NIFK16004U  Organic and regional Food Systems

Volume 2018/2019

MSc Programme in Agriculture


This course comprises three core elements.

1) Lectures and theoretical exercises will introduce the organic, the regional (i.e. local food systems) as well as other alternative food systems. The course will a provide a conceptual framework for analyzing and understanding the emergence of alternative food systems. Lectures will provide an overview of the evolution of organic and conventional food production in an international context; consumer preferences, markets and distribution systems for these food products.

2) Excursions to organic and/or other alternative food enterprises, offering an option to discuss theoretical aspects from the lectures in a real life context.

3) A problem oriented group project investigating a specific theoretical aspect of an alternative food systems.

Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to give students with a background within agriculture, food studies or global development studies an overview of conceptual and theoretical aspects relevant for the analysis of food systems with a special focus on the organic food and the regional food systems.

After completing the course the student should be able to:

- Show overview of important concepts related to alternative food systems.

- Give an account of the development and present structure of the organic regional and other alternative food systems

- Identify key actors, institutional environment and structures of importance for the organic, regional and other food systems.

- Demonstrate an understanding of the defining aspects and principles of organic and origin labelled food production, with reference to national, EU and international agencies and rules.

- Compara different alternative food systems and explain how they differ from each other and conventional food systems.

- Reflect on organic and other alternative food systems and their role in national, regional and international contexts.

- Apply conceptual frameworks for analyzing a specific food system.

The course materials comprise articles from international social science journals.

It is recommended that participants have some knowledge of technical or other natural science aspects of agriculture, ecology, food production or food science in general.
Lectures, exercises, workshops, 2 excursions and problem based group project.
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min.
20 minutes oral exam including a discussion of the project report as well as elements from the curriculum.
No time for preparation.
Exam registration requirements

Submitted report from group project.

Only certain aids allowed

The examinee may bring notes and the project report.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examinator.

Same as the ordinary exam.

If the student has not handed in the project report, then an individual project report must be handed in two weeks prior to the re-exam. It must be approved before the exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

The mark 12 will be achieved by students fulfilling all aspects as described in the learning outcomes.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 31
  • Theory exercises
  • 6
  • Preparation
  • 49
  • Excursions
  • 16
  • Project work
  • 100
  • Guidance
  • 3
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206