Pierre Desrochers

GGR 419 – Geography of Food: Geographical Patterns and Environmental Impacts

Period: Fall 2014
Instructor: Pierre DesrochersOffice: Davis Building, room 3273
Lectures: Monday 7-9 PMLecture room: CC 2150
Phone: (905) 828-5206E-mail: pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca

This seminar course examines the geographic patterns and environmental impacts of our food production and distribution system. Topics include the sustainability of the current system, as well as alternatives to the norm. The geographic focus is Southern Ontario. Topics such as food miles, urban agriculture, and small scale production systems are also evaluated. This course fulfills one field day.

The course format will alternate between formal classes and open discussions. Students are expected to have read the assigned texts in advance.

The course has five (5) main objectives:

  1. Identify global geographical patterns and methods of food production;
  2. Explore the environmental impacts of modern and alternative food systems;
  3. To improve your ability to critically analyze and write clearly on a number of issues;
  4. To familiarize yourself with 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 writing a critical piece of policy analysis.
1) Written Assignment 110%September 30
2) Term Test20%October 21
3) Written Assignment 220%December 2
4) Written Assignment 315%December 2
5) Final Exam35%TBA

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 discussed 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.

Discussions of the test/exam and written assignments can be found below.

All readings for this course are freely available to U of T’s students through the course Website.

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.

A set of questions will be given in advance. Students will be asked to answer a number of these during the test along with one or two open-ended questions. PowerPoint slides presented during the lectures WILL NOT be posted online. Note that everything discussed in class can the subject of the open-ended questions. No documentation is allowed during the tests.

You will be asked 6-8 questions from the following list (more questions will be added each week). Your answers should rely on both the mandatory readings and your class notes. You are strongly encouraged to use bullet point form. The questions will be weighted differently (in other words, some questions require very brief answers, while others will require more detailed treatments). Please write legibly and leave enough space between each answer in your exam booklet (in other words, try to make the life of your TA easier…)


Office hours are Monday 5:30 – 7PM, Davis 3273. You can contact me at pierre.desrochers@utoronto.ca.

Please read the course syllabus before e-mailing a question.

Always use your University of Toronto e-mail address (@utoronto.ca) 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., GGR329) 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 (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca).

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 http://www.enough.utoronto.ca/ for information on university policy concerning the appropriate use of information and communication technology.


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:

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 you will use embedded hyperlinks instead of traditional citations. Here is how to create or edit a hyperlink. Please note that a hyperlink is only a link to the original document. You are not expected to provide a page or any further information.

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 Turnitin.com 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 Turnitin.com 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 Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site (www.Turnitin.com). 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 Turnitin.com 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.

Turnitin.com course ID: XXXXX.
The Turnitin key (password) will be given in class and through Quercus.


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.


  • Can the lack of economic development in most parts of the tropical world today be attributed to some unique environmental characteristics (e.g., soils, diseases) of tropical regions? (Lectures 1 and 12)
  • Was agriculture humanity’s worst mistake and would we and the planet have been better off if our ancestors had remained hunter-gatherers? (Lectures 4-5)
  • Can the fact that some tropical forested regions such as the Amazon basin are not as pristine as was once thought justify their large-scale economic development? (Lectures 7-8)
  • What is environmental colonialism and can we use this concept to justify greater human activities / encroachments in wildlife preserves in Africa and other parts of the world where employment opportunities are limited? (Lectures 7-8)

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.

Due: Monday, September 30th @ 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:

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, year and the exact wording of the question you are answering in your assignment;
  • Table of contents, including page number for each section;
  • 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 and be numbered;
  • Reference/Citation style: ENDNOTES. Format of your choice, but you must be consistent.

Due: Monday, December 2nd @ 23:59 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. In the old days of printed newspapers citations and references were not expected in an op-ed. Nowadays, editors typically ask for hyperlinks. Please use them to provide links to the original documents your are quoting or using numbers from. Limit your use of hyperlink to one word or number. For instance, use the link for an author’s name rather than a full quote.

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

Due: Monday, December 2nd @ 23:59 via Turnitin

This is the departmental policy for late assignments and missed tests.

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. Accommodations due to late registration into the course will NOT be approved.

In-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 @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest 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):
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 @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest. 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: 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 (http://www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca/getattachment/index/Verification-of-Illness-or-Injury-form-Jan-22-2013.pdf.aspx).

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

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.

**Extension of time will NOT be approved for Group Assignments

The following steps must be completed in order to be considered for academic accommodation for any assignment extensions. Please note that assignments handed in AFTER the work has been returned to the class cannot be marked for credit and accommodations due to late registration into the course will NOT be approved.

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 @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest 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 (http://www.illnessverification.utoronto.ca/getattachment/index/Verification-of-Illness-or-Injury-form-Jan-22-2013.pdf.aspx).

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/ACORN 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. http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/index.php?id=6988

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 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 (sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca) 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
email: sabrina.ferrari@utoronto.ca

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 edo.utm@utoronto.ca or the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union Vice President Equity at vpequity@utmsu.ca.

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 turnitin.com (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.

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.

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
E-mail: access.utm@utoronto.ca
Web: www.utm.utoronto.ca/accessability/

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 www.utm.utoronto.ca/accessability/potential-notetakers.)

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 accessvolunteers.utm@utoronto.ca, or drop by the Centre (room 2047, Davis Building).

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 www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/publicationsandpolicies/guidelines/religiousobservances.htm.

As with any academic accommodation request, students must submit an on-line Special Consideration Request @ https://utmapp.utm.utoronto.ca/SpecialRequest.

Some of the topics covered in this seminar are discussed in either more breath or depth in some of my other courses. You might want to check them out.

  • GGR 287 – Food and Globalization (A broad overview of the subject. I have arranged thematically a great deal of reference and source materials)

  • GGR 329 – Environment and the Roots of Globalization (Contains more in-depth coverage of the origins of agriculture)

  • GGR 489 – Special Topics in Human Geography: The (Re)Localization of Food Production: Debates and Controversies (Probably the most detailed on-line resource on locavorism anywhere.)

  • GGR 489 – Special Topics in Human Geography: Cities, Industry and the Environment (Week 5 contains more in-depth coverage on the history of deforestation)

Week 1 (September 8): Introduction
Week 2 (September 15): The Global and Canadian Pictures
Week 3 (September 22): Traditional Agriculture
Week 4 (September 29): Modern Farming and the Green Revolution DEADLINE ASSIGNMENT #1
Week 5 (October 6): Critics of Agri-Business
Week 6 (October 13): Thanksgiving – No Class
Week 7 (October 20): Defenders of Agri-Business
Week 8 (October 27): Agriculture and the Environment
Week 9 (November 3): Food Security
Week 10 (November 10): Locavorism I
Week 11 (November 17): Locavorism II
Week 12 (November 24): To Liberalize or Not? I
Week 13 (December 1): To Liberalize or Not? II DEADLINE ASSIGNMENTS #2 & 3


Penn & Teller. 2003. “Eat This!” BS (Episode 11)

Fresco, Louise. 2009. “Feeding the World. The Case for White Bread.” Ted Talk (February 3)

Iowa Public Television. 2010. “Pollan and Hurst Debate the Future of Agriculture.” Market to Market (July 16)


– Issues and Facts
Foley, Jon. 2014. “Feeding the World.” National Geographic Magazine (May).

Starling, Shane. 2014. “World’s Most Obese Nation? Kuwait (and the Next Four are Middle Eastern)” Food Navigator (November 3). 

– Controversies and Debates
Dubner, Stephen. 2013. “Freakonomics: Can the McDouble Save Humanity?” NPR Marketplace (July 3) (and listen to the audio).

Gongloff, Mark. 2013. “No, The McDonald’s McDouble is not the ‘Greatest Food in Human History.'” Huffington Post (July 30).

Anonymous. 2014. “Changing Global Diets is Vital to Reducing Climate Change.” University of Cambridge Research (Sept 1).

Twilley, Nicola. 2014. “What Do Chinese Dumplings have to do with Global Warming?” The New York Times Magazine (July 25).

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

Hurst, Blake. 2009. “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals.” The American (July 30).

Hurst, Blake. 2015. “American farmers as peasants? Really?” Agri-Pulse.

Laudan, Rachel. 2001. “A Plea for Culinary Modernism: Why We Should Love New, Fast, Processed Food.” Gastronomica (February): 36-44.


Nothing for now


Nothing for now


British Pathé. 1918. Dear Food Protest AKA Protest against High Food Costs (1914-1918)


Godfray, H. et al. 2010. “The Future of the Global Food System.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365 (1554): 2769-2777

Smil, Vaclav. 2014. “Hoping for China’s Success.” The American (March 28)

Byerlee, Derek and Klaus Deininger. 2013. “Growing Resource Scarcity and Global Farmland Investment.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 5: 13-34

Martin, Larry and Kate Stiefelmeyer. 2011. Canadian Agriculture and Food: A Growing Hunger for Change. MacDonald-Laurier Institute (Hunger for Change Series) (October).


Ehrlich, Paul. R. and Anne H. Ehrlich. 2013. “Can a Collapse of Global Civilization be Avoided?” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280 (1754): 20122845

Kelly, Michael J. 2013. “Why a Collapse of Global Civilization will be avoided: A Comment on Ehrlich & Ehrlich.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280 (1767): 20131193

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. 2014. “An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System 2014.”

Schiffman, Richard. 2013. “Hunger, Food Security, and the African Land Grab.” Ethics & International Affairs 27 (3): 239-249.


Nothing for now


Lancaster University. 2013. Slash and Burn (Part 1: Why Amazonian farmers use fire)

UNDP 2012. “From ‘Slash and Burn’ to Sustainability: Farming Communities in North-eastern India Improve Soil Fertility and Earn Higher Incomes” One Day on Earth (December 12)


Genetic Literacy Project. 2014. “How Your Food would look like if Not Genetically Modified Over the Millenia?

–. 2002. “Heritage Agricultural Systems.” FAO Spotlight.

Tierney, John. 2011. “Fresh and Direct from the Garden an Ocean Away.” The New York Times (August 29)

The Pirbright Institute. 2014. “Disease Facts – Rinderpest

Osborn, Fairfield. 1948. Our Plundered Planet. Boston: Little, Brown and Company (pp. 48-56)

Cormac Ó Gráda, Cormac. 2009. Famine: A Short History. Princeton University Press, Chapter 1.

-Sustainability debate
Leahy, Stephen. 2012. “Traditional Slash and Burn Agriculture Sustainable Solution to Climate Change.” National Geographic News Watch (April 12)

Tainter, Joseph A. 2006. “Archaeology of Overshoot and Collapse.” Annual Review of Anthropology 35: 59-74.


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.


Planet Forward. 2013. Trent McKnight: Slash-and-Burn African Agriculture


Courter Films and Associates. 2009. Freedom from Famine: The Norman Borlaug Story


Reardon, Thomas and C. Peter. Timmer. 2012. “The Economics of the Food System Revolution.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 4: 225-264.

KPMG. 2013. The Agricultural and Food Value Chain – Entering a New Era of Cooperation. KPMG International.

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

Patel, Raj. 2014. “How to Be Curious about the Green Revolution.”


Fernández, Eva. 2014. “Selling Agricultural Products: Farmers’ Cooperatives in Production and Marketing, 1880-1930.” Business History 56 (4): 547-568

Fulton, M. and K. Giannakas. 2013. “The Future of Agricultural Cooperatives.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 5: 61-91.

Scholliers, Peter and Patricia Van Den Eeckhout. 2010. “The Proliferation of Brands: The Case of Food in Belgium, 1890-1940.” Enterprise & Society 13 (1): 53-84.

[US] National Academy of Engineering. 2000. “Agricultural Mechanization.” Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century. NAE.

Gardner. Bruce. 2003. “U.S. Agriculture in the Twentieth Century.” Eh.Net Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History.


CIMMYT. 2014. “Borlaug and the Green Revolution in India – Dr. M.S. Swaminathan.”


Moyers and Company. 2012. “Vandana Shiva on Seeds of Humanity.” (July 11). 

Time Magazine. 2010. “Interviews: Michael Pollan.” (January 23).


Haynes, Michaela. 2014. “Organic Farming.” In Cutler J. Cleveland (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Earth.

Shiva, Vandana. 1991. “The Green Revolution in the Punjab.” The Ecologist 21 (2).

Philpott, Tom. 2011. “Book Review: Why the “Green Revolution” Was Not So Green After All.” Mother Jones (August 5).

Pollan, Michael. 2008. “Farmer in Chief.” The New York Times Magazine (October 9).

Lang, Tim and David Barling. 2012. “Food Security and Food Sustainability: Reformulating the Debate.” Geographical Journal 178 (4): 313-326.

Schumacher Center for a New Economics. 2015. Schumacher Center for a New Economics Cuban Sustainable Food System Delegation, October 27-November 2, 2014.


Nothing for now


Nothing for now


ChrisChinn. 2012. “About.” Food Dialogues (November 15).

Admin. 2014. “Fewer Pesticides and Antioxidants on Organic Crops: So What?” ACSH News (July 14).


– Against Pastoral Nostalgia

Fresco, Louise O. 2011. “Michael Pollan’s Misguided Food Nostalgia.” Zester Daily (February 21).

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

Santhosh, Lakshmi. 2014. “What happens when Big Data meets Big Ag?” Genetic Literacy Project (December 17). 

– Green Revolution

Hazell, Peter. 2002. The Green Revolution: Curse or Blessing? International Food Policy Research Institute.

Orr, Alastair. 2012. “Why Were So Many Social Scientists Wrong about the Green Revolution? Learning from Bangladesh.” Journal of Development Studies 48 (11): 1565-1586.

– Crop Protection Products and Food Safety

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

Kruger, Claire L. 2014. “How Safe is our Food Supply?” Spherix Consulting.

– Organic Food

Hurst, Blake. 2012. “Organic Illusions.” The American (October 1).

Savage, Steve. 2014. “Spending More For Organic Does Not Buy You Pesticide-Free.” Science 2.0 (May 12).

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

Kloor, Keith. 2014. “The GMO Suicide Myth.” Issues in Science and Technology (Winter): 65-70.

Bendzela, Mike. 2013. “Why I’m Through with Organic Farming.” Random Rationality (May 17).


Lusk, Jayson. 2013. “Lunch with Pigou: Externalities and the ‘Hidden’ Cost of Food.” Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 42 (3): 419-435.


Specter, Michael. 2014. “Seeds of Doubt.” The New Yorker (August 25).

Merchant, Gary et al. 2013. “Impact of the Precautionary Principle on Feeding Current and Future Generations.” CAST Issue Paper #52 (Summary of the paper available here – Panel video about the paper available here).


Nothing for now


Nothing for now


Bailey, Ronald. 2011. “The Myth of Pristine Nature (Review of Emma Marris’ Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World).” Reason Foundation (August 16).

Williams, Michael. 2008. “A New Look at Global Forest Histories of Land Clearing.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 33: 345-367.

Fisher, Jon. 2014. “Agriculture Trends: Are We Actually Using Less Land?” Cool Green Science (Nature Conservancy), June 18.

Fischer, Joern et al. 2014. “Land Sparing Versus Land Sharing: Moving Forward.” Conservation Letters 7 (3): 149-157.

Vermeulen, Sonja et al. 2012. “Climate Change and Food Systems.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 37: 195-222.

Bailey, Ronald. 2014. “Can We Save Nature by Making It Economically Useless?” Reason (November 10).

CAST. 2013. Animal Feed vs. Human Food: Challenges and Opportunities in Sustaining Animal Agriculture Toward 2050. CAST Issue Paper#53.


Malhi, Yadvinder et al. 2014. “Tropical Forests in the Anthropocene.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 39.

Doughty, Christopher. 2013. “Preindustrial Human Impacts on Global and Regional Environment.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 38: 503-527.

Derek Byerlee, James Stevenson, Nelson Villoria. 2014. “Does Intensification Slow Crop Land Expansion or Encourage Deforestation?” Global Food Security 3 (2): 92-98. 

Smith, Peter. 2013. “Delivering Food Security without Increasing Pressure on Land.” Global Food Security 2 (1): 18-23. 

Tscharntke, Teja et al.2012. “Global Food Security, Biodiversity Conservation and the Future of Agricultural Intensification.” Biological Conservation 151 (2012) 53-59.


The Anthropocene Project


WTO. 2009. What is the role of the multilateral trading system on world food prices? WTO Forum.

WTO. 2009. The Global Food Crisis: What is the Role of Trade? WTO Forum.


Strange, Richard N. and Peter R. Scott. 2005. “Plant Disease: A Threat to Global Food Security.” Annual Review of Phytopathology 43: 83-116.

Bailey, Ronald. 2014. “Famine No More: The World of Plenty Lies Ahead.” Reason.com (July 18).

Grote, Ulrike. 2014. “Can we Improve Global Food Security? A Socio-economic and Political Perspective.” Food Security 6 (2): 187-200.

Tansey, Geoff. 2013. “Food and Thriving People: Paradigm Shifts for Fair and Sustainable Food Systems.” Food and Energy 2 (1): 1-11.

Desrochers, Pierre and Hiroko Shimizu. 2012. “Liberated from Gruel and Mush.” Spiked! (August 23).

Shafer, Jack. 2009. “The Water-War Myth.” Slate (April 2).


Nothing for now


UN Committee on Global Food Security


The Globe and Mail. 2013. “Video: Rooftop Parking Lot Transformed into ‘Vertical Farm.’” Inside Job (January 24).


Hill, Holly. 2008. “Food Miles: Background and Marketing.” ATTRA-NCAT.

Heynen, Nik, Hilda E. Kurtz and Amy Trauger. 2012. “Food Justice, Hunger and the City.” Geography Compass 6 (5): 304-311.

Hergesheimer, Chris and Emily Huddart Kennedy. 2010. Farmers Markets, Local Food Systems and the Social Economy: A Thematic Literature Review. Balta.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). 2012. Setting the Table for Local Food in Ontario
– Bringing Home More Local Food: McGuinty Government Consulting on the Good Things that Grow in Ontario (June 9)
– McGuinty Government Planning to Introduce Local Food Act (September 12).

Toronto Food Policy Council
– GrowTO Action Plan

CBC News. 2014. “Parking Lot Greenhouse goes Bankrupt in Vancouver. Alterrus Opened North America’s First ‘Vertical Farm’ just over One Year Ago.” CBC News British Columbia (January 24).


Scharf, Kathryn, Charles Levkoe & Nick Saul. 2010. “In Every Community a Place for Food: The Role of the Community Food Centre in Building a Local, Sustainable, and Just Food System.” Metcalf Foundation.

Beshiri, Roland. 2010. “Regions Feeding the City – Can Local Farms Feed Toronto?” In Kenneth B. Beesley. The Rural-Urban Fringe in Canada: Conflict and Controversy. Rural Development Institute (Brandon University), pp. 89-108.


Greenbelt FoundationFood and Farming Research

Foodland Ontario “Finding Local” 


Joel Salatin on local food distribution (from out-of-town software and early morning deliveries to problems with farmers markets). [We will watch from the beginning to about 9:00]


Desrochers, Pierre and Hiroko Shimizu. 2008. “Yes We Have No Bananas: A Critique of the Food Mile Perspective.” Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Primer No. 8.

Edwards-Jones, Gareth. 2010. “Does Eating Local Food Reduce the Environmental Impact of Food Production and Enhance Consumer Health?” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 69 (4): 582-591.

Lusk, Jayson L. and F. Bailey Norwood. 2011. “The Locavore’s Dilemma: Why Pineapples Shouldn’t Be Grown in North Dakota.” Library of Economics and Liberty (January 3).

Werth, Christopher. 2012. “India Battles Malnutrition with Local Product.” PRI’s The World (September 24).

Mann, Susan. 2011. “Consumers Want Local Foods but are Reluctant to Pay More: Survey.” AgMedia Inc (July 12).

Kinney, Allison. 2014. “Lessons from a ‘Local’ Food Scam Artist.” Narratively (September 22).


Nothing for now


Nothing for now


Learn Liberty. 2013. “How Food Regulations Make Us Less Healthy” (July 23).

Learn Liberty. 2012. “Why is There Corn in your Coke?” (November 20)


– Trade Negotiations

Laborde, David and Will Martin. 2012. “Agricultural Trade: What Matters in the Doha Round?” Annual Review of Resource Economics 4: 265-283.

Payton, Laura. 2013. “CETA: Canada-EU free trade deal lauded by Harper, Barroso.” The Globe and Mail (October 18).

CBC News. 2013. “Quebec Cheese Makers Furious over Euro Trade Deal.” (October 16).

Hong, Paul. 2014. “This Has Been a Good Week For Stephen Harper and Canada’s Trade.” Huffington Post (September 28).

– Food Sovereignty

Ayres, Jeffrey and Michael J. Bosia. 2011. “Beyond Global Summitry: Food Sovereignty as Localized Resistance to Globalization.” Globalizations 8 (1): 47-63.

Southgate, Douglas. 2011. “Food Sovereignty: The Idea’s Origins and Dubious Merits.” ATDF Journal 8 (1/2): 18-22.


Anderson, Kym. 2012. “Government Trade Restrictions and International Price Volatility.” Global Food Security 1 (2): 157-166

Chaifetz, Ashley and Pamela Jagger. 2014. “40 Years of Dialogue on Food Sovereignty: A Review and a Look Ahead.” Global Food Security 3 (2): 85-91

Cattaneo, Olivier. 2013. Aid for Trade and Value Chains in Agrifood. WTO and OECD [Summary].


WTO (World Trade Organization)
– The Doha Round  
– “Aid for Trade” program  
– Negotiations on Trade and the Environment

United Nations OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)
– Toolkit on the Right to Food 
– ““Bali package must allow ambitious food security policies” – UN expert on WTO Summit.” (OHCHR News, December 2013).


ByLine. 2013. “Taxpayers Get Milked.” (October 17)

The Source. 2013. “Canada’s Dairy Cartel.” (October 18)


– Philosophy/Ethics

Andrée, Peter, Miranda Cobb, Leanne Moussa and Emily Norgang. 2011. “Building Unlikely Alliances around Food Sovereignty in Canada.” Studies in Political Economy 88 (Autumn): 133-159.

Booker, Grahame. 2014. “The Non-Relevance of a Right to Food.” Journal of Prices and Markets (Papers & Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Toronto Austrian Scholars Conference).

– Supply Restrictions

Clemens, Jason and Brian Lee Crowley (eds). 2012. Milking the System: How Agricultural Supply Management Impedes Trade Opportunities and Egregiously Transfers Income. MacDonald-Laurier Institute.

Ligaya, Armina. 2014. “Ottawa’s Protectionist Policies Contributing to Growing Price Gap between Canada and U.S.: New Study.” National Post (Financial Post) (May 6).

Geloso, Vincent. 2013. “Canada’s Most Socially Regressive Policy: Agricultural Supply Management.” (December 18).


– For Trade Liberalization
Li, Nicholas. 2014. Sticker Shock: The Causes of the Canada-US Price Differential. C.D. Howe Institute Commentary #409 (May 6)

Audet, Kristell. 2013. Liberalization’s Last Frontier: Canada’s Food Trade (Executive Summary), Conference Board of Canada.

Charlebois, Sylvain. 2013. “Opinion: System that Keeps Dairy Prices High Needs Adjustment.” The Gazette (May 13).

Milke, Mark. 2012. “Canada’s Food Cartels Versus Consumers.” Fraser Forum (May-June): 31-33.

Cumming, Ian. 2011. “Flee the Land of Quota.” National Post (March 3).

Robson, William B. P. and Colin Busby. 2010. “Free Up our Food Supply: Phase out Farm Quotas.” National Post, April 8.

Robson, William P. and Colin Busby. 2010. Freeing up Food: The Ongoing Cost, and Potential Reform, of Supply Management. Backgrounder no. 128, CD Howe Institute.

Goldfarb, Danielle. 2009. Making Milk: The Practices, Players, and Pressures behind Dairy Supply Management. Conference Board of Canada.

Charlebois, Sylvain and Richard Pedde. 2008. A Bushel Half Full: Reforming the Canadian Wheat Board. E-brief #68, CD Howe Institute.

Herman, Lawrence L. 2007. American Corn and Canadian Trade Actions: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back. E-brief #42, CD Howe Institute.

Grenon, Éric. 2007. The Stabilization Insurance program and the crisis in the pork industry, Economic Note, Montreal Economic Institute (March).

Goldfarb, Danielle. 2005. Canada at the WTO Negotiations: All Defence, No Offence. E-brief #20, CD Howe Institute.

Hart, Michael. 2005. Great Wine, Better Cheese. How Canada Can Escape the Trap of Agricultural Supply Management. Backgrounder no. 90, CD Howe Institute.

Petkantchin, Valentin. 2005. Dairy Production: The Costs of Supply Management in Canada, Economic Note, Montreal Economic Institute (February).

Mussell, R. Allan, Bob Seguin, and Janalee Sweetland. 2012. Canada’s Supply-Managed Dairy Policy: How Do We Compare?, Conference Board of Canada

Canadian government on CETA 
– CETA and sustainable development
Goff, Patricia. 2014. Transatlantic Economic Agreements. Parsing CETA and TTIP. CIGI Papers #35

– Alternative Approaches
Baker, Lauren et al. 2010. Menu 2020: Ten Good Food Ideas for Ontario, Metcalf Foundation (Executive Summary)

Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. 2002. “Government policies “structurally adjust” Canadian agriculture. Effects on Farmers Devastating.” (Press Release).

Toronto Food Connections. 2010. Cultivating Food Connections. Toward a Healthy and Sustainable Food System for Toronto.

Metcalf Foundation. 2008. Food Connects Us All. Sustainable Local Food in Southern Ontario.

National Farmers Union Policy on Sustainable Agriculture.


– Alternative Approaches
Food Secure Canada

Metcalf Foundation (various reports)

Toronto Food Connection

Toronto Food Policy Council