Fall 2022 Sustainable Food Systems Courses

Interested in taking a food systems course next semester? See below for a sampling of course offerings for fall semester 2022

**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**


UNDERGRADUATE

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

John Vandermeer | MoWe 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

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.

  • Food and Drink in the Middle East | MIDEAST 209.001 / ENVIRON 219.001 LEC  (4 credits)

Gottfried Hagen, Geoff Emberling | MoWe 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

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.

  • Globalization & its Discontents: Struggle for Food, Water, and Energy | ​​ENVIRON 270.001 / RCIDIV 270.001 (4 credits)

Ivette Perfecto | MoWeFr 9:00AM – 10:00AM

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.

  • Food & Drink of Asia | ENVIRON  258.001 / ASIAN 258.001 (4 credits)

Miranda Brown | TuTh 1:00PM – 2:30PM

This course uses food and drink as a window into the culture and history of East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

  • Topics in Archaeology Local Food Producers | ANTHRAC 296.001 (3 credits)

Lisa Young | MoWe 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

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 times of crisis.  You will also learn to conduct research on food using online sources.

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

 Ingrid Hendy | MoWe 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

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.

  •  Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems | ENVIRON  462.004/ URP 527.001 / URP 427.001 / NUTR 555.001 / EAS 528.001 (3 credits)

Jennifer Blesh, Lesli Hoey, Andrew Jones | TuTh 1:00PM – 2:30PM

This course teaches about food systems through interdisciplinary, experiential learning and dialogue-based inquiry. In addition to learning how to bridge worldviews and apply systems thinking, students will study the unique perspectives of public health nutritionists involved in addressing complex food systems problems.

  • ALA Topics – Measure of Our Meals | ALA 370.002 (3 credits)

Margot Finn | MoWe 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

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.

  • Anthropology of Food | ANTHRCUL 254.001  (4 credits)

Mike McGovern | MoWeFr 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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.

  • Biology of Nutrition | BIOLOGY 105.001 (4 credits)

Josephine Kurdziel | TuThu 11:30 AM -1:00 PM

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.

  • Agroecosystems | EEB 498.001 (3 credits)

John Vandermeer | MoWe 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

An analysis of ecological principles as they apply to agricultural ecosystems, emphasizing theoretical aspects but also covering empirical results of critical experiments. While the emphasis is on principles, practical applicability is also explored where appropriate. Physical, biological, and social forces are integrated as necessary. Designed as preparation for active research in agroecosystem Ecology.

  • Campus Farm Ecological and Organic Farming Practicum | ENVIRON 465.001 (3 credits)

Jeremy Moghtader | We 2:00 – 5:00 PM

This course offers hands-on understanding and foundational skill building in the principles and practices of ecological and organic farming.  Based at the UM Campus Farm at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, students will meet weekly for farm walk (field based lecture) exploring both the theory and practices associated with organic and ecological farming, including: soil management, cover cropping, pest, weed and disease management, season extension with passive solar hoophouses, harvest and post harvest handling, organic and food safety certification, farmscaping for ecosystem services, and the basics of sales and small farm business management.  A variety of production techniques will be explored through an ecological and small farm business lense with a focus on the systems used at UM Campus Farm to grow food for students by students through sales to MDining and our on Campus Farm Stand.  In addition to weekly farm walks students will sign up for and complete 35 hours (3-4/wk) of hands-on work experience and skill building during  weeks 2  through 11 of the semester.

  • Water and Sanitation Design and Practice | CEE 568.001 (3 credits)

Nancy Love | MoWe 9:00 – 10:30 AM

This course introduces students to the principles around and design of water and sanitation services that consider equitable access to quality services and do not rely upon fully centralized systems.  Content includes: source water options and protection; building-scale water infrastructure, treatment, and on-site systems; decentralized resource recovery in support of ecosanitation and food-nutrient cycles; faecal sludge management; and risk analysis in support of design, planning, and risk communication. Students will be introduced to the principles of and approaches to community engagement. The course material will focus on applications in low-, middle-, and high-income countries with an eye toward creating sustainable living environments and achieving risk reduction. Issues pertaining to equity around access to and quality of WASH services will be integrated throughout the class. 

This class is appropriate for undergraduate seniors or graduate students.  Students without an engineering degree have successfully taken earlier versions of this class; anyone fitting this description can contact the instructor to discuss appropriateness of fit to one’s background.  

  • Ethical Consumption | RC SSci 360.001 | (3 credits)

Ian Robinson | MoWe 8:30 – 10:30 AM

Many people want the things they consume made in just and sustainable ways but the market does not automatically meet this kind of consumer demand. Often consumers, like workers, must organize and act collectively if they are to bend market dynamics toward their ethical concerns. This course will examine historical and contemporary efforts to do just that, focusing on the apparel and food supply chains and the social movements, past and present, that have tried to change the dynamics of these sectors.

The course will begin with a brief history of ethical consumption movements. We’ll look at the first great consumer boycott – on sugar made on slave plantations, as part of the larger struggle to end slavery –and at three other important historical cases: Gandhi’s salt satyagraha, the first wave of the movement against US apparel sweatshops from 1900 to 1940, and the decade-long grape boycott organized by the United Farm Workers. The heart of the course is an examination of six contemporary ethical consumer efforts including the fair trade coffee movement, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) campaign, in conjunction with the Student Farmworker Alliance (SFA), to improve the conditions of agricultural workers; the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) workers centers created in multiple U.S. cities; (5) the Food Chain Workers Alliance; and (6) the emergent Just Purchasing Consortium.

GRADUATE

  • Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems | EAS 528-001, NUTR 555-001, URP 427-001, URP 527-001, ENVIRON 462-005 (3 credits)

Jennifer Blesh, Lesli Hoey, Andrew Jones | TuThu 1:00-2:30 PM

This course teaches about food systems through interdisciplinary, experiential and peer-based learning through collaborative instruction that draws on the expertise of three professors from three different departments. Students will apply systems thinking and focus on agroecological, public health nutrition, and urban planning and policy as they consider how to address complex food systems problems.

  • Transformative Food Systems Seminar | EAS 556.001, NUTR 563.001, URP 536.001 (1.5 credits)

Lesli Hoey, Ivette Perfecto| Fr 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

This experientially-based course will build students’ equity competency – the knowledge, skills and values needed to recognize and address historical, structural inequities that pervade today’s food systems. The goal is to prepare reflective, visionary and strategic food systems leaders who use systems thinking, collaboration, and an ethics of justice.

  • Evolutionary Nutrition: Implications for Human Health | NUTR 610.001 (2 credits)

Edward Ruiz-Narvaez | Mo 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Dietary and cultural shifts/innovations (for example, cooking, domestication of plants and animals) during human origins may have 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.

  • Eating Disorder Prevention and Treatment | NUTR 621.001 (3 credits)

Kendrin Sonneville | TuThu 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

This course is designed to introduce students to eating disorders using a public health framework. Students will be exposed to key concepts and controversies in the eating disorders field.

  • Pathophysiology of Obesity | NUTR 639.001(3 credits)

Peter Mancuso | MoWe 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

This course provides a framework for understanding the etiology and pathophysiology, and treatment of obesity. The course content will emphasize the influence of physiologic factors that contribute to the overconsumption of food, the pathophysiologic consequences of obesity, and current methods of treatment.

  • Diverse Farming Systems | EAS 553.001 (3 credits)

Ivette Perfecto | MoWe 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

This interdisciplinary course critically explores intersecting literature on agroecology, biodiversity, ecosystem services, diversified farming systems, agroforestry, and farmer’s livelihoods. The course will focus on 1)the application of ecological theory to the study of diverse farming systems 2)biodiversity, and 3)social issues in diverse farming systems, such as tree and land tenure, gender issues and the social rural movements that promote diverse farming systems and agroecology.

  • Localization | EAS 564.001/ ENVIRON 484.001  (3 credits)

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

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 life 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.   It also introduces the philosophies of localization and the tools needed to make the transition peaceful, democratic, just and resilient.

  • Water and Sanitation Design and Practice | CEE 568.001 (3 credits)

Nancy Love | MoWe 9:00 – 10:30 AM

This course introduces students to the principles around and design of water and sanitation services that consider equitable access to quality services and do not rely upon fully centralized systems.  Content includes: source water options and protection; building-scale water infrastructure, treatment, and on-site systems; decentralized resource recovery in support of ecosanitation and food-nutrient cycles; faecal sludge management; and risk analysis in support of design, planning, and risk communication. Students will be introduced to the principles of and approaches to community engagement. The course material will focus on applications in low-, middle-, and high-income countries with an eye toward creating sustainable living environments and achieving risk reduction. Issues pertaining to equity around access to and quality of WASH services will be integrated throughout the class. 

This class is appropriate for undergraduate seniors or graduate students.  Students without an engineering degree have successfully taken earlier versions of this class; anyone fitting this description can contact the instructor to discuss appropriateness of fit to one’s background.  

*in process of being changed from former name Decentralized Water Supply, Hygiene & Sanitation