AGRI5504 Organic Agriculture

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit involves an analysis of the principles of organic agriculture using an integrated approach that includes consideration of plant, soil, animal, economic, marketing and social issues. Students work in small groups with an external industry partner using a problem-based and experiential learning approach to write a consultant's report on a topic(s) relevant to the industry. They are encouraged to critically analyse research on organic farming practices and to synthesise information that is applicable in local, national and international contexts. Industry issues relevant to the establishment and functioning of organic farming systems are considered. This enhances practical and theoretical analysis and problem solving skills. Supporting lectures cover the principles of organic farming, nutrient and energy flows in organic farming systems, the use of animals and crops, economic and environmental assessment and consumer issues. Students gain an understanding of (1) the principles of organic agriculture; and (2) the capacity to interpret scientific, economic and social information relevant to organic agriculture practices. Emphasis is on investigating links and interpreting information in a multidisciplinary context. Students can work in areas of their existing expertise or select topics from new areas. Collaboration and critical analysis is essential. Local, national and international data are evaluated. Current national and international trends and debates are monitored.
Students are able to (1) critically evaluate the principles of organic farming practices; (2) critically review scientific literature and experimental data related to organic agriculture; (3) interpret economic analyses of organic farming practices; (4) interpret policies related to organic agriculture; (5) integrate information from multidisciplinary sources related to organic agriculture; and (6) work within a group in a problem-based learning environment on a topic(s) relevant to industry.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) planning, writing and presenting a literature review on selected topic (individual assessment); (2) a written consultant's report (group assessment); and (3) a take-home examination on critical analysis of literature and data related to organic agriculture. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Sasha Jenkins and Emeritus Professor Lynette Abbott
Unit rules
enrolment in the Master of Agricultural Science (72510)
the Master of Science (70630)
Master of Biotechnology (71580)
the Master of Geographic Information Science (71570)
the Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BH004)
SCIE3303 Organic Agriculture and Horticulture, SCIE8303 Organic Agriculture and Horticulture
Contact hours
total workload: 150 hours; contact hours: two x 3 hours sessions per week over 7 weeks
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.