Terroir/Meroir: Toward Agroecological Agribusiness? (remote/in-person*)

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 60
16 Credits per quarter
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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 pandemic injustices, globalizing standardization, and climate change. What is required for a sea change in how we value food, farming, aquaculture, and increasing regenerative agriculture and resilient local food networks? 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: readings, films, seminars, lectures, guest speakers, hands-on practicums, and technology workshops to begin, and as pandemic conditions allow, during winter and spring we'll aim for tasting labs, industry and research conferences, 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, salmon, 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. We'll use Evergreen's campus farm and shoreline shellfish garden to explore farming and shellfish aquaculture through hands-on practicums, paired with learning the natural history of these foods and their role in food cultures. To understand how terroir/meroir is nature-culture, both science and myth, marketing and aesthetics, memory and dream we'll watch, interpret, and analyze food in media as well as create our own documentation of tasting experiences. 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 regenerative farming and aquaculture practices can contribute to climate solutions and increase the resiliency of food and farming systems.  

*Spring quarter, we will focus on research methods to apply what we have learned by designing student research projects or community-based internships, including hybrid in-person opportunities in the campus community garden on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30-11:30 AM, which can serve advanced students as an opportunity for capstone projects. Students may also choose from online program components focused on Soil Science, Agroforestry Systems, Climate Justice and Resilience and Related Special Event Series, Integrative Seminar, and Case Studies through In-Program ILCs. We will work to support all students in creatively engaging with the opportunities and challenges of new cooperative food economies and changing climates. 

Technology required for successful engagement with Terroir/Meroir includes high speed internet and a computer (not just cell phone) for Canvas; Online Research; Zoom (including breakout rooms with audio and video); WordPress; Film streaming services through the Evergreen Library, Netflix and Amazon Prime; and MS Office 365 including One-Drive.  Our approach will emphasize participation in synchronous (live) sessions of 12 hours with 28 hours of additional asynchronous work for a total of 40 hours per week for 16 credits of winter quarter academic work.  If students find themselves unable to participate due to technology, caregiving obligations, economic disruption, health risk, or illness, they should be pro-active in working with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related or reduced credit.  Students in the Olympia area should plan to pick up tasting kits on campus or provide anaddress to have tasting kits mailed. 

Greener Foundations (fall quarter only):  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 . 

Note: Prita Lal is part of the teaching team fall quarter only.  



Ability to work well with others. 

Fall 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10097
Fr (16): 10100
Winter 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20057
Fr (16): 20058
Spring 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 30063
Fr (16): 30064

Academic details

Preparatory For

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

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$30 in fall and winter for tasting materials (for remote consumption)

Special Expenses

Subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

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. 


In Person or Remote
Remote (F)
Remote (W)
Hybrid (S)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

Study Abroad

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

May be offered again in
<p>Fall, winter, spring 2023-24</p>
DateRevision 2020-08-13 This program is now fully remote during fall quarter