Food Security

2 credits / 6 weeks weeks
6 Nov 2023 - 17 Dec 2023

Professor Olivia Sylvester

In this course, students we critically examine contemporary issues in food security as well as the historical processes that have shaped our current food system. We start by presenting the Food and Agriculture Organization’s framework for food security and use this as a lens for our critical thinking throughout the course. We analyze how sustainable agriculture is central to food security. We unpack how international trade and markets influence individual and national food security. We present food sovereignty as a movement that has emerged in response to trade liberalization and inequality in our food system. To build on principles of equality, we include gender as a lens to better understand the nuances of how food insecurity affects people differently. To close, we examine food waste and its innovative solutions. This class is relevant to students and professionals working in education, research, programming and policy that want to deepen their understanding of food security and to acquire tools and frameworks applicable in this field.

Olivia Sylvester

 Olivia Sylvester, holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Management and is the Head of the Environment & Development Department at the University for Peace as well as an Associate professor. She is also an adjunct professor for Oregon State University. For over a decade, Dr. Sylvester’s research program has focused on sustainable food systems, agroecology, Indigenous and feminist methodologies, food security/sovereignty, gender, and climate/environmental justice; she has published 30 articles and book chapters on these topics. Dr. Sylvester has also worked closely with Indigenous communities in Costa Rica to develop protocols for ethical research. She is currently the coordinator of one MA programme (Environment, Development & Peace) and two MSc programmes (Water Cooperation & Diplomacy and Ecology & Society) and teaches across these programmes. Dr. Sylvester is also a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Society of Ethnobiology, and the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Project, and the Society for Agriculture and Human Values. Being active within these networks allows her to work at the interface of policy and practice. 

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