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Course Directory

Global Food Systems and Policy


East Baltimore
4th term
International Health
2 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Class Times:
  • Tuesday,  8:30 - 10:20am
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor :
Jess Fanzo

Are you keen to understand how food systems and food policies are shaping diets, nutrition and public health? Food systems engender the foods we consume today, and are being shaped by many different drivers, policies and politics. Students who take this course will become familiar with both domestic and international food policy processes along with the key players in the international landscape and will be able to critically analyze and debate how policy and science interact with regard to food systems.

Examines global food systems and the policies that impact global food security, and broader aspects of sustainable development including public health, the environment and economies. Presents and critiques different food system policies that determine the availability, affordability, and nutritional quality of the food supply and influence the amount and combination of foods that people are willing and able to consume. Encourages use of critical thinking skills and debate to understand how policy and science interact with regard to food systems. Presents data, case studies and real-time challenges related to global food systems with an emphasis on the development of practical skills to analyze systems approaches.

Learning Objectives:

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

  1. Characterize the major players in the global food system and the political economy of food
  2. Obtain a working knowledge of the food system from production to consumption
  3. Explain the social, political and economic determinants of diets and food security, food systems politics and their contributions to health inequities
  4. Elucidate how these policies ultimately impact economic growth, environmental sustainability, human well-being and social cohesion
  5. Evaluate food policy and governance issues that impact food system transformations
  6. Critically analyze and evaluate how these policies, as well as macro-drivers such as urbanization and globalization impact the food system and health outcomes at every level
  7. Apply systems thinking to critical food security, nutrition and public health challenges
Methods of Assessment:

Participation: 10%
Policy analysis summary: 30%
Final case study outline and annotated bibliography: 20%
Final case study: 40%

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Undergraduate students must request consent from the instructor

For consent, contact: