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  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Food Science
  • Food
  • Health + Nutrition
Less than 2% of Americans are directly involved in agricultural production, but thanks to a new class, CALS gives students the opportunity to understand the complex dynamics that factor into those systems.

The course, Just Food: Exploring the Modern Food System, benefits from an interdisciplinary pair of instructors: Rachel Bezner Kerr, professor in the Department of Global Development, and Frank Rossi, associate professor of horticulture in the School of Integrative Plant Science.

“This course helps students think critically and systematically about food—where it comes from and how it is produced—and the social, political, historical, economic, health and environmental impacts,” Bezner Kerr said. “We also expose students to a range of alternatives to the dominant ways that food is produced to address issues of environmental stewardship, social justice and food security.”

First offered in fall 2019, the course was designed to challenge students’ perspectives of controversial and nuanced issues, such as meat production, genetically modified crops and prevailing malnutrition.

The class regularly takes students to spaces where they can witness parts of the production pipeline first-hand.

“The excursions provided a tangible example of the global food system in diversity and scale,” Rossi said. “Being in the space where cows are milked and meat is processed—institutions where vegetables are bred, and food is stored and prepared—engaged more senses in the learning process. We needed more time for discussion!”

Bezner Kerr and Rossi hope to offer the course every fall, continuing in the long tradition of agricultural education at CALS.

Learn more about the 'Just Food' course from our earlier coverage.

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