MSFS-500: Sustainability and Climate Change

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.

MSFS-501A: Exploring the Greater San Francisco Bay Area Food System

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.

MSFS-501B: Exploring Hudson Valley and New York Food Systems

This course offers an in-person, hands-on exploration of the food system of the Hudson Valley. Students will evaluate the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of farms and food businesses, while also visiting several non-profit organizations working to improve the food system in the region. One full day will be spent at the Menus of Change Summit, and participants will become familiar with Menus of Change principles and initiatives through discussion and reading. Students will also present proposals for their final project in the SFS MPS Program.

MSFS-505: Systems Thinking Seminar

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.

MSFS-510: Local, Regional, and Global Food Systems

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.

MSFS-520: Race, Class, and Justice from the Field to the Table

This course will focus on exercises, research and reading from a diverse range of historical and current influential environmental writings from philosophers, economists, environmentalists, theologians, political scientists, naturalists, and practitioners.  Learners will analyze the impact that human actions have on the natural world-particularly through foodways, or the social, cultural, and economic practices of producing and consuming food.  This course will also explore how our understanding of race/ethnicity, nature, and the environment influences human choices around food.  And it offers alternative courses of action toward viable, ethical, and antiracist solutions to questions about sustainable farming, global economic inequality, and world hunger.  Throughout the semester, participants will use the lens of race and ethnicity to study and discuss how these two concepts affect access to agricultural land, foodstuffs / foodways, environmental justice and nature.

MSFS-530: Sustainable Agriculture

This course will cover the basics of agricultural production, discuss the shortcomings of conventional agricultural practices, and explore sustainable alternatives. The course uses lectures, readings, and interactive activities to provide students with agricultural literacy and challenge them to analyze complex agricultural problems while weighing a variety of social, biological, economic, and political factors.

MSFS-540: Sustainable Diets and Public Health

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.

MSFS-550: Culinary Strategy and Food System Innovation

Innovation is not just about creating new things - often it is about creating new value. This course explores our culinary choices/practices, and their impact on our pleasure, health, and well-being of the planet. The first section of the course will look at food service professionals and establishments who are recognized for their efforts in the field of sustainability. We then move on to sourcing and utilizing food products.  For this, we look at the basic physical characteristics of foods; the understanding of these principles assists us in understanding why something is a healthier and more sustainable product. We'll wrap up with strategies for reducing food waste and going carbon neutral. This course will include videos, interviews, readings, and reflective activities, which will encourage students to view the possibilities within their own careers with new insight.

MSFS-560: Food Movement Voices: How to Create Change

Food Movement Voices is a media-based course designed to expose students to various individuals, events, or actions that may provoke change or highlight a specific individual within the food system. It will feature the application of theoretical knowledge, connected to specific tasks. Over the course of the term the students will work individually and collaboratively as a cohort to review, research, and critique written material, audio and video files that showcase several relevant themes related to the concept of Food Voice. By the end of the term students will have produced their own body of work in the form of a series of short podcasts, and ancillary collateral materials for marketing and promotion of their concept and themes.

MSFS-570: Leadership, Engagement, and Impact

This course will introduce students to the different ways that individual stakeholders can actively influence the practices and policies that control the global food system.  The class will
focus on showcasing how chefs, farmers, and others use their personal profiles, restaurants, and networks to influence policies related to worker rights, environmental sustainability, nutrition incentives, and social justice.  The course will present historical and current case studies of individuals and companies leading food system reforms by changing their own business practices, working directly with community-based organizations, and advocating for policy changes.

MSFS-580: Applied Project in Food System Sustainability

This is the capstone course for the MPS Program in Sustainable Food Systems. In this course, students will design and conduct a project on a topic of their choosing related to food system sustainability and transformation. The course will assist students in defining the direction of their future career as food systems professionals. Projects may be research based, entrepreneurial, experiential, focused on a specific outcome such as a grant proposal or publication, or may take other forms relevant to the student’s goals and interests.