Course: Baltimore Food Systems: A Case Study of Urban Food Environments

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Baltimore Food Systems: A Case Study of Urban Food Environments

Baltimore City Farmer's Market. Photo by Laya White. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND.



Roni Neff, Instructor; Megan Clayton, Assistant Instructor

Originally Offered :

Spring 2013

Offered By:

Department of Environmental Health Sciences

Course Number:



This course uses experiential learning, discussion, service learning, and related texts to challenge students to look closely at the environment of Baltimore City's complex food systems.  Students consider what it would take to improve these systems to assure access for all to nutritious, adequate, affordable food; to address diet-related disease; to create just and sustainable food labor conditions; increase the supply of and demand for healthy and sustainably produced foods; and to reduce food system environmental harms.  

Students "go backstage" with tour guides at a supermarket, an emergency food center, an urban farm, a rural farm, and an aquaponics facility. Students will participate in service learning projects, providing the opportunity to contribute to improving the city’s food system while gaining additional experiential insights.  Students will also have the opportunity to conduct interviews with some of those who have been at the forefront of food system change in Baltimore.  In-class sessions are structured primarily as discussion seminars. Guest speakers active in the city’s food system join many of the sessions to share their perspectives.

Throughout, students consider the relative impacts of access, demand, cost, stakeholder interests, administrative issues, history, and power, and consider the relative strengths of voluntary, governmental, legal and other strategies.  Discussions and lectures consider applicability of lessons gained from the study of Baltimore to other food systems.