Food Literacy for All 2018

Food Literacy for All (Environ 305 and EAS 639.038, 2 credits) is a community-academic partnership course at the University of Michigan. 

The course is free and open to the public. RSVP is required for each session.

Class Dates
Tuesdays, 6:30-8pm
Angell Hall, Aud B
2018 Speakers
January 9, 2018 Malik Yakini + Catherine Badgley
Introduction: “How do we foster a just and sustainable food system?”
January 16, 2018 Eric Holt-Giménez
“Do Foodies Need to Know About Capitalism?”
January 23, 2018 Josh Slotnick
“Cheap Food Nation and the Countervailing Force of Community Agriculture”
 January 30, 2018 Melvin Parsons, Stefanie Stauffer, Greg Willerer, Olivia Hubert
Panel: “Local Small Scale Farmers – Challenges and Realities”
February 6, 2018 Winona LaDuke
“Indigenous Food Sovereignty”
February 13, 2018 Chef Njathi Wa Kabui
 Colonized Plate:
A Tale of an African Activism in South”

February 20, 2018

Kimberly Seals Allers

“First Food Justice: Building an Equitable Food System From Birth”

March 6, 2018 Fernando Funes-Monzote
“The Metaphor of the Well:
Dilemmas for Sustainable Agriculture”

March 13, 2018 Winona Bynum, Alicia Cohen, Alex Hill
Panel: “Food Policy and Health”
March 20, 2018 Jonathan Bloom
“The Impact and Opportunity of Wasted Food”
March 27, 2018 LaDonna Redmond
April 3, 2018 Rachel Bair, Kami Pothukuchi,
Kathy Sample
Panel: “Marketing Innovations in the Michigan food system”
April 10, 2018 Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3)
 April 17, 2018 Course synthesis

The 2018 course is co-led by a leadership team of Catherine Badgley (UM faculty), Malik Yakini (Detroit Black Community Food Security Network), Lilly Fink Shapiro (UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative) and organized in partnership with the Detroit Food Policy Council.

Structured as an evening lecture series, Food Literacy for All features different guest speakers each week to address diverse challenges and opportunities of both domestic and global food systems. The course is designed to prioritize engaged scholarship that connects theory and practice. By bringing national and global leaders, we aim to ignite new conversations and deepen existing commitments to building more equitable, health-promoting, and ecologically sustainable food systems.

UM students can enroll in the course for credit and community members can attend the series for free. Food Literacy for All will take place on Tuesday evenings during the winter semester of 2018. All past lectures are filmed and available here.

Course Summary

Concurrent food, energy, water, and climate crises, and a global rise in obesity amidst widespread hunger and undernutrition, have re-focused public attention on the deficiencies and complexities of the global food system. Yet, a diversity of ‘alternative’ food systems demonstrates that food systems can be nutrition sensitive, socially just, and conserve natural resources. Transforming food systems will require coordinated effort across scales, drawing upon diverse disciplinary and practical perspectives, and understanding how value systems shape food and agriculture. Linking theory and practice is also essential, involving the full range of actors moving food from farm to fork.

This course offers a unique opportunity for students to gain an interdisciplinary introduction to food system issues through a seminar series bringing high profile speakers to campus from diverse sectors: policy, academia, grassroots movements, public health, conservation, and more. Students will integrate theory and practice through this partnership course that connects campus and community, led by a UM faculty member together with a co-instructor working to develop urban agriculture and enhance food justice and food sovereignty in Detroit. Students will develop competencies and cognitive skills in the area of food system sustainability including critical and systems thinking, community engagement, creativity, and analytical ability. This course is being offered as one component of a broader UM “Food Citizenship Project,” which is made possible by a Higher Education Challenge (HEC) grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The overarching goal of the project is to increase diversity and inclusion in sustainable food systems education.