From Seed to Fork; the story of how plants evolved and humans adapted them.

Ref: C3530646

This is a course in two halves. For the first three weeks we explore the extraordinary 450 million-year evolution of plants and the inventive ways they solved the many problems arising from the move on to dry land – gravity, nutrition, desiccation and the particularly intractable and surprising issue of reproduction. After half term the focus shifts to how humans have adapted this bountiful heritage. We discover why, where and how agriculture was invented, and why this step has been described as “the worst mistake in history “. We continue with an overview of the key discoveries and different approaches to food growing in places as diverse as China, the Americas, the Islamic World and Britain. We culminate with the revolutionary changes of the Twentieth Century and the challenges and possibilities of the future.

Additional information about this course

NB there is no session on 18th February. There is no fee waiver available for this course.

Course aim

The course has two aims - to provide an introduction to the extraordinary 450-million-year story of the evolution of plants, and to describe how humans have adapted this heritage to their needs during 10 000 years of agricultural history

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe why reproduction was such a challenging issue to land plants. How did they solve it?
  • "A seed is a baby plant in a box with it's lunch". Explain this statement and describe why seed plants were so succesful.
  • Outline two key developments that allowed flowering plants to spread so rapidly around the world.
  • Why did Jared Diamond describe the invention of agriculture as "the worst mistake in the history of the human race"?
  • What can you say about the "Lucky Latitudes"? Do you believe they were well named?

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

From Seed to Fork; the story of how plants evolved and humans adapted them.

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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