Course code PAE302

PAE302 Agroecology: Action Learning in Farming and Food Systems

Norsk emneinformasjon

Search for other courses here

Showing course contents for the educational year 2014 - 2015 .

Course responsible: Geir Lieblein
Teachers: Anna Marie Nicolaysen, Charles Andrew Francis, Suzanne Rowena Morse, Tor Arvid Breland
ECTS credits: 30
Faculty: Department of Plant Sciences
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:

Minimum 5 and maximum 22 students.

Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in August block. This course has teaching/evaluation in August block, Autumn parallel.
Course frequency: <p>Annually</p><p><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/></p>
First time: Study year 2011-2012
Preferential right:
Master´s degree students in Agroecology. Others must be approved by teacher and manually signed up by SIT
Course contents:

The course consists of two interlinked parts: a group-based real-life project work and an individual reflection on the project work. The real-life project work includes description, analysis and redesign of farming and food systems. Lectures and seminars deal with agroecology, ecological (organic) agriculture, local and global food systems, systems thinking, learning, action research methodology, interview techniques, visionary thinking, creative problem solving, group dynamics, facilitation, agroecosystems structure and functioning from farm to global scales, sustainability in production, environmental, economic and social perspectives, ecological principles of farming and food systems design, systems ecology, food distribution, consumer issues on food, and food security. Students write one group report for their farmer clients and one for their food system clients. They also write an individual report where they reflect on agroecological issues of the project work as well as their own learning while preparing the group reports.

Learning outcome:

After completing the course, the students should know how to: - Describe and analyse farming and food systems, - link theoretical knowledge and concrete action, - acquire knowledge about their own learning. Further, the students should acquire: - Knowledge of structure and functioning of conventional and alternative (e.g., organic and local) farming and food systems, - knowledge of links between disciplinary (sub-system) knowledge and systemic (holistic) approaches, - experience with methods for systems analysis and improvement, including assessment of sustainability within a methodology of participatory action research, - the ability to handle complexity and change, - the ability to link theory to real-life situations, - the ability to communicate and facilitate, - the ability to learn autonomously and life long, - experience in dealing with attitudes as part of the agroecosystem and the learning community. Through real-life case studies with focus on change processes, attitudes of both students and actors in the farming and food systems will be made explicit. The students will learn how to deal critically and constructively with attitudes and value-based choices as important system elements. Desirable attitudes of the students: open-minded, critical, spirited, determined, approachable, exploring and communicative.

Teaching support:

Literature will be presented in class.


Bachelor´s degree or equivalent in agriculture, economics, natural resources, human nutrition or other relevant social or natural sciences.

Recommended prerequisites:

PAE301: PAE301: Agroecology: Working with the complexity of farming systems

Mandatory activity:

Field excursions and group work.


Basis for the evaluation are two written group reports (´client documents´), a written individual paper (´learner document´), an oral presentation and discussion of their individual paper (oral examination), and the students\´ overall contribution to the course process. The weighting is: group reports 40%, individual report 20%, oral exam 20%, and course contribution 20%. All parts have to be passed.

Nominal workload:

900 hours.

Entrance requirements:

Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)

Reduction of credits:
Type of course:

Details will be given at course start.


The external examiner participates in the major parts of the evaluation process.

Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / Ikke bestått