751-5003-00L  Sustainable Agroecosystems II

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersK. Benabderrazik, J. Six
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


751-5003-00 VSustainable Agroecosystems II2 hrs
Thu/2w14:15-18:00LFW B 1 »
K. Benabderrazik, J. Six

Catalogue data

AbstractThis class conveys current topics and methods of agroecological and food systems research through selected case studies from ongoing research of the Sustainable Agroecosystems group. Students will be encouraged to develop critical thinking competencies, through individual and group work, on major agricultural and food system challenges and paths towards agricultural and food system transformation
Objective(1) Systematically analyse and discuss case studies from ongoing agroecological and food system research.
(2) Learn and experiment on methods for field and laboratory investigations in agroecology.
(3) Engage with positive and empowering frameworks that motivate
critical reflection and action on the types of transformative responses needed to adapt and thrive within agricultural and food systems.
(4) Reflect critically on agricultural and food system transformation tools and methods from the perspective a food system stakeholder.
(5) Identify and describe institutions in the context of sustainable agricultural development (for Bachelor and Master thesis and internships).
ContentThe course will address a wide range of agricultural and food system challenges (e.g. food security, climate crisis, soil degradation, etc.) in both temperate and tropical contexts. In class we will address topics like building food system resilience through innovative measures, improving soil fertility management or understanding the effects of agroforestry systems.
Case studies from the on-going research in the Sustainable Agroecosystems Group (sae.ethz.ch) will be presented, covering different scales (e.g. food value-chains, farm dynamics and soil management).
The class is complemented by practical group work conducted with the CSA Meh Als Gmues in Zürich on Measuring and monitoring Agroecological performance.
Students will gain an overview on institutions and actors’ roles in the field of sustainable agricultural development. Throughout the group work, students will learn to engage directly with various stakeholders, monitor agroecological transition and communicate their research to a wider audience. Ultimately, this class should provide an overview on methods, tools, innovations and platforms that support a sustainable food transformation.
LiteratureGliessman, S.R., Méndez, V.E., Izzo, V.M., & Engles, E.W. (2022). Agroecology: Leading the Transformation to a Just and Sustainable Food System (4th ed.). CRC Press. Link

HLPE. 2019. Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition. A report by the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome.
Link to report: Link
Prerequisites / NoticePrior participation in the lecture Nachhaltige Agrarökosysteme I (Sustainable Agroecosystems I) 751-5000-00G (spring term) recommended.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Project Managementfostered
Social CompetenciesCommunicationfostered
Cooperation and Teamworkassessed
Self-presentation and Social Influence fostered
Sensitivity to Diversityfostered
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityfostered
Creative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsfostered
Self-awareness and Self-reflection fostered
Self-direction and Self-management fostered

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits2 credits
ExaminersK. Benabderrazik, J. Six
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.

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Offered in

Agricultural Sciences BachelorPlant SciencesW+Information
Agricultural Sciences BachelorElectivesWInformation
Agricultural Sciences MasterSustainable Agricultural DevelopmentW+Information
Environmental Sciences BachelorAgroecologyWInformation
Environmental Sciences MasterMinor in Agricultural Plant Production and EnvironmentWInformation