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Teaching about Food

Concepts on this page were derived from faculty discussions at the workshop, Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences, held in July 2012.
Pedagogic wisdom advises us to make classroom learning relevant to students' everyday lives. When teaching about food, that connection is inherent. Yet deeper thinking about food is something that students may not consider. Where does our food originate? What types of soil, water and energy resources are embodied in our foods? What are the cultural effects on food choices in different regions? What do we do about societies with too little food? Or too much food? How can we ensure a safe and enduring food supply for future generations? This subject area offers many pathways to begin with a straightforward topic and expand it into more complex areas of science and sustainability.

Where does teaching about food fit into the curriculum?

In some cases, food may be the subject of an entire course. But more commonly it will be interwoven into existing courses as case studies, projects, or ways to connect course topics to students' lives. Below are several examples of how food can be interwoven into existing curricula:

Effective strategies for teaching about food

Every student has a personal connection with food. Effective pedagogy will expand their thinking beyond their own "face value" experiences and consider the food supply from broader perspectives such as society, economics, environment and resource use. Below are some strategies to make these connections. For specific examples, see the activities and courses for teaching about food.


Opportunities to strengthen teaching about food

There are few, if any, academic departments about food. Thus, this is a highly interdisciplinary topic that benefits from cooperation not only between academic disciplines but also with those directly involved with food production or processing.



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