedak, George. 2015. "Marquis Wheat." Canadian Encyclopedia.

- Corn
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. "Maize."

(Browse) National Corn Growers Association (USA. World of Corn). 

CGIAR Research Program (Maize). 2014. "Improved Maize to Boost Yields in Nitrogen-starved African Soils." (December 10). 

- Rice
Aschaiek, Sharon. 2016. "UTM Professor Discovers New Origins for Farmed Rice." UTM News (June 22).

Ricepedia. "History of Rice Cultivation." 

UCL Rice Project. "Debating the Origins of Rice."

World Food Prize 1996: Beachell and Khush.

Alliance Grain Traders, "History of Pulses."

- Potato
International Year of the Potato. 2008. "Diffusion
- Plant
- Tuber
- Origins 
- Diffusion 
- Varieties 

Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian. 2009. "Potatoes, the fruit of the earth." Vox (August 5).

Foodland Ontario (Food Facts)
- Potatoes 

Mann, Charles. 2011. "How the Potato Changed the World." Smithsonian Magazine (November). 

- Sweet Potato
Fox, Alex. 2018. "Sweet Potato Migrated to Polynesia Thousands of Years before People Did. Vegetable's travels deepen mystery about timing of first contact between people in Americas and the South Pacific." Nature News (April 20).

The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Oilseed crops

- Soybeans
Dorff, Erik. 2009. "The soybean, agriculture's jack-of-all-trades, is gaining ground across Canada." Statistics Canada, April 9.

Hecht, Susanna B., & Charles C. Mann. 2008. "How Brazil Outfarmed the American Farmer." CNN, January 19 (other link).

- Canola
The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Canola

Suggested readings and links

Week 6 (February 11): Term Test


Week 7 (February 18): Provincial Holiday - No Lecture

Week 8-9 (February 25, March 4): Commodities III-IV

Required Videos


British Pathι - Home Drive For Food - Britain's Harvest 1947 (1947).
WPSU. 2009. Apple Grafting.  

Grapes and Wine
Discovery News. "What Ancient Wine Tasted Like." (June 11, 2013).


- BBC Four. 2013. "Can Eating Insects Save the World." (March 13).

- The Economist. 2014. Why eating insects makes sense

PYCO - Cottonseed: The Inside Story

Wrong. 2017. What Happened to the Beepocalypse? 

Breakthrough Institute. "Plenty of Fish on the Farm."

Fortune. 2018. Made-in-China Caviar

British Pathι - Horse Meat Scandal (1948).

LindyBeige. 2011. "What is Wrong with this Picture?"

Required readings

Katinka Weinberger and Thomas A. Lumpkin. 2005. Horticulture for Poverty Alleviation. The Unfunded Revolution. AVRDC (The World Vegetable Center) Working Paper #15 - Executive Summary.

Tonie Fitzgerald. 2005. Pollination of Fruit Trees. Washington State University - Spokane County Extension.

- Cucurbits
Foodland Ontario (Food Facts)
- Greenhouse cucumbers 

- Apples
Washington Apple Country Tours

Foodland Ontario (Food Facts)
- Apples 

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs - Recommended Apple Varities for Ontario

- Bananas
Randy C. Ploetz. 2005. "Panama Disease: An Old Nemesis Rears Its Ugly Head. Part 1. The Beginnings of the Banana Export Trades." Plant Health Progress (August).

Admin. 2014. "Attack of the Killer Bananas? Hardly." ACSH News (July 2).

Mihm, Stephen. 2017. "The Bananapocalypse Is Nigh. The failure to diversify makes the world's favorite fruit vulnerable to a wipeout." Bloomberg Opinion (December 21). 

- Sugar
Galloway, Jock. H. The Sugar Cane Industry: An Historical Geography from its Origins to 1914. Cambridge University Press (Introduction).

Silcoff, Sean. 2012. "Bitter battle rages over Canada's sugar industry." The Globe and Mail, June 24.

- Palm Oil
FAO. Date Unknown. Oil Palm

• Animals
> Domesticated Land Animals
- Entomophagy
BBC News. 2013. "Insect diet: Fancy Cricket Risotto or Mealworm Cake?" (August 23).

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2013. Information Guide: The Contribution of Insects to Food Security, Livelihoods and the Environment. (May 12) (Executive Summary).

- History

Breeds of Livestock - Oklahoma State University

Avery, Dennis. 2010. "When Sheep didn't have Wool." CFACT News, November 26.

Phelan, Benjamin. 2012. "The Most Spectacular Mutation in Recent Human History - How did milk help found Western civilization?" Slate (Oct.23).

Melletti, Mario. 2016. "Cattle Domestication: from Aurochs to Cow." Fifteen Eighty-Four (February 18).

Steak School. "What's the Difference Between Beef Taurus and Beef Indicus?

- Recent Trends
Dowding, Heather. 2008. "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation." In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed). Encyclopedia of the Earth.

Howard, Jacqueline. 2014. "Chickens Look Way Different Today, And Here's The Reason Why." Huffington Post (October 21).

Zielinski, Sarah. 2014. "Bees and Wasps in Britain Have Been Disappearing For More Than a Century." Smithsonian Magazine (December 11).

Miller, Henry. 2015. "Viewpoint: The new bee crisis is just like the old one: Phony." Genetic Literacy Project (May 13). 

FAO Newsroom. 2007. Farm animal diversity under threat. One breed lost a month - Industrial livestock production biggest factor

Nelson, Daniel. 2018. "Lab Grown Meat May Soon Be Available To General Public." Science Trends (September 24). 

> Fisheries, Seafood and Aquaculture
- Fisheries
Pauly, Daniel and Dirk Zeller. 2010. "Marine Fisheries." In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed). Encyclopedia of the Earth.

GDAE, Jonathan M. Harris and Anne-Marie Codur. 2008. "Economics of Fisheries." In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed). Encyclopedia of the Earth.

- Aquaculture
Encyclopedia Britannica. 1911. "Pisciculture."

"Half Of Fish Consumed Globally Is Now Raised On Farms, Study Finds." ScienceDaily, Sep. 8, 2009. 2014. "Fisheries and aquaculture." In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed). Encyclopedia of the Earth.

Foodland Ontario (Food Facts)
- Aquaculture 

FAO. 2018 The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture

Canadian Encyclopedia on Agriculture
- History of agriculture 
- Agriculture and food
- Agriculture and food policy
- Fisheries 
- Aquaculture 

Suggested readings and links

Lecture 10 (March 11): Agricultural Inputs, Technologies and Food Additives

Required Video

Video: USDA (World War II): Victory Garden (watch from 10:20 to 12:45; 13:56 to 16:50).

ACSH. 2014. Enjoy your Holiday Dinner - Chemicals and All! (November 25).

CSIRO. 2018. "Rust: The Fungi that Attacks Plants."

Required readings

• Overview
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. 2017. An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System 2017.

Douglas, David and Linus Blomqvist. Undated. "Is Precision Agriculture the Way to Peak Cropland? The Unsung Hero of Agricultural Innovation." Breakthrough Institute. 

Bryce, Emma. 2018. "Sustainable Intensification is no Longer an Oxymoron. It could be the future." Anthropocene (September 7).

• Water
Cowen, Richard. Essays on Geology, History and People. (Under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press), Ch 17 ("Ancient Irrigation").

Molden, David, Charlotte de Fraiture and Frank J. Rijsberman. 2007. "Water Scarcity: The Food Factor." Issues in Science and Technology 23 (4) (Summer).

• Refrigeration
Krasner-Khait, Barbara. 2000. "The Impact of Refrigeration." History Magazine (February-March) (excerpts).

Tenner, Edward. 2014. "The Refrigerator's Cool Century." The American (July 3).

Heap, Robert. 2003. Refrigerated Transport: Progress Achieved and Challenges to be Met. 16th Informatory Note on Refrigerating Technologies. International Institute of Refrigeration, August.

Hammons, Alexander C. R. 2018. "The Icebox Cometh: How capitalism brought luxury to everyone." CapX (January 10).

• Animal Reproductive Technologies
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Animal Reproduction: Research in Assisted Reproductive Technologies.

• Veterinary Medicine
(Browse) World Organisation for Animal Health "Animal Disease Information Summaries."

- Rinderpest
Joint FAO-IAEA Program. 2005.
- History of Battle against Rinderpest
- Global Eradication of Rinderpest

Normile, Dennis. 2010. "Deadly Cattle Disease Eradicated." ScienceNOW, October 14.

World Organisation for Animal Health.
- "Animal Disease Information Summaries: Rinderpest."
- "A Brief History of Rinderpest (cattle plague)."

• Seeds
Tripp, Robert. 2003. "How to Cultivate a Commercial Seed Sector." Paper prepared for the symposium "Sustainable Agriculture in the Sahel." pp. 1-4, 9-10.

Hurst, Blake. 2010. "Green Menace: To Saddle Hungry Haitians with American Romanticism about Agriculture is the Worst Kind of Imperialism." The American (July).

Monsanto Corporation. "Food Inc, FAQs"

• Pest Management
U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2013. "Pesticide" in In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed.) Encyclopedia of the Earth

Nelson, Douglas, and Alexander Rinkus. 2011. "The Hi-Tech Agriculture Imperative." The American Magazine (November 8).

Unsworth, John. 2010. "History of Pesticide Use." IUPAC. 

• Fertilizers
- General
Cornell, Joseph. D. 2010. "Fertilizer" In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Earth.

Fertilizer Canada. "FAQs." 

McGuire, Andrew. 2017. "Can Manure Supply Nitrogen and Phosphorus to Agriculture?" CSANR (Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources), Washington State University (September 7). 

- Nitrogen
Cowen, Richard. Essays on Geology, History and People. (Under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press), Ch. 16 ("Guano," "Nitrates")

The Canadian Encyclopedia. Fertilizer

Romero, Simon. 2008. "Peru Guards Its Guano as Demand Soars Again." The New York Times, May 30.

BBC Bitesize. Fertilisers - The Haber Process

- Potash
Potash - The Canadian Encyclopedia

- Phosphate
Van Kauwenbergh, Steven J. 2010. World Phosphate Rock Reserves and Resources. International Fertilizer Development Center (Executive Summary, pp. 11-12).

- Pesticides
Hurst, Blake. 2016. "So Many Regulations to Write, So Many Groups to Offend." Agri-Pulse (June 17). 

Grapedoc. 2016. "How can Pesticides be Safe?" Pop Agriculture (December 12). 

• Prescriptive planting
[Schumpeter]. 2014. "Digital disruption on the farm. Managers in the most traditional of industries distrust a promising new technology." The Economist (May 24).

• Plasticulture
CIPA (Comitι International des Plastiques en Agriculture). "Plasticulture: Definition." 

• Food fortification
BASF. 2009. The Fortification of Food Staples.

• Food waste
Institute of Mechanical Engineers. 2013. Global Food Waste Not, Want Not. Feeding the 9 Billion: The Tragedy of Waste.

Gustavsson, Jenny, Christel Cederberg, Ulf Sonesson, Robert van Otterdijk and Alexandre Meybeck. 2011. "Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention." FAO (Executive Summary).

"About the Buzz: Frozen and Canned Fruits and Vegetables vs Fresh."
Fassler, Joe. 2017. "We've all heard the staggering statistics about food waste. A new study says they're wrong." The New Food Economy (June 21).
Historian Rachel Laudan on food waste
- Isn't It Crucial to Have Some Food 'Waste'? (March 15, 2016)
- Why I Happily 'Waste' Food (March 30, 2017)

Lusk, Jayson. 2013. "Economically Optimal Food Waste." 

Bellemare, Marc F. 2017. "On the Measurement of Food Waste." 

Suggested readings and links

Weeks 11-12 (March 18-25): Policy Controversies I & II: Environment, Biotechnologies and Organic Production

Required Videos

The Forest Transition
Noack, Rick. 2014. "Watch: How Europe is Greener now than 100 Years Ago." Washington Post (December 4). 

Livestock and new technologies
Meat News Network. 2015. "Myth: The Use of Modern Technologies to Raise Animals has done More Harm than Good (with Jayson Lusk)." 

Tony Weis. 2012. "What is the Ecological Hoofprint?

Livestock and the environment
Angus TV. 2012. "I Am Angus: Dr. Jude Capper, Washington State University." 

Stossel. "Why Grass-Fed Beef is Worse for the Environment." (November 19, 2010).

Tony Weis. 2012. "What are the Possible Solutions to Environmental Problems posed by Industrial Livestock Production?

Vegeterianism Vs Meat Production
CAST. 2013. Animal Feed vs. Human Food: Challenges and Opportunities in Sustaining Animal Agriculture Toward 2050. CAST Issue Paper#53 (Video).

Meath the Truth. 2007 (Full video; Trailer).

Biotechnologies and Organic
Stossel. "Would you Feast on Genetically Engineered Food?" (November 19, 2010).

Grocery Store Wars

Mercola. 2015. "The Organic Life" (trailer).

Prager University. 2015. "Are GMOs Good or Bad?"

Breakthrough Institute. 2018. "Fixing Nitrogen."

Monsanto Company. 2018. "Making a GMO Revealed." 

Mangan, Mary. 2018. "'Well Fed': Dutch documentary challenges rich countries' anti-GMO views." Medium (April 10) (2:00 - 6:00). 2018. "The Corn of the Future Is Hundreds of Years Old and Makes Its Own Mucus."

Only Organic 2015. New MacDonald

Required readings

• Environment (General)
- Long-term Historical Perspective
Erle C. Ellis. 2011. "Forget Mother Nature: This is a World of our Making." New Scientist 2816 (June 14).

- Current Perspectives and Debates
World Bank. 2007. World Development Report 2008: Agriculture and Development, Policy Brief
- Agriculture and the Environment

OECD. 2004. Agriculture and the Environment: Lessons Learned from a Decade of OECD Work (Executive Summary).

Rockefeller University Newswire. "Changes in Population Growth, Consumption and Farming begin to Return Former Farmlands to Nature."
December 21, 2012.

Stuckey, James, Jean-Charles Le Vallιe and Caitlin Charman. 2013. Reducing the Risk: Addressing the Environmental Impacts of the Food System. Conference Board of Canada (Executive Summary).

- Indicators (Overview)
(Browse) OECD. Agri-Environment Indicators (Key points)

• Biodiversity and Monocultures
- Biodiversity (General)
Bailey, Ron. 2010. "Invasion of the Invasive Species! Local Biodiversity is Increasing Because of Man, not Despite Him." Reason (November).

Avery, Dennis. 2010. "Biodiversity: Losing which Species?" CFACT, November 9.

Karlsson, Ida. 2016. "Climate-Resistant Beans Could Save Millions." ISP News (December). 

Bailey, Ronald. 2018. "High Yield Modern Farming Better for the Environment, Says Nature Study. Low yield organic farming uses up lots more land and harms biodiversity." Reason (September 20). 

- Pros and Cons of Monocultures
DeGregori, Thomas. 2003. "The Anti-Monoculture Mania." Butteflies and Wheels.

Singh, Aradhana. 2011. "Diversification in agriculture." In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed). Encyclopedia of the Earth.

McGuire, Andrew. 2015. "Monoculture vs. Polyculture Part I: "Straight up" beats "cocktails" for cover crop productivity." CSANR (Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources - Washington State University) (June 8).

• Soil Erosion and Degradation
Cutler J. Cleveland (ed). Encyclopedia of the Earth
- Pidwimy, Michael. 2013. "Soil Erosion and Deposition."

Cunfer, Geoff. 2004. "The Dust Bowl." Eh.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History.

• Meat Production and the Environment
Knight, Meredith. 2018. "Why humans started eating meat-and is it critical for our diet?" Genetic Literacy Project (March 30). 

Canadian Encyclopedia on Agriculture 
- Ranching history
- Beef cattle farming

The Breakthrough Institute 
- The Meat Problem
- The Pasture Problem 

- Critics of Meat Production
"New Report Reveals the Environmental and Social Impact of the 'Livestock Revolution'." Stanford Report, March 16, 2010.

Monbiot, George. 2010. "Strong Meat." The Guardian, September 7.

FAO. 2014. Tackling Climate Change through Livestock.

Molina Vale, Petterson. 2014. "Book Review: The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock by Tony Weiss." LSE Review of Books (March 4).

UN FAO. 2006. Livestock Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, Executive Summary (pp. xx-xxiv).

Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. 2008. Final Report: Putting Meat on The Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America (Executive Summary).

UN FAO. 2010. The State of Food and Agriculture 2009: Livestock in the Balance (Summary).

Harari, Yuval Noah. 2015. "Industrial Farming is One of the Worst Crimes in History." The Guardian (Sept 25).

Hamblin, James. 2017. "If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef. With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals." The Atlantic (August 2).

Shepon, Alon, Gidon Eshel, Elad Noor, and Ron Milo. 2018. "The opportunity cost of animal based diets exceeds all food losses." PNAS 115 (15) 3804-3809. 

- Defenders of Meat and Modern Production Methods
Canadian Cattlemen's Association 
- Beef production 101
- Cow-calf production
- Backgrounding and finishing
- Feedlot operation 
- Feed 
- Feedlot health management

"The Truth about Gestation Stalls." Hoosier Farm Babe Tell Tails (August 8, 2012).

Archer AM, Mike. 2001. "Ordering the Vegetarian Meal? There's more Animal Blood on your Hands." The Conversation (December 15).

Chinn, Chris. 2014. "PEDV - Here's your sign!" ChrisChinn.

Cooper, David. 2012. "Capper: Efficiency the Key to Beef Sustainability." Progressive Cattleman (January 23). 

Martin, Rod. 2012. "Agriculture Has a Long History of Being Green." (May 4).

Hurst, Blake. 2010. "In Defense of Chewers of Cud." Today's Farmer Online.

Stossel, John. 2010. "Busting Another Food Myth." Fox News (November 18).

Hayes, Shannon. 2012. "Meat - not Grains - to Live Sustainably." Robb Wolf (November 15).

Avery, Dennis. 2009. "Giving Up Meat to Save the Planet?" CFACT News (August 20).

Center for Consumer Freedom. 2010. "'Chef Pollan's Daily Special: Lousy Advice" January 19.

Wilkinson, James. 2017. "How the rise of veganism could ruin America: Study warns if every person went meat-free there would be a public health disaster." Daily Mail (November 18) (original study).

Watson, Keir. 2018. "The Case for Sustainable Meat." Quillette (April 5).

Tree, Isabella. 2018. "If you want to save the world, veganism isn't the answer." The Guardian (August 25).

Splitter, Jenny. "Better Living Through Technology: Why Feedlot Cows Might Be Happier Cows." The Breakthrough 8 (Winter).

Mitloehner, Frank. 2018. "Cows are getting a bad rap and it's time to set the record straight: Giving up meat won't save the planet." The Conversation (December 25).

• Biotechnologies
- Historical context
Genetic Literacy Project. 2014. "What would Food Look Like without Modifications?" (June 19). 

Kastrinos, Amanda. 2015. "Pasta? Ruby grapefruits? Why organic devotees love foods mutated by radiation and chemicals." Genetic Literacy Project (February 5). 

Kaskey, Jack. 2013. "Breeding Mutant Crops Widespread: Seeds, genetically changed by radiation, face no regulatory hurdles, despite safety concerns." Bloomberg News/Vancouver Sun (November 16).

- Overview
WHO (World Health Organization) on
- Food, Genetically Modified
- 20 Questions on Genetically Modified (GM) Food

National Research Council (Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources). 2010. "Genetically Engineered Crops may Benefit Many Farmers, but the Technology Needs Proper Management to Remain Effective." News from the National Academies (April 13).

Popoff, Mischa. 2015. "There's no Reason Why GMOs shouldn't be Considered Organic." The Daily Caller (November 4).

Katiraee, Layla. 2017. "Infographic: Why single out GMOs-one of many forms of crop modification-for labeling?" Genetic Literacy Project (August 24).

Savage, Steve. 2018. "Mother Nature? More like 'Mad Scientist Mama'-creator of chemicals good and bad for humans." Genetic Literacy Project (October 19).

- Critics (general)
Friends of the Earth. 2014. Who Benefits from GM Crops? (Executive Summary).

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas et al. 2014. "The Precautionary Principle (with Application to the Genetic Modification of Organisms)." Extreme Risk Initiative (New York University).

Trillium Asset Management. 2018. The Case against Genetically Modified Crops: An Environmental Investor's View of the Threat oto our Global Food Systems (January). 

- Supporters (general)
Bailey, Ronald. 2008. "Are Farmers Stupid, or Deluded, or Both? - Friends of the Earth Misinforms on Crop Biotech Again." Reason Online, February 19.

Beyer Beware. "What you Need to Know about Monsanto and GMO Feed." (May 21, 2013).

Entine, Jon. 2014. "The Debate about GMO Safety is Over, Thanks to a New Trillion Meal Study." Forbes (Sept 17). 

Ridley, Matt. 2015. "Genetic Modification Raises Yields and Cuts Pesticide Use." The Rational Optimist (January 20). 

Ridley, Matt. 2011. "Africa Needs Biotech Crops." Rational Optimist (December 12).

Walton, Dave. 2015. "GMO Myth: Farmers "drown" crops in "dangerous" glyphosate. Fact: They use eye droppers." Genetic Literacy Project (January 22). 

Savage, Steven. 2016. "Why I Don't Buy Organic, And Why You Might Not Want To Either." Forbes (March 19). 

• Topical
- GMOs and pesticides
Cowen, Tyler. 2012. "GMOs and pesticide use (an email from Greg Conko)" Marginal Revolution (October 26).

- GMOs and developing economies
Ibrahim, Abdulrazak. 2014. "Africa On GMOs: Scientific Response To Anti-technology NGOs." Leadership (August 17).

Suresh, Arvind. 2014. "Kenya's Maize Famine underscores Need for Africa to Confront GMO Fears." (December 8).

CGIAR Research Program (Maize). 2014. "Improved Maize to Boost Yields in Nitrogen-starved African Soils." (December 10).

Ongu, Isaac. 2017. "Hidden hunger: How anti-GMO activists are blocking humanitarian biofortification in Africa and Asia." Genetic Literacy Project (September 12).

Ridley, Matt. 2017. "Beware the Fall Armyworm." Rational Optimist (November 27).

- Specific crops
De Steur, H. et al. 2015. "Status and Market Potential of Transgenic Biofortified Crops." Nature Biotechnology 33 (1): 25-29. 

Ropeik, David. 2014. "Golden Rice Opponents Should Be Held Accountable for Health Problems Linked to Vitamin A Deficiency." Scientific American (Blog) (March 15). 

Harmon, Amy. 2013. "A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA." New York Times (July 27).

Bailey, Ronald. 2019. "Life-Saving Golden Rice Finally Gets to Poor Farmers Despite Environmentalist Opposition." Reason (March 7). 

- The Seralini Affair
Elsevier. 2013. "Elsevier Announces Article Retraction from Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology." (November 28).

- Biodiversity Ownership
Gepts, Paul. 2004. "Who Owns Biodiversity, and How Should the Owners Be Compensated?" Plant Physiology 134 (4): 1295-1307. 

• Organic
- Overview

Remington, Jess. 2014. "The Truth About Who Owns Organic Food Companies, In One Chart." Policy.Mic (February 20).

"Is Organic Food Worth the Expense?" Room to Debate - The New York Times (September 10, 2012).

Government of Canada. General Principles and Management Standards (CAN/CGSB-32.310-2006) replace with Government of Canada. 2018. Organic production systems. General principles and management standards (CAN/CGSB-32.310-2015) (Introduction). 

Ritchie, Hannah. 2017. "Is organic really better for the environment than conventional agriculture?" Our World in Data.

The Breakthrough. 2018. The Synthetic-Organic Debate.

- GMOs and organic foods
Charles, Dan. 2014. "Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy." NPR (The Salt) (February 28).

Moore, Patrick and Mischa Popoff. 2014. "Organic Activists Need GMOs Now more than Ever." Daily Caller (April 1).

Fedoroff, Nina, Ken Cassman and Marshall Matz. 2014. "Americans Need to Rethink their Concern on GMO vs. Organic Crops on Organic Food." DesMoines Register (November 22). 

Ongu, Isaac. 2015. "Death of British journalist after eating organic peanuts highlights absurdity of GMO safety scare."  Genetic Literacy Project (March 18).

Colwell, Brian. 2017. "A Giant-Sized History of Biotechnology." Brian D. Colwell Blog (June 1). 

• Supporters
The Soil Association (UK)
- What is organic
* Organic Farming
* Organic Animals

Canada Organic Trade Association
- Health Benefits
- Environmental Benefits
- Organics and GMOs 

• Critics
- Overview

Hurst, Blake. 2012. "Organic Illusions." The American Magazine (October 1st).

Berezow, Alex B. 2014. "The Lies that Whole Foods Tells." Real Clear Science (June 16).

Miller, Henry H. 2015. "Chipotle: The Long Defeat Of Doing Nothing Well." Forbes (December 14). 

Lusk, Jayson. 2014. "Organic Vs Conventional Crop Yields." (May 5).

Savage, Steven. 2016. "Why I Don't Buy Organic, And Why You Might Not Want To Either." Forbes (March 19).

Lomborg, Bjψrn. 2016. "Think Organic Food is Better for You, Animals, and the Planet? Think again." Telegraph (June 12).

Zaruk, David. 2017. "Viewpoint: 12 ways organic activists mislead consumers." Genetic Literacy Project (December 6).

McDivitt, Paul. 2018. "Does GMO corn increase crop yields? 21 years of data confirm it does-and provides substantial health benefits." Genetic Literacy Project (February 19).

Hurst, Blake. 2018. "CRISPR will Make GMOs Ubiquitous." National Review (March 19).

Miller, Henry I. 2018. "The Organic Food Industry Gets Fat on Lies." Real Clear Science (September 29).

Miller, Henry I. 2018. The Organic Food Hoax. Hoover Institution.

- Environment
Porterfield, Andrew. 2018. "Sustainability advantage: 'High-yield' intensive agriculture outpaces organic farming, large study shows." Genetic Literacy Project (October 1).

Afedraru, Lominda. 2018. "Why Ugandan banana breeders say it's critical to add genetic engineering to their toolbox." Genetic Literacy Project (October 10).

- Culture
Schaefer Riley, Naomi. 2014. "The Tyranny of the Organic Mommy Mafia." The New York Post (April 19).

Kloor, Keith. 2014. "The GMO-Suicide Myth." 30 (2) (Winter).

- Nutrition
Brandt, Michelle. 2012. "Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, Stanford study finds." Office of Communications & Public Affairs - Stanford University School of Medicine (September 3).

Porterfield, Andrew. 2017. "Vitamins, nutrients can be harder to find in organic, non-GMO foods." Genetic Literacy Project (August 4). 

- Pesticides
Iltan, Cigdem. 2010. "Organic Pesticides can be Worse than Synthetic: Study." The Globe and Mail (June 22).

Berezow, Alex. 2017. "What Good Is Whole Foods If Its Food Is Poisoned?" ACSH (January 25).

Porterfield, Andrew. 2017. "Winemakers abandoning organic status for sustainability, improved taste." Genetic Literacy Project (June 9).

Israel, Brett. 2017. "Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children." Berkeley News (August 14).

Porterfield, Andrew. "Organic fungicide copper sulfate poses dangers to humans, animals, insects-how does it compare to conventional pesticides?" Genetic Literacy Project (November 16).

- Animals
Finz, Stacy. 2009. "Bill would restrict antibiotics in food animals." San Francisco Chronicle (July 30).

Kim Klotins. 2005. "Antibiotic Use For Growth Improvement - Controversy And Resolution." OMAFRA.

Suggested readings and links

Week 13 (April 1): Policy Controversies: Food Safety, Food Security and Locavorism

Required Videos

Deadline for written assignments 2 and 3

Friend of the Earth Europe. 2014. Feeding Europe: food sovereignty and agro-ecology.
Hellmanns - Buy Canadian Local Food Commercial. 2012.

Marketplace. 2017. Farm Fresh?

Marginal Revolution University. 2015. Are We Better Off If We Buy Local?

PBS Newshours. 2015. "What Cuba can teach America about organic farming." (January 19). 

Required readings

• Locavorism
- Historical perspective
BBC News. 2012. "Groceries 'cheaper' now than in 1862, Grocer magazine finds." (January 6).

- Overview of the issues
Bellemare, Marc F. 2008. "Why Africa's Food Markets Are Thin." The News & Observer (Raleigh). April 25.

- Current debates
- Supportive
"Infographic: Locavorism vs. globavorism." MNN - Mother Nature Network, August 10, 2011.

Halweil, Brian. 2002. "Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market." WorldWatch paper #163, Worldwatch Institute, pp. 5-8.

- Critical
Bailey, Ronald. 2008 "The Food Miles Mistake - Saving the Planet by Eating New Zealand Apples," Reason, November 4.

Gray, Nathan. 2013. "Frozen Fruit and Vegetable might be more Nutritious than Fresh: Research." Food Navigator (October 11).

Sexton, Steven, 2009. "Does Local Production Improve Environment and Health Outcomes?" ARE Updates 13 (2): 5-8.

"Balanced diet includes local and imported food, say IIED, Oxfam" IIED (Press Release), December 3rd, 2009.

- Hunger and Food Security
World Food Programme. 2018. 2018 Global Report on Food Crises (Key Messages).

- Famine and Its Eradication (Historical Perspective)
Carmody, Pαdraig. 2009. "Famine: A Short History." Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review 9 (Autumn): 82-85. 

Tupy, Marian L. 2018. "How Humanity Won the War on Famine." CapX (August 16).

- Food Sovereignty or Trade Liberalization?
- Overview
Clapp, Jennifer. 2015. Food Security and International Trade. Unpacking Disputed Narratives. FAO.

Philip D. Roberts. 2013. What is the Evidence of the Impact of Agricultural Trade Liberalisation on Food Security in Developing Countries? A Systematic Review. London: EPPICentre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London (Abstract and Executive Summary).

- Food Sovereignty
Food Secure Canada. What is Food Sovereignty? 

Edelman, Marc. 2002. "Price of Free Trade Is Famine." Los Angeles Time (March 22).
Patel, Raj. 2008. "Food Sovereignty: A Brief Introduction." Food Magazine.

Patel, Raj. 2008. "A man-made famine." The Guardian (April 15). 

- Trade Liberalization and Food Security
Peron, James. 2000. "Food, Famine, and Free Trade. Ehrlich Fails to See That Incentives Change Behavior." (April 1).

DeCapua, Joe. 2011. "Trade Barriers Impede Food Security." VOA (May 15). 

Henderson, Victoria L. 2013. "Celebrity Scientist Thinks Canadians Should Sustain Poverty, Cuban-Style." Panam Post (November 5, 2013). 

Suggested readings and links

Final Exam

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