Course description

Exploring Food Systems is a unique course, offered in conjunction with the FoodWorks Fellowship Program to students based in Middlebury VT and engaged in internships in Vermont.  This course offers academic credit; but unlike most courses, it is enhanced by activities that get you far beyond the classroom.  Similarly, the assignments go beyond reading articles, writing papers and taking exams to encourage you to synthesize and reflect on your experiences and learning.  The aim of FoodWorks is to seamlessly integrate 9 intensive weeks of students’ activities and learning: internships, readings, assignments, and field trips.

The overall aim of this course is to engender your understanding, self-awareness and ability and interest to continue learning about how to improve food systems, i.e., the interdependent activities from food production through food waste management, including the people and policies that influence each step.

Specific learning goals include:

Understanding of

1) What a food system encompasses and why a systems perspective is useful

2) What strategies and tactics are in use in Vermont to change food systems to better meet health, environmental and social standards, and various entry points for these strategies and tactics (e.g., local to international scales, and activities ranging from production to consumption and waste management) with an emphasis on production and distribution

Greater awareness of

3) How you as an individual can promote positive food system change and the kinds of engagement in the food system that is most satisfying to you

4) Which job opportunities exist in food systems and how to find jobs

Expectations and Evaluation

You are expected to engage in all activities and turn in all assignments at a minimum (C grade).

Excellent participation (A grade) will be demonstrated by:

  • Consistently thoughtful participation in discussion and field trips
  • Deliberate integration of readings with other activities in blogs and assignments
  • Consistently respectful interaction with peers and community partners, shown by superior listening skills, responsiveness and good judgment
  • Evidence of growth or maturation in knowledge and awareness, based on reflection about FoodWorks experiences

B grades will be given for performance that is better than minimal but not up to A standards.