The Justice of Fermentation

Summer 2023 First Session
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
4 Credits per quarter
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Food justice 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. Social movements for food justice are typically led by the communities most directly impacted, particularly low-income communities of color. In this course, we’ll study this topic along with considering questions like: What is the history of how our food system came to be? What are the legacies of colonialism and enslavement on our current system? How does power operate in the food system?

This course will offer an interdisciplinary inquiry into food justice topics, linking the social and natural sciences. We will study topics that intersect with the natural sciences, with a focus on the microbiome (the diverse microorganisms that make up the terrain of our bodies and our environment). How does pollution (including the chemicals used to grow and process our food) harm our microbiome and which groups are disproportionately impacted? How can traditional foodways (like fermented foods) heal our health? What are the benefits of fermented foods and how can we prepare them? This course will include opportunities for hands-on learning through at-home food fermentation and cooking workshops.

Readings will include Farming While Black by Leah Penniman, Our Fermented Lives by food historian Julia Skinner, and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. This course will be taught online with weekly asynchronous Canvas modules and 3 synchronous classes over the session (2 of these classes will be held on Zoom and 1 will be held in-person at the Sustainable Agriculture Lab on campus). Students will need a computer (with a microphone and speakers and preferably with a camera) and internet access.


Summer 2023 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

First Session (4): 40051

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

food systems, agriculture, entrepreneurship, culinary, nonprofits, health

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$15 for in-person workshop supplies


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SAL 102 - Food Safe Lab