History of American Farming and Agricultural Production
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Food Studies
Course Number: NFDS 3101
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
Local, healthful, and sustainable food movements are often defined as alternatives to the dominant industrial model. How did the industrial farming system become the agricultural paradigm? In this course, we explore the history and development of American agriculture from the colonial period through the rise of industrial farming in the mid-20th century to the emergence of the organic, sustainable, and locavore movements in the last 40 years. We consider the values, science, and politics that led to monocultures and the green revolution, synthetic fertilizers, genetic engineering, and the primacy of processed over fresh foods. We see how dissident voices arose to challenge these practices. Topics include the connection between national defense and industrial agriculture in the aftermath of World War I, the relationship between industrial agriculture and movements for food justice and food sovereignty, the influence of alternative movements in the Global South on American agricultural practices, the new vulnerability of all regions due to climate change, and the relationship of current food, energy, and financial crises.
Course Open to: Majors Only