Terroir/Meroir: Toward Agroecological Agribusiness?

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
OlympiaStudy Abroad
Olympia +
study abroad option
Class Size: 60
0% Reserved for Freshmen
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Lal, Prita
food justice, social movements, urban agriculture, social inequalities
Steve Scheuerell
ecology, botany, plant pathology
Feminist Theory, Cultural Studies

Regeneration is in the air –– and the ground, and the sea. We will explore how food movements focused on ‘terroir’ and ‘meroir,’ the  tastes of place  from land and sea, might regenerate diverse food traditions, economies, and bio-cultural landscapes and seascapes in the face of globalizing standardization and climate change. What is required for a “sea change” in how we value food, farming, and aquaculture?  How can cultivating a sense of taste and an appreciation for specific foods produced in specific places change our very notion of value?  How much are  you  willing to support distant farmers and ecosystems that supply our magical and “exotic” elixers –– coffee, tea, chocolate?  This revolution will require more than self-care and indulgence; we need cooperation, equity, and a commitment to honoring place and cultivating culturally relevant, nutritious, and flavorful nourishment.

As we explore these possibilities, we will look to understand  taste  and  flavor  in theory and practice: we will analyze their anatomies, which are often gendered; describe their properties, which relate to the infrastructures of which they are part; and investigate their aesthetics, which are paradoxically both cultural and individual.  Our approaches will engage many learning modalities: tasting labs, readings, films, seminars, lectures, guest speakers, industry and research conferences, hands-on practicums, technology workshops, and field trips to independent and cooperative enterprises that exemplify emerging trends in agribusiness, agritourism, and agroecology. We will take up both evolutionary and historical perspectives as we explore oysters, geoduck, tomatoes, hops, craft malting, brewing and distilling, and the burgeoning Pacific Northwest apple, wine, chicory, and grain industries, as well as the global worlds of chocolate, coffee and tea. 

This program is designed as a year-long, team-taught, interdisciplinary learning community. Fall quarter will focus on political agroecology as a social movement, including topics from food sovereignty, social and environmental justice.  These will be paired with hands-on practicums, as well as food field trips and terroir/meroir sensory labs. We’ll use Evergreen’s campus farm and shoreline shellfish garden to experience farming and shellfish aquaculture, while tasting land and sea.  Winter quarter, we will extend our focus on power and oppression in food systems and add ecological agriculture, soil science and agroforestry to explore how climate, soil, and farming practices influence flavor and food system sustainability. Because climate change is impacting all of what we will study, we’ll examine how agroecological farming practices can contribute to climate solutions and increase the resiliency of food and farming systems. Spring quarter, we will focus on research methods and applying what we have learned by designing student research projects or internships, which can serve advanced students as an opportunity for capstone projects. We will work to support all students in creatively engaging with the opportunities and challenges of new food economies and changing climates.

Greener Foundations:  This program will incorporate Greener Foundations, a holistic course designed for first-time, first-year students. Faculty and staff collaborate to bring study skills, academic planning, health and wellness education, advising, and more into the classroom. More information can be found on the college website at Greener Foundations .

Study abroad:

During the spring quarter students' independent or team field studies may include study abroad with appropriate planning and preparation.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

food studies, agriculture, entrepreneurship, agritourism, community development, education


Credits per quarter


Ability to work well with others. 

Online learning:
  • Fall and Winter: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
  • Spring: Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$280 in Fall for entrance fees and overnight field trips, $220 in Winter for overnight field trips and conferences, and $75 in Spring for overnight field trips.

Upper division science credit:

Advanced students with lower-division natural science background can work with faculty member Steve Scheuerell to design a spring quarter research project to earn up to 12 upper division natural science credits. This option must be worked out and approved by faculty by the start of spring quarter to be a viable option.

Internship Opportunities:

Spring quarter students may arrange for an in-program internship at a site of their choosing. 

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 60
0% Reserved for Freshmen

Scheduled for: Day

First meeting:

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 9:30 am
Organic Farmhouse

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:

Fall, winter, spring 2023-24