Capstone Project Overview
Future of Food Capstone Assignment: Analysis of Regional Future Food Scenarios
Course-level Learning Goals
- Describe and assess the soil, biological, and water resources and climatic conditions that support food production systems.
- Analyze how human food systems significantly alter earth's ecosystems, specifically the biological, soil, and water resources.
- Evaluate the resilience of food production systems in the context of future climate, human population growth, and socio-economic factors.
Summary of Capstone Assignment
At the beginning of the semester, you will select a food region. Throughout the semester, you will study different aspects of the food systems of your assigned region. By the end of the semester, you will have prepared a paper about your assigned food region that explores and analyzes the current status and the future resilience and sustainability of the food systems in your assigned region.
In order to assess your understanding of the interdisciplinary topics covered in this course, The Future of Food, you will need to demonstrate your mastery of the course learning objectives via the completion of a capstone project. The capstone project requires that you assess the current status of the food systems in an assigned region, and consider the food systems in your assigned region for future scenarios of human population growth and increased temperatures.
The capstone assignment is broken down into five stages that allow you to develop your assessment of the current status of the regional food system gradually as you progress through the course material. At the end of every third module, you will complete an assignment (or stage) designed to help you gather and organize the information you will need to assess future food scenarios. Each stage has an associated worksheet, which includes a table containing questions and suggestions for where to go to gather information or data.
During week 2, you will decide on a capstone region and gain instructor approval. In deciding this please consider a region with (a) significant agricultural production, (b) clearly defined boundaries of interest, (c) enough information published in reputable sources to collect enough information related to course content, and (d) are not too big of an area. To clarify the last point, usually, people choose a selection of small states or provinces that around about 100 miles in diameter.
Outline of capstone stages
You will find a worksheet associated with each stage that outlines in detail the data and information you should be gathering at that stage. The final Stage 5 document provides details regarding what should be included in your final paper or on your final web page. The stages will progress through the semester as outlined in the diagram below (please ignore parts about individual assessments and websites, as these have been removed from the course):
At the end of the semester, you will create a paper or website about your region. More details are provided in the Stage 5 worksheet. Your paper will include the following information:
The Final Capstone Assignment (Stage 5) - Paper on your region's future food scenario
Grading Information and Rubric for Final Capstone Paper:
|Completeness of paper & all supporting documents: Conforms to all instructions and guidelines||All specific instructions are met and exceeded; no components are omitted.||Most instructions are met with only 1 to 2 minor omissions||Some components are present with the omission of several key elements||Missing most components of the project, minimal conformity to guidelines.|
|Identification of the key food systems of the region||Clearly and thoroughly identifies the regional food systems with a clear application of material from Modules 1, 2, & 10||Satisfactory identification of the regional food systems some mention of material from modules 1, 2, & 10||Minimal identification of the regional food systems some mention of material from modules 1, 2, & 10||Little to no identification of the regional food systems some mention of material from modules 1, 2, & 10|
|Assessment of the regional food system and the physical environment of the region (water resources, soils, crops, climate)||Thoroughly articulates specified elements with in-depth & accurate application of key concepts from Modules 4, 5, 6 & 9||Satisfactory articulation of specified elements with some application of key concepts from Modules 4, 5, 6 & 9||Minimal articulation of specified elements with little application of key concepts from Modules 4, 5, 6 & 9||Little to no articulation and application of key concepts from Modules 4, 5, 6 & 9|
|Analysis of the resilience of the regional food system based on data and facts||Thoughtful and thorough consideration of potential vulnerabilities using concepts from Module 11||Satisfactory consideration of potential vulnerabilities using concepts from Module 11||Minimal consideration of potential vulnerabilities with little use of concepts from Module 11||Little to no consideration of potential vulnerabilities with little use of concepts from Module 11|
|Proposes reasonable strategies for sustainability and resilience based on data and facts||Clearly develops viable & insightful strategies with well‐ supported data & research||Develops viable strategies supported by some data and research||Develops minimal strategies supported with limited data and research||Little to no strategies provided or not supported by data and research|
|Overall professionalism and timing||Advanced ‐ no typos, or grammatical concerns, attention to detail with superior effort demonstrated||A solid effort with few typos, or grammatical concerns, attention to detail evident with some effort demonstrated||Minimal effort with numerous typos, or grammatical concerns, little attention to detail minimal effort demonstrated||Little to no effort demonstrated with extensive typos, or grammatical concerns, little to no to attention to detail|
(out of 50)
- Summary of Current Regional Food System
- Summarize the data and information that you’ve gathered throughout the semester about your assigned regional food system(s) and the interaction between those food systems and the environment, as well as any relevant socioeconomic, cultural and policy factors.
- Provide an overview of the current status of your assigned regional food system(s). Summarize the data and information that you acquired in the previous modules to present the current status of your regional food system. Details are provided in the Stage 5 worksheet document.
- Discussion of future scenarios
- What are projections for regional human population growth in your assigned region?
- What are the projections for temperature increases in your assigned region?
- Analysis of the resilience of future food system
- Provide a discussion of the resilience of your food system given the potential of increasing human population growth and increasing temperatures.
- Consider possible impacts of climate change and human population growth on the regional food system and the resilience and/or vulnerability of the food system to those changes.
- Proposed strategies for sustainability enhanced resilience
- Propose strategies that contribute to the increased resilience of your assigned regional food systems in the face of human population growth and rising temperatures and evaporation rates.