Study Food Systems in Cuba – January 2017


Students not attending UMass Amherst may take this class!   You will need to join us for bi-weekly meetings during the fall semester to prepare for the trip which will take place from January 3-19, 2017.  Contact Dr. Frank Mangan for details.

University of Massachusetts Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture Cuba Food Systems Syllabus

STOCKSCH 397 – Food Systems in Cuba: Production, Logistics and Marketing

Fall 2016 and Winter Session 2017

Credits: 3


The understanding of food systems is critical to many aspects of sustainable agriculture, including crop production, packing, distribution, sales and environmental considerations. This class will study the food system in Cuba by visiting farms, both urban and rural, markets and meetings with government agencies involved in the various aspects of the food system in Cuba. Students will also have a personal look at the food system for a Cuban family where they will stay for most of the course.

Course Description

During the Fall semester, students will study food systems in Cuba though articles and discussions during bi-weekly meetings. Each student will choose a topic related to the food system and write a paper on that subject based on what they learned during the time in Cuba and readings.

At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the food system in Cuba based on readings, specific visits and lectures in Cuba.
  • Demonstrate cultural understanding through direct observation, participation and discussion with Cuban farmers, vendors and government officials who work in the Cuban food system.


  • Given that this is a course about a system, we will accept students who are studying any discipline that is related to this system. This is a partial list of departments that are relevant to this course: Accounting, Communication, Environmental Conservation, Finance, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Language, Literatures and Cultures, Management, Marketing, Nutrition, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Resource Economics, Social Thought and Political Economy, Sociology, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, Veterinary and Animal.
  • Spanish language proficiency (completion of 2 semesters of college Spanish) is encouraged, but not required
  • An interview with the instructor, Frank Mangan, is required before being accepted into the course. This interview can happen by phone.
  • This course will have a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 15 students.

Time Allotment

Fall Semester 2016

o Biweekly meetings for discussion and readings

o Schedule will be set the first week of September based on students schedule

o Students can attend meetings remotely for the fall semester

In Cuba

o Tentative dates, January 3 – 19, 2017

o Eight hours/day of class time in Cuba

Some time off will be provided during the time in Cuba

o Time can be used to finish paper upon returning to the US.


Teaching Personnel

Frank Mangan, PhD

Extension Associate Professor

Stockbridge School of Agriculture

416 Paige Lab UMass Amherst Phone: 413-545-1178



Teaching/Learning Methods

A focus of the course will be selected readings and information gained from farm and market visits in Cuba, and presentations by government officials

  • Students will choose a specific topic related to the food system in Cuba for a paper.
  • Final paper is due by February 15



Each student will choose a topic that interests them and is related to the food system in Cuba.

o We want to take advantage of the presentations, farm and markets visits during the trip – i.e. primary data

o These visits and presentations will provide source material for the project

o Students are encouraged to present their ideas for a topic to the class for input while in Cuba

o The topic has to be OK’d by Frank Mangan


Methods of Evaluation

  • Attending and participation in classes and presentations: – 70% of the grade
  • Final paper on the project – 30% of the grade



  • While in Havana Cuba, students will stay in Cuban homes, all within a four block area. There will be some time spent outside of Havana when students will stay with families or in apartments


Accommodation Statement

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.




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