The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development will offer a course in Global Food Systems (SDEV W3200) in Fall 2012, taught by Dr. Cheryl Palm. Concerns about food shortages, land use, climate change and biodiversity have created an urgent need for interdisciplinary researchers, practitioners and policy-makers focused on agriculture. Developing sound solutions that improve agricultural production systems in a sustainable way demands in-depth knowledge of key disciplines underpinning tropical agricultural production systems as well as a good understanding of the broader biophysical, economic and socio-cultural context.
The course will focus on agricultural science, including biophysical and socioeconomic factors, farming systems, technology, crop and soil management, and current policy issues in agriculture and food production. With an emphasis on the tropics and subtropics, this course will give key insights into how to improve environmental quality, nutrition and farmers’ incomes through sustainable agricultural practices in developing countries.
Dr. Cheryl Palm is a Senior Research Scientist in the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program of the Earth Institute at Columbia University where she is also the Science Director of the Millennium Villages Project. A tropical ecologist focusing on land use change, Dr. Palm received her Ph.D. in soil science from North Carolina State University after completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in zoology at the University of California, Davis.
The Tropical Agriculture Program of the Earth Institute, Columbia University is dedicated to addressing the interactions between agricultural production, environmental quality and human well-being. Through research, policy advising, education and training, the program seeks to address the links between environment, agriculture, health, poverty, and economic growth.