This course offers a deep dive into the subject of sustainability within the context of climate change. It provides a forum for exploring the social, cultural, political, and economic issues that arise when considering what it means to live sustainably in our dramatically changing world. Particular emphasis will be placed on food system contributions to global warming, the way that a changing climate will impact the food system, and the potential of food system change as a tool for slowing the process.
This course provides an introduction to the MPS in Food Systems and Sustainability. Students will meet other members of their cohort, learn to navigate program content, and begin their exploration and analysis of food systems and sustainability. Particular emphasis will be placed on the tension between making change through activism and advocacy and making change from within the mainstream food system. Course material will be delivered through a combination of in person lectures and discussions, and through tours that explore different elements of the greater San Francisco Bay area food system.
Students will delve into the concept of systems thinking as it applies to food systems through a dialogical analysis of the academic literature. Students will apply their understanding of systems thinking tools in the modeling of a complex food system problem. Application of systems thinking tools will be used to design an intervention that addresses the problem based on their analysis of its critical pressure points and connections. Students will map possible intended and unintended consequences of the intervention.
The food system is a series of activities designed to feed and nurture us. This course will examine food systems on a global, regional, and local scale through the lens of sustainability. Students will learn about the industrial functions that formulate a food system and some of the factors that impact it. Topics will include trade, government policies, as well as nutritional, social, economic, and environmental matters. Students will explore a variety of initiatives designed to reform food systems while deliberating the complexities of balancing the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, and Profits. Through weekly course work, students will gain broad knowledge of food systems and conceptualize ways to influence improvements.
This course will explore the dietary shifts needed in the US and other high, middle, and low-income countries to achieve global sustainability, food security, and public health goals. Students will be challenged to think critically about the characteristics of sustainable and healthy diets, the influencing factors that shape current and emerging food consumption trends, and how different sectors can play a role in advancing evidence-based programs and policies for changing eating patterns in the US and globally. Through readings, videos, interactive discussions, guest lectures, and project assignments, this course will prepare students become effective advocates for programs and policies that support healthy and more sustainable dietary changes among diverse audiences.