FB1FD1-Food Dilemmas: Production, Security and Health

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: FB2AG1 Farm to Fork: Primary production of food commodities
Module version for: 2012/3

Module Convenor: Dr Carol Wagstaff

Email: C.Wagstaff@reading.ac.uk

To provide students from all disciplines with an understanding of how food production has driven the structure of society across the globe, of the major issues facing food supply for future populations and how food is intrinsically linked to health and wellbeing.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On completion of the module the student should be able to:
•Discuss aspects of the history of agriculture and how it has shaped society
•Explain the generic principles of the food chain
•Describe the principles of sustainability in food production.
•Discuss the some of the key public health consequences of food production and cultural differences such as organic, halal, biodynamics, protected crop production.
•Discuss the implications of food security issues such as food miles, seasonality, population growth, water, feed, fuel and land use competition

Additional outcomes:
Students will develop a number of key skills such as critical evaluation, presentation and writing skills for a number of different audiences

Outline content:
1.History of agriculture and how it shaped society (2h) Carol Wagstaff and Paddy Woodman
2.Introduction to food security (1h) Carol Wagstaff
3.Seasonal, local or global? Introduction plus class discussion (2h) Carol Wagstaff
4.The green revolution and “the doubly green revolution”. (2h) Peter Gregory
5.Land use: fuel, feed or food? (2h) Carol Wagstaff
6.Water security and sustainability (2h) Andrew Wade
7.Consumer food choices. A conflict between education and desire? (2h) Marina Della Gusta and Rachel McCloy (from 2013)
8.Food production and consumption and consequences for public health nutrition (2h) Danny Commane
9.Cultural influences on food choice (2h) Carol Wagstaff
10.The economic burden of food security (2h) Richard Tiffin
11.Under and over nutrition and the impact on human health (2h) Ian Rowland
12.Food for the future (4h) Bob Rastall and Carol Wagstaff

Additional sessions
1.Debate on global food security (1 x 2h plus preparation time in groups)
2.Food Security blog (introductory session plus monitoring and contributions by various staff members during the course)
3.Food for the Future mini conference (whole day). Talks and poster session. Would be good to get external keynote speaker if possible and sponsorship for refreshments.

Global context:
Food is a requirement for survival and as such is something that everyone can relate to. Food also drives many aspects of culture and social history, defines aspects of health and wellbeing, and is changing the way our planet will look in the future. This module addresses a range of topical issues covering these areas and encourages class debate from the basis of informed opinion. The demand is for food supply to double to meet the demands of a growing population by 2030 and the global population is expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050. These challenges need to be met, and solutions delivered, in the face of climate change, consumer demands for choice, and the requirement to address global health issues. The complex and fascinating problem of global food security – providing sufficient, safe and nutritious food for everyone – will be explored within the module and the implications for societal and cultural behaviour will also be discussed.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module is a cross disciplinary module aimed at students from all faculties. However, it is recognised that some students (primarily in Science and Life Science) will wish to take it during part 2 of their degree when their programme is more flexible. The lectures will be as interactive with the aim of promoting class discussion and increasing awareness of the different disciplines in the group and how each has something to bring to the way that food is produced and consumed. The class will be divided if required to facilitate seminar-style learning and to promote debate. For formal debates students will be divided into multi-disciplinary groups and given some guided preparation time. Each assignment will be associated with a preparation session to enable students from all disciplines to be fully aware of what is expected from them. Assessment methods are varied and are designed to give students from different backgrounds experience of a range of communication methods, from a formal essay, to a blog, debate, presentation and poster. Individual working and team working will both be required in this course. At least one whole day visit is planned to a food production/research facility to give non-specialist students an insight into the food chain. The final pieces of assessment (oral presentation and poster) will be contained within a mini-conference which will give the students involved a real taste of what it is like to communicate their work to an academic audience and the rigour with which they will need to defend their subject material.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14 11
Seminars 2 8
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Supervised time in studio/workshop 6
Guided independent study 78 73
Total hours by term 100 100 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:

Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Project output other than dissertation 40
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
1.Coursework- 20% essay assignment on agriculture and society
2.Coursework – 40% food security blog in teams
3.Coursework – 20% contribution to group presentation and poster on food for the future
4.Coursework – 20% for newspaper article on diet and health

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadine. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.
    (Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guideUG.aspx)

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% average in module

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-submission of coursework

    Last updated: 7 May 2012

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