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471 - Sustainable Food

Core/Elective: Elective
Credits: 0.5
Quarter Taught: Fall


Synopsis:This class will cover the main sustainability topics related to growing, commercializing, transporting and consuming sustainable food. It will focus on tangible methods to promote sustainability in the food industry such as regenerative agriculture techniques, reducing GHG emissions throughout the supply chain and reduced food waste. It will provide a broad overview of the economic, technological and environmental considerations in implementing sustainable food solutions, with a focus on the private sector.  Particular focus will be placed on the practical reality of how to assess and implement solutions in the food industry.  


Course Objectives:

  • Defining Sustainable Food Systems: Students to discuss the evolution of the modern food system, the concept and definition of sustainable food and practical application. 
  • Agricultural Methods: Students will learn about different agricultural methods such as organic or regenerative agricultural practices, intercropping, GMO, etc. to understand the opportunity for agricultural change in promoting food sustainability. 
  • Food Waste, Processing & Packaging: Students will learn about reduced waste product development and consolidation of the food industry – pros and cons – and the various methods to reduce food waste within processing and packaging. 
  • Distribution and Transportation: Along with a focus on production/ processing and the end consumer, students will also go over food distribution as an environmental challenge. This will apply concepts from transportation sustainability, traceability, block chain, etc. to the food industry. 
  • Environmental Impact Analysis: Using Life Cycle Assessments and supply chain mapping, students will apply their ability to analyze environmental impact to the food industry, assessing the environmental pros and cons of solutions also applying standard financial cost-benefit analyses. 
  • Consumer-Oriented Analysis: Students will look at consumer trends to understand how companies are promoting sustainable food. Including a discussion how 3rd party certifications play a role in consumer choice.