Everyone eats, and therefore everyone has a relationship to global agriculture. But because less than one percent of the US population earns a living from farming, most Americans rarely think about where our food comes from. This course explores the origins of our current global food system, the political-economic relations that structure it, and emerging alternatives to industrial food. The course begins with an overview of the global food system, including the actors and ideas that have shaped its historical development. Second, students examine the dominant paradigm of industrial agriculture and the politics of its organization primarily in the US context. Finally, students discuss some of the most prescient debates over the future of our food system with a focus on the local context. Note: this course includes a required weekly three-hour experiential session in addition to regular class sessions. This experiential session provides students the opportunity for hands-on learning through field trips, volunteering, and community-based projects. Students use class materials to bring an analytical lens to these experiences, and the course culminates in a major research project and presentation that engages local community gardeners.
Prerequisites: IPE 201 (prior to Fall 2016) or IPE 101 or PG 103.