Food Security

2 credits / 6 weeks weeks
14 Jan 2019 - 22 Feb 2019

Professor Olivia Sylvester

In this course, students we critically examine contemporary issues in food security as well as the historical processes that have shaped our current food system. We start by presenting the Food and Agriculture Organization’s framework for food security and use this as a lens for our critical thinking throughout the course. We analyze how sustainable agriculture is central to food security. We unpack how international trade and markets influence individual and national food security. We present food sovereignty as a movement that has emerged in response to trade liberalization and inequality in our food system. To build on principles of equality, we include gender as a lens to better understand the nuances of how food insecurity affects people differently. To close, we examine food waste and its innovative solutions. This class is relevant to students and professionals working in education, research, programming and policy that want to deepen their understanding of food security and to acquire tools and frameworks applicable in this field.




Olivia Sylvester

An ethnobiologist who researches food harvesting in Costa Rica. For the past decade her research program has focused on access to food in Costa Rican national parks. Specifically her emphasis has been on Indigenous rights to access and harvest cultural food. Olivia is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Society of Ethnobiology, the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Project, and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. Being active within these networks allows her to work at the interface of policy and practice regarding food harvesting and access.


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