Fall 2021 Sustainable Food Systems Courses

Interested in taking a food systems course next semester? See below for a sampling of course offerings for fall semester 2021

**Scroll down for a full list of courses**

**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**

Featured Undergraduate Courses

Featured Graduate Courses

 

UNDERGRADUATE 

First-Year Seminar: African American Foodways | AAS 104.007/AMCULT 103.004 (3 credits)

Jessica Walker | TuTh 1:00PM – 2:30PM

This course approaches African American cooking, eating, and serving as political acts. From antebellum innovation, reconstruction cookbooks, and civil rights kitchen counters, food is a compelling lens through which to understand African American cultural expression. This also means it can be a battleground for diverging perspectives on how race, gender, and class inform Black identity. 

The Measure of Our Meals: Food Studies Research Methods | ALA 370.002 (3 credits)

Margot Finn | MoWe 1:00PM – 2:30PM
In this course, we explore the cross-disciplinary methods used to study food. We use life cycle analysis to measure the differences between conventional and alternative production systems. We use ethnography and close examination of different media to explore different cooking and eating practices and their cultural significance. Lastly, we explore the different methods used by historians to understand the development of ancient cuisines and GMOs.

Local Food Producers | ANHRARC 296-001 (3 credits)

Lisa Young | MoWe 2:30PM – 4:00PM
What is the story behind our food? This class explores this question from the perspective of the people who produce our food. You will learn about changes in food production over the last 10,000 years from archaeological and historical case studies, as well as the stories of contemporary farmers. Using an anthropological perspective, we explore contemporary issues of sustainability, food sovereignty, and the role of local food producers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthropology of Food | ANTHRCUL 254 (4 credits)

Michael McGovern | MoWe 11:30AM – 1:00PM
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.

In the realm of food, anthropologists pay close attention to the ways in which humans hunt, fish, gather and grow food, how we get enough calories to survive in differing environments, how food helps us to constitute families, religious identities and other social networks, and even how food comes to be a source and a symptom of social inequality. We will address all of these issues, as well as the symbolic uses and meanings of food in sacred and everyday contexts.

Food, Energy and Environmental Justice | BIOLOGY 101.001/ENVIRON 101.001 (4 credits)

John Vandermeer | MoWeFr 3:00PM – 4:00PM
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.

Biology of Nutrition | BIOLOGY 105.001 (4 credits)

Josephine Kurdziel | TuTh 11:30AM – 1:00PM
This course is a natural science course for undergraduates to learn about general nutrition. The course will give students a biologically sound foundation on which to make judgments about personal and public health, related to food production and consumption.

Globalization and its Discontents: Struggles for Food, Water, and Energy | ENVIRON 270.001/RCIDIV 270.001 (4 credits)

Ivette Perfecto | MoWeFr 9:00AM – 10:00AM
Struggles for Food, Water, and Energy — 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.

Campus Farm Practicum | ENVIRON 465.001 (3 credits)

Jeremy Moghtader | We 2:00PM – 5:00PM
Based at the UM Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, students will meet weekly for lecture and farm walk (field-based lecture) exploring both the theory and practices associated with organic and ecological farming. This course offers hands-on understanding and foundational skill-building in the principles and practices of ecological and organic farming.

Plants and People | EARTH 262.001/ENVIRON 262.001 (3 credits)

Selena Smith | TuTh 10:00AM – 11:30AM
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.

The Inexhaustible Seas? Marine Resources and Environmental Issues | EARTH 333.001/ENVIRON 333.001 (4 credits)

Ingrid Hendy | MoWe 1:00PM – 2:30PM
This course explores the mineral, energy and food resources of the ocean and environmental impacts that arise from the exploitation of these resources. We discuss conflicts in our competing uses of the ocean and its resources. We also examine both the popular and scientific literature surrounding these issues.

 

How America Eats in the 21st Century | ENVIRON 139.006 ( 3 credits)

Virginia Murphy | TuThu 10:00AM – 11:30AM
First-Year Seminar in the Environment — Seminar on environmental topics for first-year students

GRADUATE

Nutrition and Public Health | PUBHLTH 511 (2 credits)

Karen Peterson, Cindy Leung | We 7:00PM – 8:30PM
Introduce MPH students to important topics in nutrition and public health, program planning and program evaluation. This course is an introductory course to nutrition research and will cover topics, such as healthful diet patterns, methods of dietary assessment, nutritional epidemiology, nutrition through the life cycle, and nutritional needs of diverse populations. This course will have a hybrid style (online and in-class) of instruction.

Food Security, Policy and Programs | NUTR 593 (3 credits)

Cindy Leung | Th 7:00PM – 8:30PM
This course is a critical exploration of the health issues related to domestic food security, food policy, and food programs, with a focus on maternal and child health. We will examine the array of negative health outcomes associated with food insecurity, discuss potential mechanisms underlying these associations, how food policy is made, the intersection of food policy with public health nutrition, and the influence of federal food assistance programs on diet-related outcomes for children and families.

Restoration Ecology | ENVIRON 421.001/EAS 501.119 (4 credits)

Sara Adlerstein-Gonzalez | MoWe 2:30PM – 4:00PM
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.

Diverse Farming Systems: Theory and Practice | EAS 553.001 (3 credits)

Ivette Perfecto | MoWe 1:00PM – 2:30PM
In this interdisciplinary course, we will critically explore an intersecting literature on agroecology, biodiversity, ecosystem services, diversified farming systems, agroforestry, and farmers’ livelihoods. The first part of the course will focus on the application of ecological theory to the study of diverse farming systems including intercropping and agroforestry. The second part will emphasize 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. The last part of the course will cover some of the most salient social issues in diverse farming systems, such as tree and land tenure and gender issues as well as the social rural movements that promote diverse farming systems and agroecology.

Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems |  ENVIRON 462, EAS 528, NUTR 555, URP 427, UPR 527 (3 credits)
Jennifer Blesh, Andrew Jones and Lesli Hoey | T/Th 1:00PM – 2:30PM
Food systems must be transformed along multiple dimensions: 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. Students in this course will cover these topics by integrating theory and practice through experiential learning and dialogue-based inquiry, both on campus and in the community. Benefitting from collaborative instruction that draws on the expertise of professors from three different departments, students will incorporate multiple perspectives from local to global levels, examine how those perspectives are underpinned by different epistemologies and value systems, and practice systems thinking.
Localization: Transitional Thinking for the New Normal | EAS 564.001/ENVIRON 484.001 (3 credits)

Raymond De Young, Thomas Princen | We 5:30PM – 8:00PM
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.

Soil Ecology | ENVIRON 430.001/EEB 489.001/EAS 430.001 (3 credits)

Donald Zak | MoWe 10:00AM – 11:00AM
Soils as central components of terrestrial ecosystems. Major emphasis is placed on physical, chemical, and biological properties and their relationships to plant growth and ecosystem processes. Understanding is developed using a combination of lectures, field- and lab-based exercises, and individual research.

Nutrition and Public Health | PUBHLTH 511.555 (2 credits)

Karen Peterson and Cindy Leung, W 7- 8:30 pm (4 weeks)
Introduce MPH students to important topics in nutrition and public health, program planning and program evaluation. This course is an introductory course to nutrition research and will cover topics, such as healthful diet patterns, methods of dietary assessment, nutritional epidemiology, nutrition through the life cycle, and nutritional needs of diverse populations. This course will have a hybrid style (online and in-class) of instruction.

Soil Ecology | ENVIRON 430, EEB 489, EAS 430 (3 credits)

Donald Zak, M/W 10 – 11 am + Lab
Soils as central components of terrestrial ecosystems. Major emphasis is placed on physical, chemical, and biological properties and their relationships to plant growth and ecosystem processes. Understanding is developed using a combination of lectures, field- and lab-based exercises, and individual research.

Design for Health Studies | BIOSTAT 593.555 (1 credit) (limited to health science and population students)

Roderick Little | Tu 7:00PM – 8:30PM
This course is a critical exploration of the health issues related to domestic food security, food policy, and food programs, with a focus on maternal and child health. We will examine the array of negative health outcomes associated with food insecurity, discuss potential mechanisms underlying these associations, how food policy is made, the intersection of food policy with public health nutrition, and the influence of federal food assistance programs on diet-related outcomes for children and families.

Nutrition and the Immune Response | NUTR 625.001 (3 credits)

Peter Mancuso | TuTh 11:30AM – 1:00PM
Food and nutritional status have a profound influence on immune function. Food and nutritional status can maintain immune homeostasis, contribute to immune suppression, enhance chronic inflammation, or provide an allergic response. The course consists of lectures on basic principles of immunology and presentations and discussion of peer-reviewed literature.