In the drive for ‘cheap’ food, the US has moved towards a more industrialised model of agriculture, which has led to consequences for public health, the environment, animal welfare and rural communities. However, these negative impacts are often not connected to the bigger picture. An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health is a free online course exploring how our food is connected to both public health and the environment.

In this short course, you will be given an overview of the US food production system and how the different practices and methods of production, along with the food choices made by consumers, impacts the world around us. Using several case studies, the course will explore the key factors, including historical and political influences, that led to the current food system in the US, while also considering the alternatives. It will also cover the threats to our future food security, such as climate change, population growth and the depletion of resources.

The course will be taught by staff from the John Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future, whose mission is to “promote research and to develop and communicate information about the complex interrelationships among diet, food production, environment and human health, to advance an ecological perspective in reducing threats to the health of the public and to promote policies that protect health, the global environment and the ability to sustain life for future generations.” It will also feature guest lectures from experts in the fields of public health and agriculture.

An Introduction to the US Food System is intended for students looking for a broad introduction to the US food system and how it connects to consumption patterns and the issues surrounding public health. Sign up now to take part in the 6 week course, beginning in January 2015.

Featured image by W Hardcastle

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