Our Hungry Planet from the University of Reading is a free online course focusing on food security, agriculture and our relationship with food, aimed at anyone with an interest in food issues, regardless of past experience or qualifications.

Over 6 weeks, the course will look at the impacts of our food choices in relation to the global issue of food security.

Dr Sarah Cardey, who will be leading the course, explains in her introduction the existing contradiction around food security:

“Around the world, millions of people don’t have enough food every day to lead healthy, active lives. It amounts to nearly one in every nine people. And the paradox is that there’s no scientific reason for this to be the case. We produce enough food that should be able to allow people to eat healthfully, nutritiously every day.”

So if the issue isn’t with how much food is being produced, what is causing this instability? When thinking about global food security, it’s important to also consider the sociology of the food system and understand the politics and economics of how food is produced, distributed and consumed.

The focus will primarily be on Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, more specifically the UK and Uganda, in order to answer the following questions:

  • What are the key issues facing producers and consumers of food, and how do they compare?
  • What factors influence the way we grow, process, package, transport and consume food?
  • How does agriculture – and its wide-ranging impacts in these different regions – relate to us?
  • And how does the food we grow, buy, eat and throw away relate to global food security issues?

Each week, you will be introduced to a different aspect of this topic using a range of materials, including videos and articles, which are then followed by discussions with fellow course members. Future Learn are keen to make learning fit around your life and everyday activities, which is why the course requires just three hours per week of your time, with materials made easily accessible across your laptop, mobile phone and tablet devices.

By the end of the course, participants should have a greater understanding of the interconnected challenges of food security, from a global level, to regional, national, community, household, right the way down to the individual.

Sign up now to take part in Our Hungry Planet: Agriculture, People and Food Security, or explore the wide range of freely available online courses within Future Learn, from a number of leading universities and institutions.

Photograph: CIAT

Sign up to our Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest SFT views and news