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Course Description | Instructor Information | Course Information | Goals & Requirements

Texts and Materials
| Technical Support | Suggestions

Course Description

Are you concerned about the quality of your food, where it comes from, and how it is produced? Are you concerned about your impact on this planet and how you can maintain a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle? Are you interested in understanding more about the science underlying lifestyle choices? Then, get geared up for a stimulating experience!

By the end of the semester, you will have read, heard, and discussed critical challenges facing food producers and consumers. You will learn about how societies have adapted food production systems to environmentes around the world, and you will understand how agriculture has evolved into the intensive, mechanized production systems of the United States. Most importantly, you will be better able to evaluate choices in your life and make informed decisions affecting your own resource use and food supply.

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Instructor Information

Your Gracious Professor



Phone Number: (530) 898-4137

Fax Number: (530) 898-5845

For information about my background,
check out my website.

Office Location: Plumas 221, CSUC Campus, Chico, California



Office Location: Multiple Cropping Center, CMU Campus
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Teaching Assistant

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Course Information

Course Title: Food Forever

College/department this course is being taught in: Agriculture

Department office phone #: (530) 898-5844

Department web page:

Office hours (for contacting Dr. Altier): T 3:30-4:30, Th 3:30 - 6, F 10:30-12
                      Live online chat every Thursday from 5-6 PM!

Office: PLMS 221, CSUC campus


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Goals & Requirements

  1. Explore how to live life in a more sustainable manner.
  2. Study the ecological foundation of food production systems.
  3. Compare the cultural and environmental context of agricultural systems in different parts of the world.
  4. Explore factors that influence the viability and sustainability of agricultural production systems.
  5. Provide a forum for the sharing of ideas and information about challenges of human survival and maintaining a healthy planet.
  6. Improve ability to think critically about ecological issues as they relate to food production and life style decisions.

    Learner Outcomes Expected from this Course

    If you are creating or maintaining a Professional Development Portfolio, you can expect to enhance your credentials in several important areas.With diligence, each student can acquire the following long-term benefits from this course:

    1. An understanding of the ecological basis of food production and consumption.
    2. Knowledge and sensitivity to a wide range of environmental issues and problems.
    3. Effective verbal and written communication skills.
    4. Skills in group dynamics.
    5. Skills in decision making and problem solving.

Course Format

The course is divided up into six modules, comprising the major topics of the course. Each module consists of several activities that you will complete in sequence. Activities include reading, listening to videos and sound clips, and writing assignments. For a monthly view of current activities and due dates go to the class calendar.

Assignments: Assignments are planned according to the calendar. Go through each module and complete the reading according to the deadline. If the module requires from you to submit an assignment, then you post your assignment under the correct “Topic”/folder. Some assignments need to be posted on group and main boards. This will be indicated in the modules. For a complete list of assignments and deadlines go to assignment schedule. For the three reports that you will do for the class, take a look at the report protocol.


  • For assignments requiring a group consensus, you will not receive credit unless you participate in discussion with your group regarding your assignment!
  • It is your responsibility to post assignments in the proper place as shown in the assignment schedule. If you post them somewhere else, you may not receive credit.

Will be available Monday through Friday during the scheduled weeks. Allocated time for exams are 60 minutes for each midterm and 2 hours for the final.

There are three types of exam questions: multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. The final will be only multiple choice and true-false questions.

Group work and participation:
Students are expected to participate in group discussion. Contribution of individuals to the group effort is very important.

Response to study guide questions:
These are not required to be turned in, however students are strongly urged to answer the study guide questions to focus their attention on key concepts and to prepare for exams!

Late work:
Late work will be down graded or rejected. Talk to me before the due date if you have a problem.

Assigned as in the modules.

Students with learning Disabilities
I am committed to accommodate any student with learning disabilities. Please contact Disability Support Service on the campus (Building E, Tel: (530) 898-5959) and contact me about accommodating your needs.

Plagiarism and Academic Honesty
Violation of the policy will result in class failure and the student will face a disciplinary action according to the Academic Honesty Policy of CSUC ( Ignorance of the policy will not serve as a defense for the student.


Exams and reports (farm interview and case studies) are recorded as a percentage score. The assignments are recorded on a 1-3 scale. A "2" indicates that you received full credit; a "1" indicates that something was deficient or incomplete; and a "3" (in rare circumstances) is given if your assigment was way above the norm.

% of total grade
Midterm exam 1
Midterm exam 2
Final exam
Assignments and group work*
Case study 1
Case study 2



* Includes discussion assignments, drafts, consensus statements, and other homework.

A = 90+
B = 80+
C = 70+
D = 60+
F = <60

  For an aid in calculating your current standing during the semester, download this grade calculator.


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Texts and Materials

All readings are available online this semester!

    • Check out the Readings page. You may read them online or print them out as you like.
    Go To Adobe and Download the Free Reader
    • We are working on moving away from the PDF formats, as it has come to our attention that some of the files are large, and it will be easier in the near future to view and download these files as HTML.


If you find it helpful to purchase a hard copy, some of the readings (including the longers ones) are available in a reader that you can order. See the Reading List for information.

Other Recommended Reading:

  • Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble by Lester Brown

  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

  • Collapse by Jared Diamond

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Technical Support

If you need assistance with your internet account, if you have questions about hardware or software, or just need some advice on using the web, Student Computing is the place to go! There are also free workshops and online tutorials available.

click here
Student Computing

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Suggestions on Harmonizing with the Flow of the course!

  1. Here is an observation from my experience as an instructor: taking an online course requires more self-discipline than participating in a classroom course. You won't see me two or three times a week haranguing you in a classroom about homework and due dates for reports! Within the first two weeks of the start of the semester, you need to assess whether you can fully participate and complete the course requirements. If not, it is your responsibility to drop the course, so that your grade point average is not negatively affected.

  2. As mentioned earlier, the course is divided up into six modules, each one consisting of several activities. As you start a new module, take a look at the introduction, objectives and activities list. Plan your time so that you systematically work through completion of the activities.

  3. There is a deadline for each activity and each section. In order for you to get credit for your efforts and for you to successfully complete the course, it is essential that you keep up the course schedule! For due dates, go to the Assignment Schedule.

  4. There is a study guide for each section of the course. Each one contains vocabulary and review questions that will help you to focus on key concepts. I strongly suggest that as you begin a section, you print out a copy of the study guide and keep it next to you as you do each activity.

  5. You and your classmates will be assigned study groups. You can access your study group through the bulletin board (in Communication Tools). Besides the place where you will post some of your assignments, your group is your learning community for sharing assistance, ideas, and preparing for assignments and exams! Take advantage of this learning community to support your mutual progress in the class!

  6. As you complete the activities of each module, be sure that you can answer all of the questions in the study guide. If you are unsure about your answers, you have a couple options: --share ideas with your study group; and/or
    --phone or send me email or stop by my office!

  7. Information about online etiquette
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Online Conduct
  1. More suggestions for thriving in an online course!!!!
Click Here
Rules of the Road
  1. Your questions and comments are always welcome!!!

Besides email to the instructor, as you complete each module, we would appreciate your responses to the online surveys. They are short, anonymous, and give us important feedback on how you are getting along!

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