Food Systems, Social Justice, and the Environment

Winter Open
Class Standing
Prita Lal

In this program, students will delve into understanding food as part of wider systems (relating to production, distribution, consumption, and waste). Guiding questions include: What is a food system?  Who benefits from our current food system? What are the social and ecological impacts of our food system? Who gets excluded and burdened with these costs? What are the causes of hunger? How is hunger a social construction? The concept of food justice, which is a holistic and structural view of the food system that treats real, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right, will be a core theme of this program. Students will gain historical grounding in how our current food system came to be, with a focus on understanding the legacies of settler colonialism and enslavement on our food system. We will explore our studies of the food system in an intersectional manner, with significant attention given to the intersections of food and structural racism, along with the ways in which food justice intersects with other social issues like gentrification, the prison industrial complex, racial justice, Indigenous sovereignty, environmentalism, farmworker and labor organizing, healthcare, and more.

Assignments will consist of four bi-weekly discussion board posts and one case study, where students individually research a food justice organization or movement (contemporary or historical) and create a recorded power point video describing their case. This program will be taught fully online with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. The program will meet synchronously on Zoom during even weeks (for seminar and workshops). During odd weeks, students will complete asynchronous modules on Canvas, which consists of recorded lectures, film, and discussion boards. Students will need a computer with camera, microphone, and internet access.

Anticipated Credit Equivalencies:

4 - Intersectional Food Justice

4 - Food System Histories


Academic Details

Agricultural education, farming, entrepreneurship, nonprofit work, food policy



Remote (W)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Evening and Weekend
Schedule Details
<p>Winter 2025</p>