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Baltimore Food Systems: a Case Study of Urban Food Environments

East Baltimore
3rd term
Environmental Health and Engineering
4 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Class Times:
  • W F,  10:00 - 11:50am
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor :
Roni Neff

Students look closely at Baltimore City's complex food environment using discussion, experiential learning, discussion, lectures 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. Analyze responses to challenges and opportunities within Baltimore's food system
  2. Discuss key factors that have shaped food systems in Baltimore and other urban locales
  3. Describe from first-hand experience the clientele, operations, key opportunities, and challenges in advancing positive change in Baltimore food and agriculture system sites
  4. Discuss innovative food system interventions being considered in Baltimore and elsewhere
  5. Describe how food systems and food environments relate to public health broadly and environmental public health more specifically
  6. Conduct and document oral history interviews
  7. Comment on how the city’s history has contributed to the current food system
Methods of Assessment:

Participation (quality and quantity, online and onsite) 25%, reading reflections 28%, oral history 22%, final paper 25%

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.