STOCKSCH 397 C – Community Food Systems Online

fertilegroundSummer Online  - December 15 – January 17, 2015

REGISTER HERE AFTER October 15, 2014

Description: This course examines the movement of food from seed to table. Participants in the course explore local and global food systems, and specific food related issues that impact health of communities. Among the topics we’ll cover are: examining the economic and political decisions that frame our food chain, direct marketing, commercial agriculture, processing, food justice, hunger, health, food security, peak oil, school food systems and school gardens, Community Supported Agriculture, farmers’ markets, small scale farming and homesteading. At the center of this course is the examination of the opportunities and challenges required in making community food projects that create real lasting systems change.

Instructor: Catherine Sands is the founding director of Fertile Ground. She has over twenty years of experience working to connect people to environmental issues, to land, and to each other through community events, educational programs, and advocacy. Catherine holds a BA from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree from the University of MA/Amherst Center for Public Policy and Administration, with a focus on food access and social justice. In 2008, she was awarded Outstanding Community Service and Engagement by UMass/Amherst. She is a lecturer at U Mass/Amherst’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture, where she teaches Community Food Systems and Food Justice and Policy.

Instructors email: Maggie Shar
Instructors web page:

STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

  • To understand where our food comes from in the global market place.  
  • To learn of local and community-based alternatives to the global food system.
  • To become fluent in discussing food systems and food justice.
  • To become confident that we can make changes in our own lives and our community to enhance food access for all.

Class Format: This course is organized into 5 modules, covering the challenges to our troubled global and regional food systems, and many of the exciting innovative examples of communities working to create systems change. This is a condensed course; expect to do a lot of reading, viewing films, dialoguing on line, and independent research and writing. Also expect to look ahead each week, as you’ll need to plan to set up some of your projects and films ahead of time.

  • Module 1-   Systems, sustainability, corn
  • Module 2-   Industrial food system labor and production
  • Module 3-   Race, hunger, access and the food system
  • Module 4 –  School food systems and beyond
  • Module 5 –  Creating meaningful systems change

CREDITS: 3
CLASS SIZE:  Limited to 15.

Technology: According to UMass Online, in order to take this course you must:

  • have access to a personal computer (Mac or Windows)
  • be familiar with basic computer skills
  • be connected to the internet
  • have an e-mail program and account
  • have at least a 56 kbps modem
  • have a Java capable browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer)

NOTE: If you have any problems with technology, please contact the UMass Online Tech Support office for help.

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This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Online Certificate Program.   To register for upcoming classes, see UMass Online.  Most classes cost $371/credit.  If you would like to register for the Certificate program, you may apply here.

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