Fall 2019 Sustainable Food Systems Courses

Interested in taking a food systems course next semester? See below for a sampling of course offerings for fall semester 2019! 

**Note that you do not need to minor in Food & Environment or pursue a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems to enroll in these courses**

Undergraduate                                                  Graduate      

Find a complete listing of courses offered this fall below!

UNDERGRADUATE

Introductory Courses

ANTHRARC 180 – First Year Seminar: Food at the University of Michigan

Monday & Wednesday 2:30 – 4pm | 3 credits | Note: First-year students only

BIOLOGY 105 – Biology of Nutrition

Tuesday & Thursday 11:30am – 1pm | 4 credits | The purpose of this course is to give you a better understanding of your nutritional needs, and of what you can eat and drink to satisfy them. To achieve this purpose, in BIOLOGY 105 you study human physiology to learn what your body needs and why it needs it, and you study sources of food and drink to learn what you can choose to eat and drink to provide your body with what it needs. BIOLOGY 105 addresses nutritional issues of normal, healthy young adults, including weight control, aerobic and strength activities, pregnancy and babies, food additives and food safety, as well as some social issues such as hunger and conservation.

BIOLOGY 105 – First-Year Seminar: Myth Busters: Health and Nutrition

Wednesday & Friday 10 – 11:30am | 3 credits | Note: First-year students only

ENVIRON 101 – Food, Energy, and Environmental Justice 

Monday, Wednesday & Friday 3-4pm | 4 credits | In recent years it has become apparent that current energy and food sourcing is damaging the environment from global warming to pesticide runoff. This course treats the issues of energy, food, and the environment from a biological and sociopolitical point of view. It emphasizes the historical trajectories that generated current conditions and the scientific options for revamping our energy and food systems to make them more consistent with environmental sustainability.

ENVIRON 139 – First- Year Seminar: Taming Nature: Domestication and Conservation

Monday & Wednesday 10-11:30am | 3 credits | Note: First-year students only

ENVIRON 139 – First- Year Seminar: How America Eats in the 21st Century

Tuesday & Thursday 10 – 11:30 am | 3 credits | Note: First-year students only

ENVIRON 270 – Globalization and its Discontents: Struggles for Food, Water, and Energy

Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10 – 11:30am | 4 credits | We will examine sustainable development and globalization through the struggles with food and water scarcity and energy justice. Using lectures, films, discussions, and assignments, this course aims to foster critical thinking about how societies are organized, and to evaluate what we can contribute to the pursuit of a sustainable and just biosphere.

ENVIRON 290 – Food: The Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of Growing and Eating

Monday & Wednesday 8:30 – 10am | 3 credits | Food systems have environmental, economic, ethical, and political dimensions. They intersect with health, ecological resilience, security, justice, and democracy. The course examines patterns of food production and consumption via histories, case studies and personal accounts, across cultures and across time. Special attention is paid to the possibilities for sustainability and equity.


Topical Courses

ENVIRON/MIDEAST 219 – Food and Drink in the Middle East

Tuesday & Thursday 10 – 11:30am | 4 credits | This course will explore the social history of Middle Eastern (and North African) food and drink, examining records from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, medieval cookbooks and wine poetry from Baghdad, imperial art and account books of the Ottoman palace, to modern cookbook-memoirs. We will also have a direct experience of culinary practices in the Middle East and the diaspora. Food and social practices of eating and drinking provide a uniquely intimate version of the history of this region through lived experience that also shows the universal humanity of these cultures.

ENVIRON/Earth 262 – Plants and People

Tuesday & Thursday 10 – 11:30am | 4 credits | This course examines the relationship between plants, people, and the environment; focusing on economically important plants. Plants are important for survival, aesthetic, and environmental purposes and have had significant impacts on human history, society, and environment. Today plants are critical for our future. Topics include foods, fibers, drugs, and ornamentals.

ENVIRON 270 – Globalization and its Discontents: Struggles for Food, Water, and Energy

Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10 – 11:30am | 4 credits | We will examine sustainable development and globalization through the struggles with food and water scarcity and energy justice. Using lectures, films, discussions, and assignments, this course aims to foster critical thinking about how societies are organized, and to evaluate what we can contribute to the pursuit of a sustainable and just biosphere.

ENVIRON 290 – Food: The Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of Growing and Eating

Monday & Wednesday 8:30 – 10am | 3 credits | Food systems have environmental, economic, ethical, and political dimensions. They intersect with health, ecological resilience, security, justice, and democracy. The course examines patterns of food production and consumption via histories, case studies and personal accounts, across cultures and across time. Special attention is paid to the possibilities for sustainability and equity.

ENVIRON/ASIAN/ INTLSTD 351 – Chinese Food in Crisis: Health, Ecology, and Identity in an Age of Globalization

Monday & Wednesday 11:30am – 1pm | 3 credits | This course looks at the role that culinary globalization has played in reshaping the Chinese diet, along with its implications for health, the environment, and political identity.

ENVIRON 421 – Ecological Restoration

Monday & Wednesday 2:30 – 4pm | 4 credits | This course offers an introduction to the science, policy, and social issues around ecological restoration and explores where local agriculture fits in the larger context of restoration. We examine and discuss a multitude of restoration projects – urban, rural, and natural areas – through the use of case studies, field trips, and guest lectures from local practitioners of restoration ecology. Field trips to local restoration sites will include field exercises to learn how to collect data for site inventory, monitoring, and assessing restoration success.

ENVIRON 462/URP 427 – Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems

Tuesday & Thursday 1 – 2:30pm | 3 credits | Increasing food system sustainability requires interdisciplinarity: reconnecting agriculture with ecological systems, reshaping food production systems to be more nutrition-sensitive, and ensuring that policies and institutions that impact the food system safeguard social equity and the environment. Benefitting from collaborative interdisciplinary instruction that draws on the expertise of 3 professors from 3 different departments, students will develop competencies and cognitive skills in the area of food system sustainability including critical and systems thinking, creativity, and analytical ability.

ENVIRON 462.002 – Localization: Transitional Thinking for the New Normal

Wednesday 5:30 – 8pm | 3 credits | However vast were the resources used to create industrial civilization, they were never limitless. Biophysical constraints, always a part of human existence, could be ignored for these past few centuries, a one-time era of resource abundance. This is no longer possible. We can accept that transition to a different live pattern is inevitable, but the form of our response is not preordained. The course develops one plausible response called localization. It focuses on place-based living within the limits of nearby natural systems. The course covers the drivers of localization and examples in practice. It also introduces the philosophies of localization and the tools needed to make the transition peaceful, democratic, just and resilient.

ALA 370.002 The Measure of Our Meals: Food Studies Research Methods

Monday & Wednesday 1 – 2:30pm | 3 credits | In this course, we explore the cross-disciplinary methods used to study food. We use LCAs to measure the differences between conventional and alternative production systems. We use ethnography to explore different cooking and eating practices and their cultural significance. We perform close readings to understand the attitudes towards food revealed by advertisements, television shows, and films. Lastly, we explore the different methods used by historians to understand the development of ancient cuisines and GMOs.

ANTHRCUL 254 – The Anthropology of Food

Monday & Wednesday 1 – 2:30pm | 4 credits | Every human eats, and yet the styles and meaning of sharing food and drink together vary enormously across cultures. This course introduces students to anthropological approaches to cooking, feasting, fasting, the politics of obesity, and the cultures of fast, slow, artisanal, local and global foods.

ARCH/URP 357 – Architecture, Sustainability and the City

Tuesday & Thursday 9 – 10am | 3 credits | An in-depth exposure to American and international urban planning, architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture that is environmentally sustainable and resilient, as well as culturally enriched, aesthetically accomplished, socially equitable, and economically viable. The built environment accounts for approximately half our planet’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, and strongly impacts global climate change and resource depletion, both of which can be dramatically reduced by good design and planning that also improve the quality of life, health and community for humans and other species. The lectures, class discussions and readings will include a wide range of scales and topics, such as ecological footprints, passive solar design, social and economic justice, suburban sprawl, waste and water management, agriculture and food, cultural norms, alternative urbanisms, and energy- and environmentally-conscious buildings, cities and landscapes, as well as related regulations, policy and best practices.

BIOLOGY 121 002 – Topics in Biology: Plants and Human Conflict

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11am-12pm | 3 credits

BIOLOGY 212 – Plants and Human Health

Monday & Wednesday 4-5:30pm | 3 credits | In recent decades, our society has generated renewed interests in plants for our needs to have a balanced diet, a more natural approach to medicine, a clean environment, and an overall healthy lifestyle. Plants are integral components of formulas to meet these needs. In this course, students will learn basic botany, human use of plants as food and medicine, and the important relationship between environment and human health. Active participation by students in class discussion and on field trips is required after they read materials in a textbook, research articles, and investigate online sources outside the classroom. A self-designed course project stimulates independent and active thinking, and helps students learn in a relaxed environment at self-controlled pace.

EARTH 154 – Ocean Resources

Monday & Wednesday 1 – 2:30pm | 3 credits | This course focuses on resources from the ocean and how these are used by and influenced by humans. Two general subject areas are covered: minerals and energy from the oceans, and food resources in the oceans.

MOVESCI/HF 241 – Exercise, Nutrition and Weight Control

Tuesday & Thursday 1 – 2:30pm | 3 credits | Study of body mass regulation including the understanding of food, digestion, metabolism and different intervention strategies such as a diet and exercise. Students learn assessment and prescription principles and techniques.

PUBHLTH 403 – Obesity: From Cells to Society

Tuesday & Thursday 9 – 10am | 3 credits

 

Synthetic Courses

ENVIRON/ASIAN/ INTLSTD 351 – Chinese Food in Crisis: Health, Ecology, and Identity in an Age of Globalization

Monday & Wednesday 11:30am – 1pm | 3 credits | This course looks at the role that culinary globalization has played in reshaping the Chinese diet, along with its implications for health, the environment, and political identity.

ENVIRON 462/URP 427 – Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems

Tuesday & Thursday 1 – 2:30pm | 3 credits | Increasing food system sustainability requires interdisciplinarity: reconnecting agriculture with ecological systems, reshaping food production systems to be more nutrition-sensitive, and ensuring that policies and institutions that impact the food system safeguard social equity and the environment. Benefitting from collaborative interdisciplinary instruction that draws on the expertise of 3 professors from 3 different departments, students will develop competencies and cognitive skills in the area of food system sustainability including critical and systems thinking, creativity, and analytical ability.

ALA 370.002 The Measure of Our Meals

Monday & Wednesday 1 – 2:30pm | 3 credits | In this course, we explore the cross-disciplinary methods used to study food. We use LCAs to measure the differences between conventional and alternative production systems. We use ethnography to explore different cooking and eating practices and their cultural significance. We perform close readings to understand the attitudes towards food revealed by advertisements, television shows, and films. Lastly, we explore the different methods used by historians to understand the development of ancient cuisines and GMOs.

PUBHLTH 403 – Obesity: From Cells to Society

Tuesday & Thursday 9 – 10am | 3 credits

 

GRADUATE

EAS 501.055 – Food Systems: Implications of Unequal Access

Tuesday 3 – 6pm | 4 credits | The course examines several dimensions of food insecurity. It starts with an examination of rising hunger globally then assesses household food insecurity in the U.S. Discussions will cover access to food in urban and rural areas of the U.S. The course will also examine the research and conceptualization of food systems as analyze concepts such as “food deserts,” “food oases,” “food swamps,” and “food grasslands.” We will examine understudied parts of food systems such as urban farms, community and school gardens, subsistence fishing, hunting, and food gathering activities. It will also examine food production and food acquisition strategies in low-income areas. Students in the course will also examine the role of farmers’ markets, food assistance programs, etc., in providing access to food. Students will also examine the impact of food insecurity on health as well as racial and economic disparities in access to food.

EAS 553 – Diverse Farming Systems: Theory & Practice

Monday & Wednesday 1 – 2:30pm | 3 credits | We will critically explore literature on agroecology, biodiversity, ecosystem services, diversified farming systems, agroforestry, and farmers’ livelihoods. The course will focus on the application of ecological theory to the study of diverse farming systems including intercropping and agroforestry; biodiversity both in terms of how agricultural landscapes affect biodiversity and how biodiversity contributes to the sustainability, productivity and resilience of agroecosystems and farming communities; management aspects of agroforestry and diverse farming systems; and social issues in diverse farming systems, such as gender issues and the rural social movements that promote diverse farming systems and agroecology.

EAS 564 – Localization: Transitional Thinking for the New Normal

Wednesday 5:30 – 8pm| 3 credits | However vast were the resources used to create industrial civilization, they were never limitless. Biophysical constraints, always a part of human existence, could be ignored for these past few centuries, a one-time era of resource abundance. This is no longer possible. We can accept that transition to a different live pattern is inevitable, but the form of our response is not preordained. The course develops one plausible response called localization. It focuses on place-based living within the limits of nearby natural systems. The course covers the drivers of localization and examples in practice. It also introduces the philosophies of localization and the tools needed to make the transition peaceful, democratic, just and resilient.

NUTR 555, URP 527 – Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems

Tuesday & Thursday 1-2:30pm | 3 credits | Increasing food system sustainability requires interdisciplinarity: reconnecting agriculture with ecological systems, reshaping food production systems to be more nutrition-sensitive, and ensuring that policies and institutions that impact the food system safeguard social equity and the environment. Benefitting from collaborative interdisciplinary instruction that draws on the expertise of 3 professors from 3 different departments, students will develop competencies and cognitive skills in the area of food system sustainability including critical and systems thinking, creativity, and analytical ability.

NUTR 610 – Evolutionary Nutrition: Implications for Human Health

Monday 10am – 12pm | 2 credits | Dietary and cultural shifts/innovations (for example, cooking, domestication of plants and animals) during human origins may have been acted as evolutionary forces shaping the physiology and metabolism as well as the genome of early humans. Exposure to modern diets may result in a mismatch of old adaptations to a new environment, potentially leading to so-called “diseases of civilization” such as hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. In this course, we will discuss human nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. We will critically review scientific theories (e.g. thrifty gene hypothesis) explaining how mismatch between old adaptations and modern diets affect human health. This evolutionary analysis may shed new light on the epidemics of “diseases of civilization” and may help to inform public health interventions. Students are expected to be very active participants of class discussions.

NUTR 644 – Global Food Systems Policy

Tuesday & Thursday 3 – 4:30pm | 3 credits | This course will explore the process of developing policies in low- and middle-income countries that are targeted at altering the nature and functioning of food systems. We will assess policy contexts, stakeholders’ priorities, the translation of policies into programs, and the impacts of policies on nutrition and health outcomes.