IHP Food Systems

Agriculture, Sustainability & Justice

Understand the dynamics of local food systems in a global context, exploring agriculture, food accessibility, global markets, sustainability and social change.

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

None

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Feb 6 ‎– May 18

Program Countries

Uganda, Ecuador

Program Base

Ecuador, Uganda

Critical Global Issue of Study

Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment Icon

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon

Overview

Why Study Food Systems?

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

As global temperatures and populations rise, food availability and access become increasingly strained. In Ecuador and Uganda, study how food production, distribution, and consumption are affected by climate change, global trade, and historic inequalities. Learn about alternative farming practices, government programs, and innovative food safety and trade regulations from farmers, activists, and policy experts. Visit with farming families in Uganda and tour major farming hubs of Ecuador. Across differing contexts, explore gastronomy and culture as key drivers of economic growth, and the importance of celebrating food, while uncovering solutions that offer the most promise for sustainable food futures at local, national, and global levels.

Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

Photos on this page may depict program sites from previous semesters. Please view the Program Sites section of this page to see where this program will travel in spring 2021.

Highlights

  • Explore the diversity of Ecuador’s agricultural centers from the Amazon to the Andes.
  • Witness agroecological farming practices amid increasing climate uncertainty on smallholder farms in Uganda.

Prerequisites

None

Program Sites

ECUADOR: QUITO, NANEGALITO, AND MASHPI

(8 weeks)

One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Ecuador is home to three distinct ecological zones: the Pacific coast, the Andes Highlands and the Amazon rainforest. Explore Quito’s urban agriculture program, born as a response to increasing food insecurity in the poorest areas of the city. Trek south through the stunning Andes, passing by Machachi, Lasso, and Riobamba, to learn from farmers and local communities about varied models of agricultural production and how food affects their livelihoods.

UGANDA: KAMPALA, MBARARA, LAKE BUNYONYI

(7 weeks)

Explore a range of perspectives on food security from farmers to local leaders in Kampala, comparing efforts to increase yields through agricultural subsidies with improvements to food sovereignty and nutritional security via alternatives such as permaculture. Journey to rural communities near Mbarara and Lake Bunyonyi and live among smallholder farming families while studying the effects of cultural traditions, climate change, drought, ecology, migration, and international aid regimes on agricultural histories and futures.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

Academics

Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • How to feed and nourish 9 billion people by 2050
  • Protecting the agricultural livelihoods of nearly 1 billion people
  • Biodiversity, genetically modified crops, land rights, and conflict
  • Food security challenges and opportunities amid changing conditions
  • Industrialization, technological innovation, and rapid urbanization
  • How communities plan their food sustainability futures

People, Identity, and Food

People, Identity, and Food – syllabus
(ANTH3010 / 4 credits)

This course will help you to understand how access to food, eating habits, choices, and the pleasures and processes of food consumption often reveal distinctions of age, gender, status, class, occupation, ethnicity, and religion—within and among cultures. Explore the role food plays in people’s lives, including and in addition to nutrition, and how urbanization and globalization are changing relationships between people, their environments, production and distribution chains, and therefore relationships with food itself. Identity how development, food demand, and distribution systems shape each other, and learn about how access to food, along with strategies for health and nutrition, are culturally determined.

Getting from Field to Fork

Getting from Field to Fork – syllabus
(ECON3010 / 4 credits)

This course examines the most effective economic development strategies for increasing food security among the most vulnerable food producers and consumers, how to increase efficiencies and reduce waste in existing processing and distribution chains to ensure more equitable access, and how to develop sustainable food systems for rapidly growing urban populations. Explore how international trade and regulatory frameworks affect food production and distribution chains, analyzing how these frameworks can contribute to global food security, as well as how income inequality—at local, national and global scales—affect nutrition and health, and what strategies can be most effective in reducing disparities. This course allows you to investigate the role migration plays in food production and consumption in diverse communities, and how access to information (including digital technology) can improve efficiency of both food production and distribution systems.

Agriculture, Ecology, and Sustainable Futures

Agriculture, Ecology, and Sustainable Futures – syllabus
(ENVI3010 / 4 credits)

This course analyzes how to reach food security objectives while taking into account local and global environmental imperatives and realities. Explore the prospects of currently prevailing agricultural models and what solutions they offer, as well as alternative models—including ecologically integrated methods and scales. There is emphasis on what roles science, technology, and innovation will play in creating a more food secure world, and how global climate change affects and will continue to affect local environments—creating new threats, weaknesses, and opportunities for shifting priorities. Look into possible systems and tools to empower local food producers to promote productivity and ecological health, and examine how urban agriculture and other innovations can contribute to local food security in our rapidly urbanizing world.

Politics, Ethics, and Food Security

Politics, Ethics, and Food Security – syllabus
(POLI3010 / 4 credits)

This course explores questions related to land rights, income distribution and inequality, food distribution systems, government regulation, the role of international organizations, and policy crafting as they relate to food and food security. More specifically, learn how to define food security at local, national and global scales, and how different conceptions determine varied approaches. You will also discuss how land rights and livelihoods can be balanced with rising global pressures around food security, and how income distribution and inequality affect hunger, food production, and development. The course deeply examines how governments, NGOs, research institutes, and UN bodies, among others, can help develop global solutions to ensure food accessibility for urban and rural communities. These complex topics will help you build a rich understanding of food security issues in an increasingly globalized and urbanized world.

Homestays / Housing

Accommodations

Students’ accommodations will include a mix of hostels, guesthouses, and small hotels/dorms.

Career Paths

Relevant career paths include:

  • Agriculture and food production

  • Nonprofit management

  • Government

  • International development

  • Sustainability and climate change

Faculty & Staff

IHP Food Systems: Agriculture, Sustainability & Justice

The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.

Joseph Lanning, PhD
Program Director
Estefanía Sánchez L., MS
Country Coordinator, Ecuador

Discover the Possibilities

  • COST & SCHOLARSHIPS

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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  • A DAY IN THE LIFE OF IHP

    Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

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  • Study Abroad with SIT's International Honors Programs (IHP)

    Take a sneak speak into our IHP Food Systems program with Academic Director Joe Lanning as he discusses examining the dynamics of local food systems in a global context in four unique countries.

    Video