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290116 VU Geographies of Food: Global Food Systems at a Crossroads Between Food Security and Sustainability (2019W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Continuous assessment of course work



max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 04.10. 09:00 - 11:30 Hörsaal 4C Geographie NIG 4.OG C0409
Friday 18.10. 09:00 - 12:30 Hörsaal 4C Geographie NIG 4.OG C0409
Friday 25.10. 09:00 - 12:30 Hörsaal 4C Geographie NIG 4.OG C0409
Friday 29.11. 09:00 - 12:30 Hörsaal 5A Geographie NIG 5.OG A0518
Friday 13.12. 09:00 - 13:30 Hörsaal 4C Geographie NIG 4.OG C0409
Friday 10.01. 09:00 - 12:30 Hörsaal 4C Geographie NIG 4.OG C0409
Friday 17.01. 09:00 - 11:30 Hörsaal 4C Geographie NIG 4.OG C0409


Aims, contents and method of the course

Climate change, population growth, land use degradation, the biodiversity crisis, changes in consumption habits towards meat-based diets, persisting hunger and malnutrition as well as the rise of obesity and non-communicable diseases – global food systems are in a “perfect storm of challenges” (Beddington 2009). Deep transformation is required in order to address the food security and sustainability challenges of the 21st century (HLPE 2019).
Scientific work on planetary boundaries and the food system, sustainable food production, sustainable supply chains and consumption as well as recent reports by the FAO High Panel of Experts and IPCC will be analysed. Emphasis will be placed on the situation for people in global food security hotspots in the Global South.
The course will make students aware of the diversity of challenges, interests, power-relations and transformative solutions in global food systems. Individual sessions will consist of a mix of lecture, workshop, groupwork and role-play methods. After the first sessions students will select and prepare the role of a food system stakeholder or dialogue facilitator. A Food Systems Dialogue roleplay will be played out in consultation with Food Systems Dialogues (foodsystemsdialogues.org). The dialogue summary will subsequently be fed into the Food Systems Dialogues process – students hence contribute to a real-life international work process.
For the first session on 4 October students are requested to read the introductory article to food security by Gibson (2012) prior to the session.

Assessment and permitted materials

The following requirements must be fulfilled to pass the course:
• Regular attendance and active participation (presence in at least 80% of the sessions, presence in the 13 Dec 2019 session is mandatory)
• Active participation in the online course forum
• Preparation of a stakeholder role description of max. 1000 words
• Writing of a term paper of max. 3000 words (excluding references)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Attendance in at least 80% of the sessions, including the 13 Dec 2019 session. Sick absence with a medical sickness certificate of more than 20% of the sessions can be compensated with additional assignments.
The online posts for each session must be posted in the forum until the beginning of the next session. Students must select five posts of their own work with max. 400 words each (excl. references), compile them in a word-document and send them to the lecturer by 19 January 2020.
The stakeholder/facilitator role description with max. 1000 words (excl. references) must be send to the lecturer until 25 November 2019.
The term paper of max. 3000 words (excl. references) must be send to the lecturer by 28 February 2020.
The term paper will count 50%, the online posts 30% and the character description 20% of the final mark. All assignments must be passed individually in order to pass the course. An assignment is passed with a minimum grade of 4.
Grading scheme:
100 - 86 % - grade 1
85 - 71 % - grade 2
70 - 56 % - grade 3
55 - 41 % - grade 4
40 - 0 % - grade 5

Examination topics

The examination will encompass the work items as outlined in the course requirements.

Reading list

Altieri, M. A. et al (2015): Agroecology and the design of climate change-resilient farming systems: Agronomy for Sustainable Development 35:2; url: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13593-015-0285-2 (28.8.2019)
Arneth, A. et al (2019): IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security and Greehouse Gas Fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems: Summary for Policy Makers (approved draft); url: https://www.ipcc.ch/srccl-report-download-page/ (22.8.2019)
Committee on World Food Security, High Level Panel of Experts (2019): Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition: A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security: Summary and Recommendations; url: http://www.fao.org/cfs/cfs-hlpe/en/ (22.8.2019)
Dagevos, H. et al (2013): Sustainability and meat consumption: is reduction realistic?: Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 9:2, url: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15487733.2013.11908115 (30.8.2019)
Gibson, M. (2012): Food Security – A Commentary: What Is It and Why Is It So Complicated?: Foods 2012 1:1, url: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5302220/ (30.8.2019)
Godfray, H. C. J. et al (2010): The future of the global food system: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 365 (2769-2777), url: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2010.0180 (22.8.2019)
iPES Food (2017): Too big to feed: Exploring the impacts of mega-mergers, consolidation and concentration of power in the agri-food sector: Executive Summary, Url: http://www.ipes-food.org/_img/upload/files/Concentration_FullReport.pdf (22.8.2019)
Pretty, Jules et al (2011): Sustainable intensification in African agriculture: International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9:1 5-24, Url: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3763/ijas.2010.0583?needAccess=true& (28.8.2019)
Springman, M. et al. (2018): Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits: Nature 562 (519-525); url: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328200342_Options_for_keeping_the_food_system_within_environmental_limits (22.8.2019)
Ronto, Rimante et al (2018): The global nutrition transition: trends, disease burdens and policy interventions: Public Health Nutrition: 21:12; url: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/global-nutrition-transition-trends-disease-burdens-and-policy-interventions/3D16D0E7E7CAA32B3AE8CF72F99216A4 (28.8.2019)
Sajjad, A. et al (2015): Sustainable Supply Chain Management: Motivators and Barriers: Bus. Strat. Env. 24 643-655; url: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/bse.1898 (28.8.2019)
Steffen, W. et al (2015): Planetary Boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet: Science 347: 6223; url: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/1259855 (28.8.2019)
All readings and an updated reading list will be available on Moodle from 30 September 2019.

Association in the course directory

(MG-S3-PI.f) (MG-S4-PI.f) (MG-S6-PI.f) (MG-W5-PI) (L2-b3) (L2-b-zLV) (BA UF GW 19) (MA UF GW 02-4)

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21