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Introduction to Food Systems and Public Health

1st Term
Environmental Health and Engineering
Academic Year
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method
Asynchronous Online with Some Synchronous Online
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year

Introduction to Online Learning

Some of society’s most significant public health and environmental challenges stem from food systems — climate change, resource scarcity, environmental contamination, food insecurity and hunger, obesity and environmental exposures to workers and communities. This course provides a foundational understanding of these vexing problems inherent in food systems and challenges students to consider how food systems are critical to achieving a healthier and more sustainable future for all.
Introduces the complex interactions among diet, food production, ecosystems, public health, and equity. Explores the challenge of nourishing a growing world population against a backdrop of water scarcity, soil degradation, deforestation, climate change and increasing global demand for meat. Presents key historical, economic, and political forces that shape our modern food systems. Discussions and assignments challenge students to apply a systems lens to current issues and critically evaluate interventions to influence policy, food environments and dietary behavior change. Guest speakers include experts from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Define the concepts of food systems, food security and food system sustainability and how each relates to public health
  2. Describe how diet, food production, and our environment interact to impact each other and ultimately, human health
  3. Characterize political, social, cultural and economic influences on food systems
  4. Identify and evaluate opportunities and challenges to reduce the environmental and public health impact of food systems
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 10% Group Presentation
  • 30% Quizzes
  • 25% Reflection
  • 25% Final Paper
  • 10% Participation