Sustainable food systems education (SFSE) is rapidly advancing to meet the need for developing future professionals who are capable of effective decision-making regarding agriculture, food, nutrition, consumption, and waste in a complex world. Equity, particularly racial equity and its intersectional links with other inequities, should play a central role in efforts to advance SFSE given the harmful social and environmental externalities of food systems and ongoing oppression and systemic inequities such as lack of food access faced by racialized and/or marginalized populations. However, few institutional and intra-disciplinary resources exist on how to engage students in discussion about equity and related topics in SFSE.
This article presents perspectives based on multi-institutional collaborations to develop and apply pedagogical materials that center equity while building students’ skills in systems thinking, critical reflection, and affective engagement. Examples are provided of how to develop undergraduate and graduate sustainable food systems curricula that embrace complexity and recognize the affective layers, or underlying experiences of feelings and emotions, when engaging with topics of equity, justice, oppression, and privilege.
This work is part of the “Teaching Food Systems CoP” which was launched in 2016 by faculty members at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, in parallel with the redesign of an undergraduate food systems course. The goals of the CoP are to convene academics and practitioners focused on SFSE, to: (1) support and grow a CoP for developing and implementing curricula in food systems courses; (2) share materials using systems thinking frameworks to teach about food systems; and (3) foster assessment tools on student learning in systems thinking.
Supplementary materials provide course outlines and valuable links to resources.
Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 28 October 2021
Sec. Social Movements, Institutions and Governance
Volume 5 – 2021 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.737434
Transparency | Diversity | Dynamism | Evidence-based |