New sustainable food systems courses to be offered

By Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University

Good news! I’ve just received word that we have the go-ahead to offer two new ASU Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) courses that will be listed under the School of Sustainability and co-listed with the ASU Morrison School of Agribusiness.

SFS 294, Fundamentals of U.S. Food and Agriculture, will be offered this fall 2019 semester. It will be my first time teaching in Tempe and I’m excited. This introductory food course provides a big picture understanding of American agriculture. We will explore American-grown food through history, policy, society, business innovation and environmental sustainability. How does USDA really work? How are tools, like the U.S. Census of Agriculture, helpful in understanding the realities of American production? How is the impasse in immigration reform impacting farms and food service organizations? These are just a few examples of the many questions we will explore in this class. The primary text is "Food Policy in the United States" by Parke Wilde, but we will be supplementing it with other readings, videos and podcasts.

SFS 216, Subsectors of U.S. Food and Agriculture, will be offered in the spring 2020 semester. This introductory food course explores agriculture by subsectors, such as livestock, grains, and fruits and vegetables. Students learn how dietary choices affect health, the environment, and the people who produce and process food. Too often food system discussions fail to include issues related to seafood and farm-raised fish — which is why I’ve chosen this photo of scallops that I took in Bergen, Norway last year. We will cover seafood, and all kinds of other things, including my favorite topic — insect protein! The primary text for this class is "The Third Plate" by Dan Barber, but as in SFS 294, there will be plenty of other materials to round out our studies.

Students with a deep interest in food may want to be sure to take both SFS 294 and 216, since the content does not overlap. I’m looking forward to my arrival on the Tempe campus and meeting my future students.

Think you are interested? Find more info on the ASU class search.