Agriculture and Food Systems

Interest in food systems has intensified over the last decade as consumers have begun to ask questions about the source of their food and its implications for land use, climate change, food access, globalization, and culture in the 21st century.  Students selecting Agriculture and Food Systems as a focus area will have the opportunity to work across social and natural sciences in developing an understanding of the challenges of feeding 10 billion people in ways that are sustainable, equitable, and humane.  Students will gain an understanding of such varied topics as the importance of soil carbon dynamics for soil health and nutrient cycling; controversies around the role of dietary choices for greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture; food deserts and access to healthy food for low-income populations, and the interaction of globalization and organic production with livelihoods in developing countries.  As an example of a complex system, this focus area provides a vehicle for understanding social and ecological systems and the necessary elements of resilience to support growing populations while protecting the environment on which humans depend. Courses in Agriculture and Food Systems can be found in Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, History, Human Rights, and Sociology.
Agriculture and Food Systems Focus Area

Agriculture and Food Systems Focus Area

This focus area is appropriate for students interested in farming, agricultural policy, food access, food sovereignty, animal science, agroecology, complex systems, ethics of eating, plant and soil sciences, global food systems, history of agriculture, ecology of industrial and alternative agriculture, land use and climate change, the nexus between diet and health and related topics.

Popular and Scholarly Examples of Authors/Thinkers in/adjacent to the Field: Marion Nestle, Thomas Lyson, Michael Pollan, Peter Singer, Raj Patel, Wendell Berry, Eric Schlosser, Mark Bittman, Alton Brown, Anthony Bourdain, Julie Guthman, Staffan Lindeberg, Richard Manning, Barbara Kingsolver, Laurie Drinkwater, Tim Crews,  Alice Waters, Dan Barber, Denise Minger, David Montgomery, Jamie Oliver, Sandor Katz, Will Alan, Joel Salatin, Ruth Reichl, Julia Child, Mark Kurlansky, M.F.K. Fisher, Wes Jackson, Tara Tscharntke, and Keith Paustian

100- and 200-Level Courses

100-level courses 
  • CHEM 141: Basic Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 142: Basic Principles of Chemistry II
  • ECON 100: Principles of Economics
200-level courses 
  • EUS 222: Air
  • EUS T200: Farm Tutorial
  • EUS 205: Global Consequences of Food Production
  • EUS 210: The Global Future of Food
  • EUS 215: Food Systems: Human Health and Environmental Health
  • EUS 220: The Dust Bowl: Lessons on How Not To Prepare for/Respond to Natural Perturbations
  • ECON 226: Urban and Regional Economics
  • ECON 242: Ecological Economics
  • ECON 265: Community Based Development
  • HIST 2253: Ecological History of the Globe
  • PHIL 256: Environmental Ethics

300-level and Empirical Courses

300-level courses
  • ANTH 337: Cultural Politics of Animals
  • ECON 330: Seminar in Geoclassical Economics
  • ECON 342: Economics of Food and Fuel
  • EUS 305: EUS Practicum: Farm to Bard: Transforming Our Food System
  • EUS 311: Climate and Agroecology
  • EUS 312: Agriculture and Climate
  • HIST 329: Cultural History of Food
Empirical Analysis courses 
  • EUS 203: Geographic Information Systems
  • ECON 229: Introduction to Econometrics
  • ECON 230: Research Methods in Economics
  • BIO 144: Biostatistics
  • SOC 205: Intro to Research Methods

Potential Careers in Agriculture and Food Systems

Non-Profit Executive, Farmer, Sustainability Manager, Social Scientist, Policy Analyst, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Director, Professor, Supply Chain Supervisor, Veterinarian, Food entrepreneur, Cooperative Extension Agent, Agribusiness Researcher,  Food writer/Journalist, Biotechnologist,  Entomologist, Plant/Soil Scientist, Nutritionist, Food Scientist, Restaurant Owner, Chef, Farm Educator, Food Hub Coordinator, Tourism/Marketing Manager, Arborist, Landscape Architect, GIS Specialist, Community Developer, Market Researcher, International Aid Agent, United Nations Diplomat (FAO, UNESCO, WHO)
Potential employers: US Department of Agriculture, Federal Drug Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, US Agency for International Development, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service