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Laboratory: Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture

Laboratory: Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture

Natural Science Area B 2 -- Life Sciences



Laboratory: Assessing Soil Physical Properties and Soil Quality in Agroecosystems

1. Miles, A. and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 2.1: An introduction to soil physical properties. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes suggested preparations and materials; demonstration outlines; suggested field exercises; and handouts for hands-on and experiential learning of soils and soil physical properties.

• Demonstration and Exercise 1: Soil Texture Determination
• Demonstration and Exercise 2: Soil Profile Examination
• Supplemental Demonstrations of Soil Physical Properties

2. Gliessman, S. R. 2000. Investigation #5: Soil Property Analysis. In Field and Laboratory Exercises in Agroecology. Washington, DC: Lewis Publishers. Includes background information, synopses, learning objectives, procedures, material and preparations and data sheets for assessing a variety of soil properties of soil samples from several different agroecosystems and investigating how the observed soil properties are kinked to differences in management history.

3. Weil, R. R. 2005. Laboratory Manual for Introductory Soil Science (7th Edition). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. A comprehensive manual for conducting field and laboratory exercises examining the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils. See exercises 1–9.



Laboratory: Assessing Chemical Properties of Soils, Soil Quality, and Agroecosystem Health

1. Weil, R. R. 2005. Laboratory Manual for Introductory Soil Science (7th Edition). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. A comprehensive manual for conducting field and laboratory exercises examining the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils. See exercises 1–9.



Laboratory: Assessing Biological Properties of Soils, Soil Quality and Agroecosystem Health

1. Miles, A., and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 2.3: An introduction to soil biology and ecology. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes suggested preparations and materials; demonstration outlines; suggested field exercises; and handouts for hands-on and experiential learning of soil biology, ecology, and soil quality assessments and nutrient cycling. *Note: If possible, the above exercises should be conducted in different farming systems (or soils historically receiving different management inputs) in order to compare and contrast soil quality differences due to farming techniques used.

• Demonstration and Exercise 1: Organic Matter Decomposition in Litter Bags
• Demonstration and Exercise 2: Soil Respiration
• Demonstration and Exercise 3: Earthworm Populations
• Demonstration and Exercise 4: Soil Arthropods

2. Gliessman, S. R. 2000. Investigation # 12: Census of Soil Surface Fauna. In Field and Laboratory Exercises in Agroecology. Washington, DC: Lewis Publishers. Includes background information, synopses, learning objectives, procedures, material and preparations and data sheets for assessing soil surface fauna diversity and abundance as an indicator of agroecosystem management

3. Weil, R. R. 2005. Laboratory Manual for Introductory Soil Science (7th Edition). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. A comprehensive manual for conducting field and laboratory exercises examining the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils. See exercises 11–14.



Laboratory: Cover Crops in Sustainable Agriculture

1. Miles, A., and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 1.6: Selecting and using cover crops. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes demonstration outline and suggested field exercise for discussing the biology and and role of cover crops in agriculture, including estimating the nitrogen contribution of cover crops.

• Demonstration 1: Introduction to the Biology and Role of Cover Crops in Sustainable Agriculture
• Demonstration 2 and Exercise 1: How to Estimate the Nitrogen Contribution of a Cover Crop

Laboratory: Crop Rotation in Sustainable Agriculture

1. Van Horn, Mark. 2004. UC Davis Student Farm Crop Rotation Exercise.
Provides a demonstration outline for field-based discussion of the history and rationale of crop rotation of a given farming operation. Includes a hands-on small group exercise for students involving the development of simple crop rotations and soil fertility plans for hypothetical production systems.

• Demonstration 1: Examining Crop Rotation History and Rationale
Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/esa/download/crop_rotation_lecture.pdf

• Exercise 1: UC Davis Crop Rotation Exercise
Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/esa/download/crop_rotation_exercise.pdf


Laboratory: Soil Analysis, Nutrient Budgeting and Soil Amending in Sustainable Agriculture

1. Miles, A., and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 1.11: Reading and interpreting soil tests. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes lecture notes, detailed lecture notes for students, suggested field demonstrations, and multiple laboratory exercises for hands-on and experiential learning of how to take soils samples, read and interpret results, and develop nutrient budgets and amendment plans.

• Demonstration and Exercise 1: Taking representative soil samples
• Demonstration and Exercise 2: Reading and interpreting a soil analysis Report
• Demonstration and Exercise 3: Nitrogen budgeting
• Demonstration and Exercise 4: Field observations: Plant growth and soil fertility

2. Weil, R. R. 2005. Laboratory Manual for Introductory Soil Science (7th Edition). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. A comprehensive manual for conducting field and laboratory exercises examining the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils. See exercises 18 and 19.



Laboratory: Soil Tillage and Sustainable Agriculture

1. Miles, A., and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 1.2: Garden and field tillage and cultivation In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes lecture notes, suggested field demonstrations, suggested preparations and materials for field demonstrations; demonstration outlines; suggested field exercises for students; illustrations for hands-on and experiential learning of garden and field-scale tillage and cultivation.

• Demonstration and Exercise 1: Garden-scale tillage
• Demonstration 2: Mechanical tillage



Laboratory: Principles and Practices of Compost Production and Use

1. Miles, A., and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 1.7: Making and using compost. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes lecture notes, suggested field demonstrations, suggested preparations and materials for field demonstrations; demonstration outlines; suggested field exercises for students for hands-on and experiential learning of garden and field-scale compost production, assessment and use.

• Demonstration 1: Garden-scale compost production
• Demonstration 2: Field-scale compost production



Laboratory: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Sustainable Agriculture

1. Miles, A., and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 1.8: Arthropod pest management. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes field demonstrations, suggested preparations and materials and demonstration outlines for hands-on and experiential learning of arthropod monitoring, sampling, identification skills, and treatment strategies used in integrated pest management.

• Demonstration 1: Pest monitoring, sampling, identification, and management options
• Demonstration 2: Field observations (for field trips)






Laboratory: Weed Biology and Weed Management In Sustainable Agriculture

1. Gliessman, S. R. 2000. Investigation # 10: Management History and the Weed Seed Bank. In Field and Laboratory Exercises in Agroecology. Washington, DC: Lewis Publishers. Includes background information, synopses, learning objectives, procedures, material and preparations, and data sheets for identifying weeds and making inferences about the effects of management activities on weed populations.

2. Miles, A., and M. Brown (eds.). 2003. Unit 1.10: Managing weeds. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes field demonstrations, suggested preparations and materials, and demonstration outlines for hands-on and experiential learning of weed identification and non-chemical weed management on a garden and field-scale.

• Demonstration 1: Mechanical weed management
• Demonstration 2: Hand weed management
• Demonstration 3: Weed identification



Laboratory: Plant Pathogen Management in Sustainable Agriculture

1. Miles and Brown (eds.) 2003. Unit 1.9: Managing plant pathogens. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes field demonstration, suggested preparations and materials, and demonstration outline for hands-on and experiential learning of plant pathogen identification and treatment options.

• Demonstration 1: Disease identification



Laboratory: Vertebrate Pest Management in Sustainable Agriculture

1. Baefsky, Michael, Nita Davidson, Belinda Messenger, and Angelica Welsh. 2004. Curricula for School IPM Workshops: Curriculum for Burrowing Rodents. California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR).
Contains an extensive listing of instructional resource for use in teaching IPM for burrowing rodents. Includes reference texts, lecture notes, and methods and materials field demonstrations. Available online through CDPR: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/cfdocs/apps/schoolipm/training/main.cfm?crumbs_list=1,39


Laboratory: Water Conservation Irrigation Practices for Sustainable Agriculture

1. Miles and Brown (eds.) 2003. Unit 1.5: Irrigation – principles and practices. In Teaching Organic Gardening and Farming: Resources for Instructors. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz. Available online: zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/. Includes field demonstrations,
suggested preparations and materials, demonstration outlines, exercises and other
resources for use in hands-on and experiential learning of efficient field- and garden- scale irrigation.

• Demonstration 1: Field-scale irrigation
• Demonstration 2: Garden-scale irrigation



Laboratory: Animal Husbandry Practices in Sustainable Agriculture: Methods for Inventorying Pasture/range for Estimating Stocking Capacity and Grazing Impacts

1. Mufandaedza, Oneas T. 2004. Methods for Inventorying Pasture/Range for Estimating Stocking Capacity and Grazing Impacts. Central Carolina Community College. Includes field demonstrations, suggested preparations and materials, demonstration outlines, exercises and other resources for use in hands-on and experiential learning of pasture assessment through the identification of forage and weed species; estimating plant species composition; estimating ground cover and biomass; assessment of over- and under-utilization of common grasses and legumes in a pastures; recognize misuse (under-/over-grazing) of pastureland/grassland/rangeland. (Note: Recommended reading—Cosgrove, Dennis, Dan Undersander, and Maurice Davis (1996). Determining pasture condition - pasture condition scoring. Wisconsin County Extension , Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Pub A3667.) zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs/instruction/esa/download/animal_husbandry_lab.pdf

2. Sullivan, Preston 2001. Assessing the pasture soil resource. Fayetteville, AR: ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Available online through ATTRA: http://www.attra.ncat.org/livestock.html. This 9-page technical note provides methods to determine biological activity of pasture soils and practical tips on improving the usefulness of typical soil and plant samples. The soil biology sampling methods are easy to learn, and utilize commonly available tools found around any farm. Once these biological assessments are made, more insight into the many benefits of nutrient cycling become apparent. Methods for using soil and plant samples strategically are also covered.





Laboratory: Assessing the Sustainability of Local Farming Systems and the Influence of Market Forces on Agricultural Practices

1. Gliessman, S. R. 2000. Investigation #23: Farmer Interview. In Field and Laboratory Exercises in Agroecology. Washington, DC: Lewis Publishers. Includes background information, synopses, learning objectives, procedures, material and preparations, suggested areas to investigate, interview questions, and suggested discussion topics for interviewing growers to learn about farmers’ practices, knowledge, motivations goals, and challenges. Serves to assist students in examining the sustainability of various production systems and the constraints placed upon growers in the adoption of sustainable farming practices.

• Farmer Interview

2. Gliessman, S. R. 2000. Investigation #24: Local Food Market Analysis. In Field and Laboratory Exercises in Agroecology. Washington, DC: Lewis Publishers. Includes background information, synopses, learning objectives, procedures, material and preparations, and data sheets for investigating local retail produce sites in determining availability, source, and cost of fresh produce. This information is then used to construct an image of the student’s local food market and how market forces may influence agricultural practices.

• Local Food Market Analysis





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