HC 231H: Global Food Security

Professor: Galen Martin

4.00 credits

• CRN 13107: Tuesday & Thursday, 1415-1545 @ ALL 140

A fundamental challenge for humans has always been the procurement of food. The human historical human experience has been marked by periodic localized and regional famine. Only in the last half century has famine become a rare event.  Remarkably, the world currently produces sufficient food to feed the over seven billion people who inhabit the planet.  Yet hunger and food insecurity are daily realities for nearly one in seven. This class explores the current global food system through a historical lens.  We will attempt to elucidate the politics, science, and economic choices that have resulted in a world where one billion are underfed while an equal number are overfed.  The central theme is that of food security: “reliable access to sufficient quantities and types of food to ensure a healthy life” (Bassett and Winter-Nelson, 2010). The course material addresses both the advantages and unsustainable aspects of past and current systems. Finally, we will consider alternatives to current practices. This includes the work of international organizations and governments at all levels. The course material addresses all parts of the food life cycle including production, distribution, storage and preparation, consumption and waste.  The weekly topics include:1)   Overview of the global food system—how did we get here?2)   A History of Scarcity and Abundance3)   Small-scale Production and Food Security4)   Industrial Production and Food Security5)   Food Systems of Preservation and Waste6)  Trade and Food Security7)   Energy, Climate Change and Food Security8)   Conflict and Food Security9)   Workshop Panels:  Innovations in Food Security10)   Course Overview and The Challenges Ahead.