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The Science of Sustainable Food Production

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Release Date: June 2025

Lead Organisation: Centre For Alternative Technology

This module comprises a series of lectures, supported by interactive seminars and practical activities. Lectures draw on a wide variety of theoretical and applied topics with a wide use of case studies throughout. The module is available either through distance learning or as a residential learning experience at the Centre for Alternative Technology. Distance learners will have access to the same lectures as in person participants and take part in interactive online seminars.


  • Large scale patterns: biogeography, historical and evolutionary contexts for crop production, including the growth of non-food crops.
  • Impact of crop production on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, soil conservation and ecology, and wider ecosystem services.
  • Science of GMOs, organic agriculture, agroecology, conventional agriculture, permaculture and other food production methods and technologies.

Students will:

  • Study the biogeography of crops and the importance of geographical climate, soil and water resources, and amendments.
  • Study the actual and potential use, and science, of GMOs, energy crops, and food growing approaches (e.g. Permaculture, agroforestry, agroecology, organic agriculture and conventional agriculture).
  • Analyse the impacts of different food production methods on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, soil health, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Use data to analyse food production methods and their impact on the environment.
  • Appreciate the key scientific advances, debates and uncertainties in the science of sustainable food production.
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Downloadable Resources

Research Proposal Form Brochure