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Hort 417: Organic Production in Horticulture
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SA-229: Entomology 400K - Agronomy 399K - Horticulture 490K
Study Abroad. May 14-Jun 5, 2007
3 credits


Organic Agriculture in Western Mediterranean Europe
Instructors: Steve Weller, Horticulture 315, 494-1333 
                        George Van Scoyoc, Lilly Hall 3-440, 494-5115
                        Alan York , Smith 127E, 494-4459

Get your student ID pictures taken at IPIA Rm 26 AGAD and go to STA in the PMU to get your International Student Identification Card

Learning Objectives: At the completion of this course students will
1. Appreciate the application of sound agronomic principles including soil science and ecology, plant and animal physiology, genetics, marketing, food quality, and food safety as they apply to conventional and organic agricultural systems and the pest management therein;
2. Have an understanding of how different agricultural technology systems impact pest occurrence and management;
3. Have an increased appreciation and understanding of the culture and the people of England and France and their relationship to agriculture; and
4. Possess increased comfort traveling internationally such that they are encouraged to explore and pursue career opportunities in international agriculture.

Course Activities: This course will involve visiting various sites in southern France and Italy and lectures from local educators, researchers, and farmers. Farm visits and the interaction with those farming will be an integral part of this course. In addition there will be considerable opportunity for various kinds of cultural experiences in the countries visited.

Prerequisite Courses: None, all majors accepted.

Audience: Anyone interested in agriculture and/or crop protection and the culture of southern France (Toulouse area) and southern Italy (near Naples). Since many of the sites visited will include specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, cereals) and livestock, this class may have particular interest to horticulture and animal science students as well. Also, as a great deal of successful farming is marketing, and since the economics of alternative agriculture is a key to the success of the enterprise, this class should be useful to agricultural economics students.

Class Itinerary & Activities


This class will be offered for standard grading or for Pass/No Pass. One key to lifelong learning is the development of effective observation, and the assimilation of the observations into existing knowledge. Furthermore, one must be able to shape this knowledge into communication with others. Students will keep a daily journal recording information learned, and personal impressions of activities. These journals will be read by the instructor(s) on a frequent basis and credit assigned. There will be infrequent written assigments that will be turned in and evaluated. Because cooperative participation is essential to any success, students will be evaluated on this aspect of the trip.

Specific Activities on Which Grades will be Based

Professional Decorum - Attendance and Punctuality are of critical importance to the trip. Because this is experiential learning, students must be present and sharing information. Furthermore, out of respect to our hosts and fellow students, everyone must take personal and collective responsibility to be on time for all activities.
Topical Research Reports "Fact Sheets" - Each student working in groups will develop two pre-trip Fact Sheets for sharing with other students, and will present a short oral summary to the group during the orientation sessions prior to the trip. These Fact Sheets and presentations before the trip will be very important in creating a common level of understanding about various aspects of the trip. (30%)
Daily/Site/Topic Scribe
- Each individual will be expected to be the scribe/secretary for a half-day site visit with specific regard to details of the site visit. Notes of the specific site visit are exclusive of the personal journal. These notes will be turned in within two days of the visit. These responsibilities will be assigned match the Fact Sheet topics if possible. (10%)
Daily Journal - All students are expected to record observations and document activities each day. In addition, personal impressions will be a necessary and critical part of the journal. These will be turned in to the instructor(s) and returned the following day with feedback provided by the instructors as to appropriateness and acceptability of the journal. These are private and will not be viewed or shared with anyone other than the instructor(s). (20%)
Trip Commodity Pricing Assignment - Before the actual trip to Europe students will be expected to make trips to stores, supermarkets, etc. and comparative shop for prices of organic and non-organic foods. These will be discussed in the pre-trip meetings. During the trip you will be expected to repeat this activity. These prices will be assembled into a database for discussion with the group. (10%)
Pre-Trip Quiz - A short quiz will be adminstered prior to departure on the trip that will cover material in pre-trip reports and Fact Sheets. (10%)
- Approximately midway through the trip there will be a brief examination to assess the quality of the learning to date. Information to be covered on the exam will be Fact Sheet topics and information gained on site visits. (5%)
Trip Perception
Each student will write a short paper at the conclusion of the trip that will address personal observations about how the visits to the various sites and the experience of travel in France and Italy affected your perceptions of the world, its agriculture and its people compared to your views prior to the trip. Also provide a short list of things on the trip that you really enjoyed, things you didn’t enjoy and any suggestions to make further study abroad courses better (15%).

Assignment of Grades

90% to
80% to
70% to
60% to

Academic Honesty and Integrity

Participants will adhere to Purdue Univesity regulations regarding personal conduct and academic integrity. It is important to the overall success of the class and the personal achievment of individuals to encourage group discusssion and assimilation of information. However, all written assignments, with the exception of the Commodity Pricing activity should reflect the personal creativity and individual work of the author. Information derived from other sources, printed or web-based, must be properly cited. Students in violation of these principles will receive a failing grade.