ENVS 253 - Outline
Course Outline - Fall 2008
Since 2000, local farmers have been working formally and informally with Kenyon
students and faculty in areas of mutual interest concerning issues of sustainable
agriculture, environmental concerns, and preservation of farmland surrounding
the college. This has led to a growing interest and involvement of more students
in sustainability issues, local foods, and connections with the local and global
ENVS 253 introduces students to the principles of sustainable agriculture through
hands-on experience on local farms and through readings and discussion of current
literature. As such, this course is a combination of fieldwork and seminar-style
discussion. Work on the farm will be varied, determined by the seasons and farm
projects underway. In addition, students will be taken to the local Producers
Livestock auction, and other off-farm visits as the time and season allows.
Students can expect to handle animals, clean barns, harvest crops, plant crops,
prepare farm products for market, build and repair fence, bale hay, feed animals,
and work with, repair, or clean equipment and buildings and other activities
as needed. Readings will be drawn from relevant books, current environmental
literature and topical news items. Discussions will be student-led and combine
readings and their experiences in the field. There are no pre- requisites for
this course. However, students must have available in their academic schedule
five continuous hours one day per week to spend working at a local organic farm
(travel time will be in addition to these five hours). In addition, students
will participate in a weekly 1.5-2 hour seminar discussion of assigned readings.
- Students must have available in their schedule five continuous hours one
day per week to spend on the farm and two hours available for a weekly seminar-style
discussion on campus. Travel time will be in addition to these five hours.
Those going to the Rickard’s Fox Hollow Farm should plan on 30 minutes
of travel time and those going the Helt’s Dharma
Farm or the Marsh farm should plan on 15 minutes. Students are responsible for their own transportation
to and from the farm.
- Grading for the course will be determined by the number of hours spent on
the farm, participation in seminar. To receive an A in the course will require
70 hours of farm work (5 hours x 14 weeks), as well as the completion of the
readings, assignments, and participation in discussions. The breakdown for grading is as follows:
- 75% - Farm field work, participation, attendence, engagement
- 25% - Seminar, response papers, participation in discussoin, small group project
Course Content and Expectations - at the Farms:
- Farmers will plan work for the students that is varied, as determined by
the seasons and farm projects underway. In addition, students will be taken
to the local Producers livestock auction, and other off-farm visits as the
time and season allows.
- Students can expect to handle animals, clean barns, harvest crops, plant
crops, prepare farm products for market, build and repair fence, bale hay,
feed animals, and work with, repair, or clean equipment and buildings and
other activities as needed.
- Students will not be required to operate dangerous equipment or engage
in any activity where they do not feel prepared or otherwise feel uncomfortable.
Chain saw operation and firearm use are strictly prohibited. Students will
sign a waiver of liability prior to starting the course.
- Students are expected to have appropriate clothing for work on the farm,
which includes: boots, globes, insulated coveralls (or the equivalent) .
Course Content and Expectations - Seminar:
- We will meet weekly to discuss your work on the farm and how it relates
to assigned readings
- Weekly reading assignments:
- Chapters from "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan and David Kline's "Great Possessions"
- Other readings from current literature or popular press
- Writing assignment (these will be due starting the week of September 17):
- One to two page essay linking your work on the farm to anything in the
- Three questions that you will ask the farmers in during your work the
- NOTE: your essay may reflect the conversation you had with the farmers
resulting from your questions the previous week