CSS 124: Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

Contemporary research and movements involving agricultural and food system sustainability. Socio-cultural factors influencing food and agriculture.


This survey-style course provides an introduction to topics relevant to the study of sustainable agriculture and food systems. The course is designed around providing literacies that will help students navigate multi-dimensional considerations, develop critical thinking skills, understand how different perspectives perceive and shape SAFS issues, and identify effective ways to navigate and effect beneficial changes.

What kind of "literacies" do we learn about?

  • Sustianability literacy
  • Ecological and sustainable economic literacy
  • Agronomic and agroecological literacy
  • Inclusive historical literacy
  • Food access and food culture literacy
  • SAGS-related Media literacy

CSS 124 aims to provide the "basics" of language, concepts, and current points of debate so that you can become an informed citizen, eater, and practitioner in any food-related field. Food touches all of our lives in many ways, and the choices we make - be it at the grocery store, farmers market, in our profession, or at the ballot box - will influence the food system we collectively create.

The class content consists of online readings, media such as TED talks and podcasts, and interactive student discussions (online or synchronous) to actively engage with the weekly topics. Sources from biological, social, and economic disciplines, as well as many interdisciplinary scholars and advocates, will contribute to our knowledge. I aim to scaffold learning so that students can gain a "big picture" view of the U.S. food system, our challenges and opportunities, and the way food shapes our world.