This is most recent syllabus. Your final syllabus will be given during your first day of class
Note: This course is a “core course” of the Food & Sustainability Studies curriculum. It may be taken individually. You do not have to be enrolled in the Food Studies Program to take this course. However, priority will be given to students participating directly in the Food & Sustainability Studies Program.
There are more than six billion humans on the planet and, consequently, there is a growing need for ever-higher food production that is contributing to faster use of non-renewable fossil fuels and environmental degradation. What modes of food production and consumption may be viable, sustainable responses to this problem? What are some alternative models of food production? What can we learn from Italian food cultures in terms of sustainability?
This course focuses on the radical increase in food production over the last decades and the ecological and social problems it has created, as well as on some possible solutions: the organic movement, Slow Food, and the shift towards local food. We will cast a critical eye on these movements and analyze their ability to change the trajectory of the global food production system.
In this course, you will:
- consider the complex interplay of social and political factors in food policies;
- analyze the whole chain of production, distribution, and consumption of food between various foods to determine their sustainability; and
- compare alternative food movements in Italy and the States.
Service Learning Project Description
You will help create the new Umbra sustainability synergistic orto, a type of organic gardening that uses plants that naturally protect and nourish each other. The Umbra orto is located in Perugia at a residency for individuals with mental health challenges where horticulture therapy is used as a technique to enhance their quality of life and generate positive emotions and social interactions. You will help with seasonal tasks, including tilling the soil; planting herbs, vegetables, and flowers; and harvesting. At the end of the semester, you will present your project to the Umbra community.
Mandatory course reader in addition to James McWilliams’ Just Food