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University of Toronto Mississauga
Department of Geography • Summer 2013

GGR 499: Independent Research - Organic Agriculture,
Food Security and Local Development

 

 Instructor: Pierre Desrochers

 

 Phone: (905) 828-5206

 

 Website :

 Office: SE 3273 (UTM-Geography)

 

 E-mail: pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca

 

 geog.utm.utoronto.ca/desrochers/

 

Subjects covered

Overview of organic food production controversies (especially regarding sustainability) and discussion of plausibility of increasing both organic and local food production simultaneously.

Evaluation

The final grade will be based on progress reports and oral evaluation in scheduled meetings, along with a final synthesis report. Each progress report will be approximately 5 pages (single space). The oral evaluations will last between 20 and 30 minutes. The final report will be approximately 25 pages (single space).

Written and oral reports on module 1 (15%, July 15, 2013)
Written on oral reports on module 2 (15%, July 29, 2013)
Written and oral reports on module 3 (15%, August 12, 2013)
Final report (55%, August 19, 2013)

Module 1: CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS


MANDATORY READINGS
- Overview
Encyclopedia of the Earth (Cutler J. Cleveland, editor)
- Organic Farming (Michaela Haynes, 2012)

Vogt, Gunter. 2007. "The Origins of Organic Farming." In Lockeretz, William (ed.). Organic Farming, An International History. Cabi, pp. 9-29.

Kirchmann, Holger, Gudni Thorvaldsson, Lars Bergström, Martin Gerzabek, Olof André, Lars-Olov Eriksson and Mikael Winninge. 2008. "Fundamentals of Organic Agriculture - Past and Present." In Holger Kirchmann and Lars Bergström (eds). Organic Crop Production - Ambitions and Limitations. Springer, pp. 13-38.

Winter, Carl K. and Sarah F. Davis. 2006. "Organic Foods." Journal of Food Science 71 (9): R117-R124.

- Related Concepts
Encyclopedia of the Earth (Cutler J. Cleveland, editor)
- Pesticide (Sidney Draggan, 2010)
- Fertilizer (Joseph D. Cornell, 2010)
- Diversification in Agriculture (Aradhana Singh, 2009) 
- Green Revolution (John Perkins, 2011)
- Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) (Heather Dowding, 2012)

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

OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food)
- "Antibiotic Use For Growth Improvement - Controversy And Resolution." (Kim Klotins, 2005)


ADDITIONAL READINGS (browse)
- Canadian Standards and Regulations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Organic Production (2013)
- General Principles of Organic Production (2012)
- Related Sites

Public Works and Government Services Canada
- Standards Committees > Organic Agriculture 32/20: General Principles and Management Standards (2011)
- Permitted Substances List

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Canada Organic Regime: A Certified Choice: Information for Organic Stakeholders (2012)
- Organic Products (2011)

OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture)
- Organic Agricultre

- Others
WHO and FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations: Codex Alimentarius (International Food Standards)
- About Codex


Module 2: CONTROVERSIES


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

Bergström, Lars, Holger Kirchmann and Gudni Thorvaldsson. 2008. "Widespread Opinions about Organic Agriculture - Are They Supported by Scientific Evidence?" In Holger Kirchmann and Lars Bergström (eds). Organic Crop Production - Ambitions and Limitations. Springer, pp. 1-12.

- Specific Controversies
>Total Production and Yields
Kirchmann, Holger, Lars Bergström, Thomas Kätterer, Olof Andrén and Rune Andersson. 2008. "Can Organic Production Feed the World?" In Holger Kirchmann and Lars Bergström (eds). Organic Crop Production - Ambitions and Limitations. Springer, pp. 39-72.

Doran, John W., Alex Avery, Catherine Badgley, Ivette Perfecto, M. Jahi Chappell and Andrea Samulon. 2007. "Commentary and Responses." Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 22 (4): 321-329.

Avery, Alex, David Pimentel, Paul Hepperly, James Hanson, David Douds and Rita Seidel. 2005. "Organic and Conventional Agriculture Reconsidered." BioScience 55 (10): 820.

Seufert, Verena, Navin Ramankutty & Jonathan A. Foley. 2012. "Comparing the Yields of Organic and Conventional Agriculture." Nature 485 (May 10): 229-232.

>Nutrition
Smith-Spangler, Crystal, Margaret L. Brandeau, Hunter, G.E., Clay Bavinger, Pearson, M., Eschbach, P.J., Vandana Sundaram, Hau Liu, Schirmer, P., Stave, C., Ingram Olkin, Dena M. Bravata. 2012. "Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier than Conventional Alternatives? A Systematic Review." Annals of Internal Medicine 157 (5) - [Note: also read Michelle Brandt. 2012. "Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, Stanford study finds." Office of Communications & Public Affairs - Stanford University School of Medicine (September 3)]

Dangour, Alain D. Sakhi K. Dodhia, Arabella Hayter, Elizabeth Allen, Karen Lock and Ricardo Uauy. 2009. "Nutrional Quality of Organic Foods: A Systematic Review." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 93 (6): 680-685.

>Certification
Popoff, Mischa and Patrick Moore. 2012. Canada's Organic Nightmare. FCPP Policy Series 143 (October).

>Environmental Impact
Rosenthal, Elisabeth. 2011. "Questions About Organic Produce and Sustainability." NYTimes.com (December 30).

Alex A. Avery, C. S. Prakash, Alan McHughen, Anthony R. Trewavas, Thomas R. DeGregori and David Pimentel. 2005. "What Kind of Farming Works Best?" Science NS 307 (5714): 1410-1411.


Module 3: FOOD SECURITY AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT


MANDATORY READINGS
- Carbon Fuels and Organic Agriculture
Günther, Folke. 2001. "Fossil Energy and Food Security." Energy and Environment 12 (4): 253-273.

Smil, Vaclav. 2013. "Memories of Peak Oil." The American (February 21).

- Organic Agriculture, Globalization and Food Security
Bach, Christian Friis. 2006. "Organic Farming in a World of Free Trade." In Niels Halberg, Hugo F. Alrøe, Marie Trydeman Knudsen and Erik Steen Kristensen (eds). 2006. Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects. Cabi Publishing, pp. 135-152

Haldberg, Niels, Timothy B. Sulser, Henning Høgh-Jensen, Mark W. Rosegrant and Marie Trydeman Knudsen. 2006. "The Impact of Organic Farming on Food Security in a Regional and Global Perspective." In Niels Halberg, Hugo F. Alrøe, Marie Trydeman Knudsen and Erik Steen Kristensen (eds). 2006. Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects. Cabi Publishing, pp. 277-322.

Halberg, Niels, Hugo F. Alrøe and Erik Steen Kristensen. 2006. "Synthesis: Prospects for Organic Agriculture in a Global Context." In Niels Halberg, Hugo F. Alrøe, Marie Trydeman Knudsen and Erik Steen Kristensen (eds). 2006. Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects. Cabi Publishing, pp. 343-368.


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