Environmental Studies at UVM

ENVS 195 Controversies in Vermont Agriculture

A number of controversial agricultural stories have made Vermont news headlines – the use of undocumented migrant farm workers on Vermont dairy farms, phosphorus runoff into Lake Champlain, flooding from Tropical Storm Irene, the shrinking number of dairy farms in Vermont, the use of genetically modified crops, and pesticides getting into our water supply. How do these events affect Vermont’s environment, economy and social networks? Why does a farmer choose to use pesticides or hire undocumented migrant farm workers? This course will explore these subjects and more through an agroecological lens and the point of view of a farmer. We will start with an overview of agriculture in Vermont, and then take up organic and conventional farming techniques, economic pressures farmers face, how farmland interacts with the surrounding environment, and how climate change is affecting Vermont farms. The course will use a combination of lectures, class discussion, guest speakers, weekly reading assignments, films, field trips, and writing and speaking to explore the above topics.






Enrollment Limit: