Course syllabus

Allotment_garden_2.JPGCursusbeschrijving / Course Description
zoals gepubliceerd op / as published at


1.      Content

In this course you will learn the basic agronomic principles underlying the interlinkages between food production and agricultural production systems on the one hand, and between agricultural production systems and environmental resources on the other hand. You will learn how various crop and livestock production techniques are employed across different farming systems and how they interact with the environment. Given that the nature of these linkages also vary across space and time, the course will have an explicit temporal (dynamic and historical) and spatial focus to understand long term trends and diversity in food production and environmental impacts. Also alternative agricultural production systems to the dominant systems currently in use will be discussed, such as low input farming systems, including their potential for up-scaling and sustainability. You will also be taught the basics of GIS and how spatially explicit analysis can be utilized to better understand land use patterns and production possibilities and restrictions.

2.      Course objectives

After successfully completing this course, students will:

  • Be familiar with main concepts of agronomy relevant for Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) analysis.
  • Understand the productive characteristics of the natural resource base
  • Understand the relation between locational (environmental) factors and the food production system.
  • Understand the relation between food production systems and FNS.
  • Be versed in the basic principles of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
  • Be able to analyze these relationships with empirical data, including spatial analysis, and to interpret the results.
  • Be able to critically reflect and communicate on contemporaneous land use issues.
  • Understand the principles of a quantitative land evaluation.


3.      Course aims

  • Understanding the interlinkage between locational (environmental) factors and the food production system.
  • Understanding the interlinkage between agricultural production systems and food productivity.
  • Understanding the position of agriculture in total land use.
  • Understanding herd dynamics.


4.      Course guiding questions

  • What is the spatial division of agricultural production possibilities across the globe?
  • What are the main agricultural production systems responding to this spatial variety?
  • Are current systems environmentally sustainable?
  • How can production be increased sustainably?
  • Which uses compete with agriculture for land use?
  • What is the energy efficiency loss when crops are replaced by meat production?

Course summary:

Date Details