ES 230: Soil to Plate, Spring 2016                                                                              
                    Allegheny College
                                                       Lecture: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00 am-12:15 pm, Carr Hall 239
                                                                    Lab: Wednesday 1:30-4:20 pm, Carr Hall 220

Instructors and Office Hours:

Eric Pallant--Carr Hall 211, epallant@allegheny.edu

 Office Hours: Monday 1:30-4:00,  Tuesday, 2:30 - 3:30, Friday 1:30- 2:30, or by appointment.  Sign up on line here.


Beth Choate--Carr Hall 208, bchoate@allegheny.edu

    Office Hours: Monday and Tuesday 1:30-3:30, Thursday 1:00-3:00, or by appointment.  Sign up on line here.




  • Soil to Plate is a critical interdisciplinary survey of food production around the world.  We will discuss all aspects of agriculture and food systems: soil management and crop production; insect and pest management; energy and water requirements; food processing and preparation; food distribution and food justice; food politics and economics; culture, cooking, diet and health.  You will learn to critically evaluate what you eat and what others eat, how and where your food is grown, and the pros and cons of conventional, organic, sustainable and local food production.  The goal of this course is to help you develop more nuanced and informed ideas of the complexities involved in producing sufficient high quality food for a global population of more than seven billion people. In the process, the course seeks to help build critical thinking skills and empower you to be active and effective participants in environmental problem solving. 

  • Kohnke H. and Franzmeier D.P. 1995. Soil Science Simplified, Fourth edition.  Waveland Press, Inc.
  • The New York Times.
  • Readings listed online--NOTE these are subject to be updated.  Please check the website frequently!

Course Rubric

GRADING (subject to minor modifications during semester):

  • Participation                                                                              50
  • Field trip write-ups and lab reports (8 at 20 points each)               160
  • Crop fertilization paper                                                              100
  • Pest poster presentations                                                           50
  • Standards for organic                                                                 50
  • FINAL project: What's the best thing to eat?                               120


The honor code is strictly enforced in this class and can be reviewed here: http://www.allegheny.edu/academics/principles.php. If you have questions regarding honor code policies, please see us. Anyone suspected of plagiarism, the most common form of academic dishonesty, will be reported to the Honor Code Committee. A clear statement of what constitutes plagiarism is provided here: http://webpub.allegheny.edu/dept/writingcenter/Links/plagiarism.htm


All laboratory sessions are mandatory for successful completion of the course.  It is advised that you purchase a notebook specifically for taking notes during the designated lab period, whether conducting an experiment or on a field trip.  Weather conditions may not always be ideal for outdoor excursions; however, you are expected to be prepared.  You are responsible for bringing cold weather gear, rain gear and/or appropriate footwear for each lab period.  Please contact us if you have questions prior to a field trip.

Soil to Plate in CarrDen

Subpages (2): Recipes Resources