ENV 649b () / 2023-2024

Food Systems: The Implications of Unequal Access

Credits: 3

Spring 2024: Th, 1:00-3:50, Kroon G01

The course examines several dimensions of food insecurity. It starts with an assessment household food insecurity in the U.S.  Discussions will cover access to food in urban and rural areas of the U.S.  The course will also examine the research and conceptualization of food systems as analyze concepts such as “food deserts,” “food oases,” “food swamps,” “food grasslands,” and “food sovereignty.”  We will examine food systems and take a supply chain approach wherein we study food producers (farmers, urban agriculturalists, community gardeners).  We will also study food suppliers and processors such as farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and food retailers.  Students will have an opportunity to study incubator kitchens and small-scale entrepreneurship in low-income communities.  We will also examine consumer access to food as well as perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. 

We will examine understudied parts of food systems such as urban farms, community and school gardens, and emergency food assistance programs.  We will also examine food production and food acquisition strategies in low-income areas.  The course will also study the pricing of food and whether retailers decide to sell healthy foods or not. 

Three to four mandatory field trips are being planned but these could be affected by the pandemic protocols and the weather.  Field trips are being planned for farms, farmer’s markets, grocery stores and other food outlets in and around the New Haven area.   

All students will complete an individual take-home assignment, group class exercises, and a group term paper.  Attendance at field trips, class attendance, and class participation (including class presentations) are also graded.