COURSES IN FOOD SYSTEMS AND ENVIRONMENT
I teach graduate and undergraduate courses at The New School in New York City; and at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Brief descriptions of current and recent courses are below.
Social Justice in the Global Food System This graduate-level course explores social justice dimensions of today’s globalized food system and considers sustainability in terms of social, in addition to environmental indicators. Throughout the semester we explore our own position(s) as university-based stakeholders in the food system. The course includes guest speakers and students are encouraged to integrate aspects of their own scholarly and/or activist projects into one or more course assignments.
Leadership for Sustainability and Environmental Policy This graduate-level course in The New School’s Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management program explores environmental policy and its interconnection with sustainability leadership. The course examines how environmental policy has evolved within US contexts as well as US participation in global environmental governance and explores how environmental policy drives sustainability management within organizations' policies. It also examines how some groups are integrating social and environmental equity into such policies.
Food and the Environment This undergraduate course examines the relationship between food and the environment, covering production, distribution, consumption, and waste management, from the local to the global scale. Throughout the semester we explore how different frameworks, from agroecology to environmental justice, and different analytical methods, from life cycle analysis to health equity assessments, help us design strategies to make the food system more sustainable and resilient.
Urban Food Systems This undergraduate course examines sustainable urban food systems from farm to fork, including the social, political, economic, and environmental dimensions of food production, distribution, marketing, consumption, and wastes. We develop an understanding of historical and contemporary relationships between agriculture and cities, and we critically assess current alternative food movements such as local food, urban agriculture, food justice, and sustainable agriculture. At the end of the course, students will have a deeper understanding of the complexities of urban food systems, the politics of food in urban settings, and the potential for cities to advance food system sustainability.
The Global Food System This undergraduate course examines the contemporary global food system, its structure, historical evolution, and integration at multiple geographic scales. We explore how current issues such as land grabbing or food insecurity in the midst of plenty are connected to political structures and relative power on the global stage. With an emphasis on sustainability and justice, we survey some of the most important challenges affecting the global food system today, including climate change; feeding an increasingly urban population; migration; gender inequity; loss of biodiversity; and declining fish stocks. With an emphasis on action and activism, we examine how international movements such as food sovereignty and agroecology are being used to design more just and sustainable systems at a global scale.
Green Roof Ecology (co-taught, 2106-17) This undergraduate course linked urban ecology, agricultural development, and design through a civic engagement project. In this course, the first in a two-semester suite, we examined specific ecological and environmental aspects of urban agriculture and paired field ecology and participatory research design techniques in partnership with the rooftop farming group Brooklyn Grange. Click here for a video on the Green Roof Ecology course— produced by New School students!
Designing Urban Agriculture: Gardening, Cities, and Democracy This undergraduate course investigates how urban gardens and farms can be connected to larger transformations of social and material structures in our cities. Course themes include ecological, social, political, infrastructural, cultural, and educational design elements of urban agriculture projects. These concepts are contextualized through New York City’s expansive and networked urban agriculture system, with discussions of corollary work in cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Action Research and Urban Agriculture In this combined undergraduate/graduate course we explore histories and contemporary applications of action research, urban agriculture, and their multiple roles in the community. Throughout the semester we explore action research through readings and class discussions, and engage in a hands-on project with non-profit organization partners working for sustainable food systems and community empowerment through urban agriculture.
Urban Agriculture and Food Activism This undergraduate course explores urban agriculture’s role in the urban environment, in the United States and in international contexts. Links between urban agriculture and contemporary social movements for urban sustainability and justice are also examined. These concepts of urban agriculture and food activism provide grounding for a scholar-activist project conducted in partnership with community-based urban agriculture organizations.
Women, Food, and Agroecosystems In this undergraduate course we learn about women’s important roles in food production, procurement, and preparation, and women’s positions as community leaders in the food system. We also explore women’s historical and contemporary contributions to conservation and biodiversity through agroecological practices, and the importance of interconnectedness between each of these systems. Course topics readings and discussions are put into context through film, guest speakers, and visits to women-run organizations focused on food, farming, and the environment.