AP1A02-Introduction to Agricultural and Food Systems

Module Provider: Agriculture
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Jake Bishop

Email: j.bishop@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

To achieve global food security we need to do more than produce more food. This module explains why and introduces you to the factors that influence food security around the world: how climate, people, and markets affect where food is produced, processed, and transported around the world; and how government policies are used to support the food system. You will also learn about the environmental impacts of food production, and the likely impacts of future climate change. This will help you to develop a better understanding of how agricultural and food systems need to change in the future.


This module provides an introduction to the social, economic and environmental factors which influence food production, and food security. Over the 10 weeks learning outcomes span: • Key political and economic factors which affect food supply in Europe; • The influences on world food production, and the predicted changes in food supply in the future; • The role of people in agricultural systems; • Global climate, why and how it varies, how cropping systems are matched to climate, climate changes and impacts; • The systems approach to agro-food systems; and • Examples of wider policy issues and debates At the end of the module you will be able to understand the impact of social, economic and environmental factors of food supply, how it influences you, UK agriculture, and what changes might be expected in the future. The broad themes will be illustrated from case studies from both temperate and tropical climates with the incorporation of scientific, contemporary and

personal sources into teaching material. This module provides grounding for a range of disciplines spanning agricultural, environmental and food science disciplines.

Assessable learning outcomes:


• Demonstrate an understanding of the factors that determine the geographical distribution of agriculture and the influence of climate on productivity and the farming system

• Identify the linkages between social, economic and environmental aspects of food production

• Discuss wider policy issues and overview debates relating to the social factors affecting food and its supply

Additional outcomes:

The module will develop discussion and debate skills, and group work.

Outline content:

- Food in the modern world - UK agriculture and food production -  Climate factors, climate change and food production - Agricultural subsidies - Climate factors, climate change and food production - Agricultural sustainability and biofuels - Agriculture and people- Food Systems and systems thinking - The market factors that drive agricultural production - World agriculture in the future - Debate on global vs local food systems.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
oSeminars oDirected learning oIndependent learning

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study: 80
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 20
Class test administered by School 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:
A one hour examination paper in the Summer Term requiring the answers to 2 from 4 questions provided.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Multiple choice question test and set exercise (40%)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
By Examination in August/September

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: 2) Specialist equipment or materials: 3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 4) Printing and binding:A single A1 poster costs £20 to print but posters on 8 pieces of A4 are also acceptable. No marks will be assigned to the method of printing in the marking criteria. 5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 27 July 2020


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