Past Courses at UVM
Agroecological Approaches for Climate Change and Food Systems Resilience – 2013
What is agriculture’s role in contributing to climate change? What are opportunities within agriculture to mitigate or adapt to a changing climate? When we talk about agriculture, do we mean smallholder farmers, industrial agriculture or both? The theme of the 14th Annual International Agroecology Shortcourse was the application of agroecological approaches to support resilience to climate change and promote robust, sustainable food systems. Course participants from several countries and multiple US states came together to learn about agroecology and its role in transforming global food systems toward sustainability. Five farms in the Burlington area were our “laboratories” for exploring the resilience of our food systems to multiple pressures and changes, especially climate change. Together with these farmers, participants explored agroecology as a multidimensional endeavor characterized by participatory, transdisciplinary, and action-oriented approaches. Co-sponsors of the 2013 shortcourse included: the Community Agroecology Network, several University of Vermont entities, including: the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), UVM Extension and the Food System Spire, Continuing Education, the Gund Institute, Environmental Studies Program, Department of Plant and Soil Science (PSS), and support from the Lintilhac Foundation.
Participatory Action Research in Agroecology to Support Sustainable Foods Systems – 2009
The 10th annual course had a special focus on conceptualizing and applying participatory action research (PAR) approaches in agroecology to develop more sustainable food systems. In addition to providing a solid introduction to the field of agroecology, the course presented a critical overview of participatory approaches and methods, illustrated with long-term, ongoing CPAR processes in the U.S. and Latin America. Through the course, participants discussed the theoretical concepts behind current global food issues while local sustainable farmers and food activists shared with us their regional programs for change. Experiences and options for developing sustainable production practices, strengthening the local food movement, ensuring food security, sovereignty and justice, connecting urban-rural foodsheds, supporting innovative action-education programs, and monitoring the sustainability of local food systems in the face of globalizing pressures, were all presented during the intensive two-week course. Co-sponsors of the 2009 shortcourse included: The University of Vermont’s (UVM) Plant & Soil Science Dept., Environmental Program, Center for Sustainable Agriculture, CUPS office, Continuing Education University of California, Santa Cruz’s (UCSC) Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA), Community Agroecology Network (CAN), Heifer International