Food and Environment

Course Description

The Future of Food is an introductory-level science course that emphasizes the challenges facing food systems in the 21st century, and issues of sustainability for agriculture and other food production activities, as well as the challenges posed by food insecurity and modern diets to human health and well-being. Topics covered include introduction to the coupled-system perspective, historical development of food systems, socioeconomic aspects of the food system, interaction of the food system with the Earth's environment including soil, water, biota and climate, and the future of the food system considering potential changes such as in climate, urbanization, and demography.

Online Course

You can view the entire course here: Food and the Future Environment (GEOG 3N)
Heather Karsten

Since she can remember, Heather Karsten's favorite color has been green. A native of the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, Heather's interest in plants and nature was nurtured through lots of outdoor recreational activities, gardening with her mother, and spending time on the farm of family friends. Due to her keen interest in plants and the environmental sciences, she studied Environmental Biology at Yale, where she discovered the field of Agroecology.

Steven Vanek

As an indication of the twists and turns that can lead one to contemplate food systems, I pursued physics in my undergraduate program at Cornell University, and then, through a series of volunteer and teaching experiences with rural development organizations in the developing world, I attended graduate school first in Horticulture for an MS and then a PhD in soil science. I've conducted basic research on the processes that allow soils to feed plants and supply food systems, but much of my work has been on understanding agriculture at an applied level and in the way it contributes to global food systems, from case studies of organic farms in the Northeast United States, to collaborations with nutritionists in studying Bolivian smallholder farming households.

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