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180.655.01 Baltimore Food Systems: a Case Study of Urban Food Environments

Environmental Health and Engineering
3rd term
4 credits
Academic Year:
2012 - 2013
East Baltimore
Class Times:
  • W F,  10:00 - 11:50am
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Roni Neff
Course Instructor:

Students look closely at Baltimore City's complex food environment using discussion, experiential learning, discussion, lectures, service learning, and related texts. Students consider improvements to these systems to assure access to nutritious, adequate, affordable and sustainably produced foods, and to increase supply and demand of these foods; to address diet related disease; and to reduce food system environmental harms. Students "go backstage" with tour guides at sites around the city. Class sessions are primarily discussion-oriented, but also include lectures and guest visits. Students consider the relative impacts of access, demand, cost, stakeholder interests, administrative issues, history, and power, and consider the relative strengths of voluntary, governmental, legal and other strategies. They also consider applicability of lessons from Baltimore to other area food systems.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss key factors that have shaped food systems in Baltimore and other urban locales, including within the domains of policy, business, agriculture, and society
  2. Describe from first-hand experience selected food system sites in Baltimore, including their offerings, clientele, and operations, and key opportunities and barriers to improving their healthfulness and economic and environmental sustainability
  3. Analyze responses to particular challenges and opportunities within Baltimore 's food systems, including considering the potential of innovative food system interventions being considered in Baltimore and elsewhere
  4. Conduct and document oral history interviews
  5. Provide assistance targeted to a community organization’s needs, and reflect on the experience.
Methods of Assessment:

Students are expected to attend the trips and class sessions. Grading is based on class participation and participation in service learning project, an oral history project, and a written final paper.

Enrollment Restriction:

No auditors allowed.

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for all students

Consent Note:

All students should obtain consent.

For consent, contact:

Special Comments:

We provide time for students to arrange transportation with other students for the field trips, service learning; you do not need a car to participate.