The Wicked Problem of Global Food Security

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InTeGrate: Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future


The 1996 World Food Summit declared food security to be "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life." Over the next several decades, food security will continue to be one of the the most pressing issues facing our planet. In this three-week module, we take an Earth systems approach to understanding and addressing world food insecurity issues, and explore how social, economic, and political factors impact decision-making and can improve or compromise the biogeochemical interactions provided by the Earth system as they pertain to food production. Students will explore the very factors that cause food insecurity (including climate, socio-economic, and physical) through readings, lecture, case studies, and geospatial analysis using ArcGIS Online. The module will culminate with a summative assignment where students will design a community-based action plan utilizing a variety of data sources addressing food insecurity in a location of their choosing.