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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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Teaching the Food System

A Project of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future



Teaching the Food System is an extension of the Center’s work to increase awareness of the relationships between diet, health, food production, the environment, population and equity. It is the product of a multi-year collaboration between experienced educators and a diversity of content experts.

The project offers a curriculum, comprised of eleven classroom-ready modules, that spans issues in the food system from field to plate. The material is focused on issues in the U.S. food system but also touches on some of their global implications.

Each module includes lesson plans, slides, handouts, vocabulary builders and other materials that help educators deliver compelling lessons with minimal preparation. Essential questions and learning objectives help keep the big ideas in view. Background readings, written for educators but suitable for all audiences, provide an overview of the key issues. A story-driven short film illustrates concepts from the Food Animal Production module with compelling narratives.

The duration of each lesson varies between 90 minutes and several hours, depending on students’ prior familiarity with the topics and how deeply educators wish to delve into discussions.

The modules are designed with flexibility in mind and can be taught in any order, either independently or as part of a series. They are suitable for a variety of academic contexts, including high school and college level courses. Some materials may be suitable for graduate level settings. We expect educators will adapt the curriculum to best suit their audiences.

All materials are thoroughly referenced and have undergone peer review by authorities in their respective fields, which include public health, nutrition, food policy, agronomy and veterinary medicine. The curriculum is subject to ongoing field testing in high schools, colleges and other academic settings.

In addition to the curriculum, Teaching the Food System offers a catalog of lesson plans, courses, research tools and other educational resources. These may aid educators in enhancing their lessons and expanding their knowledge of the food system.

CLF Concept Model