Course: Baltimore Food Systems: A Case Study of Urban Food Environments
Baltimore Food Systems: A Case Study of Urban Food Environments
Roni Neff and Anne Palmer
Originally Offered :
This seminar-style course challenges students to look closely at the environment of Baltimore City's complex food systems and to consider what it would take to improve these systems to assure access for all to nutritious, adequate, affordable and sustainably produced food. Students "go backstage" with tour guides at sites including a supermarket, a corner store, an emergency food distribution center, and a farm connected to the city school system. Students learn about the types of food available at these sites, who uses them, relevant aspects of their operations, and site-relevant key barriers to and opportunities for providing access to healthier food, ideally with reduced environmental harm. They also conduct oral history interviews about food with elderly city residents to understand how food access has changed over the years. Class discussions, lectures, readings, and guest speakers support critical thinking, and provide background and frameworks for understanding the experiential sessions. Lectures and discussions consider applicability of lessons gained from the study of Baltimore to other area food systems. Throughout, students consider the relative impacts of access, demand, and stakeholder interests, and consider the relative strengths of voluntary, governmental, legal and other strategies. For their final papers, students apply the Intervention Decision Matrix to selected aspects of the city's food systems and food environments, identifying challenges and opportunities for change, incorporating lessons learned from other food systems and programs, and discussing implications beyond Baltimore .