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Sustainable Agriculture in China

Location: Hefei, China
Faculty: Brian Schultz, associate professor of entomology and ecology (NS); and Kay Johnson, faculty director of China Exchange Program (CSI)
Course Number: TBD
Departure Date: May 18, 2018 Return Date: June 4, 2018 (dates are tentative)
Course Fee: $600 deposit + cost of Chinese visa; all other program costs will be covered by a grant from the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE)

Course Summary

This course will take a group of students to study agricultural practices in China, focusing on issues of sustainability. Participants will look at a variety of topics affecting the small-scale family farms that characterize Chinese agriculture, including the intensive use of chemical inputs along with new seed technology, serious problems of soil and water pollution, rising food safety concerns, and the emergence (or re-emergence) of organic agriculture and the creation of community-supported agriculture farms (CSAs) aimed at addressing these concerns among rapidly growing middle class urban consumers. The course will also look at a trend toward the consolidation of family farms and displacement of older villagers in favor of other commercial forms of land management.

Prerequisites

None, but those with a background in a field related to sustainable agriculture or China will be given preference.

Eligibility

Short-term field course eligibility requirements (for Hampshire and non-Hampshire students)

Financial Information

Course Fee: $600 deposit + cost of Chinese visa; all other program costs, including airfare, will be covered by a grant from the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE).

Short-term Field Course Finances and FundingImportant information about fees, payments, and the Withdrawal and Refund Policy. Note: this is a grant-funded course; therefore, participants are not eligible for additional financial assistance through the global education office.

How to Apply

Short-term field course application deadlines and instructions.

Full Course Description

This course will take a group of students to China from May 18-June 4, 2018 to study agricultural practices in China focusing on issues of sustainability. The course will look at a variety of topics affecting the small-scale family farms that characterize Chinese agriculture, including the intensive use of chemical inputs along with new seed technology, serious problems of soil and water pollution, rising food safety concerns, and the emergence (or re-emergence) of organic agriculture and the creation of community-supported agriculture farms (CSAs) aimed at addressing these concerns among rapidly growing middle class urban consumers. We will also look at a trend toward the consolidation of family farms and displacement of older villagers in favor of other commercial forms of land management.

Students will be based at Anhui Agricultural University (AAU) in Hefei, where Hampshire has long had an academic exchange for learning language and now scientific exchanges. Students will visit conventional and organic farms, small family farms, urban gardens, and large and small CSAs, as well as various types of urban food markets. We will also visit research projects at AAU and other institutions (e.g. research on honey products and the conservation of domestic and wild bees; raising edible insects and silk worms; soil pest management; wheat improvement, and more).

Though a background in Chinese language will enhance students' experience, it is not a requirement, as the group will be accompanied by translators for the duration of the course. 

Cumulative Skills

  • Successfully conceive and complete independent project-based work.
  • Understand and incorporate multiple cultural perspectives on intellectual or artistic subjects.

Academic Expectations

Requirements include full active participation, prompt completion of projects, and a public presentation on campus the following year.

Program Itinerary

The group will fly to Shanghai, then Hefei, arriving May 19. The course will be based on the campus of AAU and activities will be organized in and around Hefei and nearby rural areas for two weeks. During this time, the group will make a two-day trip to Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in southern Anhui Province. We will go to Shanghai at the end of the course before flying back on June 4, 2018.

Travel Plans

Round trip flights will be arranged by the program, and participants will travel as a group to and from Shanghai. Participants will depart on May 18 and arrive in Shanghai on May 19. The group will fly back to the U.S. on June 4.   

A visitor's visa is required for all travelers except Chinese citizens.

Housing Arrangements

Housing will be arranged in apartments on or next to the campus of Anhui Agricultural University. In Huangshan, the group will stay at a hotel on the top of the mountain for one night.

Pre-departure Preparation

There will be at least one group meeting with the faculty directors prior to departure to go over academic expectations, country-specific information, and travel plans. Students are also required to participate in a session with GEO on culture and identity, health and safety, study abroad policies and important travel information.

Questions? 

Questions about the application process or financial aid should be directed to the global education office:

Katie Irwin
kirwin@hampshire.edu
413.559.5542

Questions regarding the academic content or itinerary should be directed to the faculty directors:

Brian Schultz
bsNS@hampshire.edu

Kay Johnson
kajSS@hampshire.edu

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