Food Studies at NU

Minor in Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity

Food is at the core of what it means to be human. Food defines cultures, is at the heart of religious and ethnic traditions, is handed down through family stories, gives us joy (and sometimes pain), binds work groups, and shapes the very rhythms of daily life. Of course, in its narrowest sense, food is about the most prosaic need, survival.

More broadly, whole civilizations thrive—and even collapse—depending on ready, reliable, and equitable access to food. Even with advanced technology and scientific methods of production, the contemporary age is no different. Issues of food security and access grow in importance as societies see rising demand due to population growth and, ironically, spreading affluence, at the same time confronting issues such as water and land scarcity, the effects of climate change on local growing capacity, depletion in regional seafood populations, greater reliance on global food chains, and the potential for food system disruption from terrorism or natural disaster.

The minor in Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity offers a lens through which to address issues of sustainability, resilience, and equity in local, regional, and global food systems generally. Courses in it cover a range of related topics, including historical perspectives on food systems and societal; food system design and resilience; economic, cultural, and policy dimensions of food systems; food security, access, and equity; food system equity and democracy; and rethinking future food systems. Experiential opportunities include projects for various Boston area organizations and offices (such as the City of Boston Office of Food Initiatives) and with Northeastern University Dining Services under the auspices of the Menus for Change University Research Collaborative, of which Northeastern is a founding member.

Student groups that will find this minor of interest include the Husky Environmental Action Team (HEAT), NU Eats, the Progressive Student Alliance, Real Food Challenge, Slow Food NU, and the Social Enterprise Institute Student Association, to name but a few.