Resilient Food systems
Agroecology, sustainable land use, and systems thinking underpin the pathways to resilient food systems. Water quality, maintenance of biodiversity, and reducing emissions are key focus areas for innovation and development.
Indigenous knowledge and food sovereignty are integral parts of long-term viable food production and supply. The Māori agribusiness sector is distinctive and offers unique insights and opportunities for collaborative models.
Integrating people, communities, and values with primary production systems can ultimately result in a rich and multi-cultural approach to food systems.
The bulk of the program is delivered in Te Waipounamu the South Island of New Zealand.
Students live and travel together with faculty and staff. The program starts and finishes at the EcoQuest Centre in Whakatīwai. The team travels south via Taranaki and Wellington. Once we get to the Tasman District, we spend time at several locations that enable us to make the most of the diverse landuse and agribusiness in this district. Field trips also take us to Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury .
Each week has a theme closely related to the particular land-use, agriculture practices and produce of the locality we are in. Field visits and the associated learning opportunities focus on topical, real-time case studies in a variety of production systems (including a variety of cropping systems) and agribusiness.
Lectures, tutorials, discussions, peer-teaching, assignments and project work are all part of the program. To gain practical skills and experiences, and to increase competency in farm and food systems related work, students will be on farm / agribusiness placements for a total of 20 working days (two placements of 10 days each) as part of the ‘Agricultural production and business practice’ course. Students will be at these placements with several peers, accompanied by a staff member. During these farm placements faculty will spend time with all students to guide their learning and on-farm experiences.
We stay overnight on a marae during each semester, giving students lived experience of Māori culture and the re-assertion of traditions which are key elements in the transition to sustainable practices in agriculture and food systems in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Successful completion of at least 36 semester credit hours (or equivalent) of college or university studies, including at least one semester course related to agriculture production and management (such as Sustainable Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Science, Agroecology, or equivalent courses), and at least one related to Agricultural Business, Environmental Economics, or Food and Society.
A moderately high degree of physical fitness, including the ability to work outside for extended periods in all weather.
Agreement with the fundamental principles of intensive study, group cooperation, sustainability ethics, and personal responsibility that are central to the EcoQuest living and learning environment.