Minor in Global Food Security

Minor in Global Food Security

Food and nutrition security (FNS) is a key challenge of development and a central element in broader debates surrounding environmental and social sustainability and requires inter- and transdisciplinary approaches.
Currently most minor programs around food and nutrition security have a limited focus on aspects such as agriculture, economics, politics and or health. We specifically designed this minor to have a holistic approach in food and nutrition security. Bringing together researchers from a variety of disciplines to develop and teach in the minor program, global food security.

Why a minor in global food security
•         Global food security is at the core of many of today’s societal problems, varying from undernourished children to obese adults and elderly; climate change presents a challenge for future food production; novel technologies raise ethical questions with respect to animal welfare, preservation of biodiversity, and protection of national policy autonomy. These and many other societal issues are part of the content of this course. These insights will be useful to a variety of academic and societal fields, and may help you to choose your master’s programme.
•         This minor takes real world problems as a starting point. Examples, assignments and (guest)lectures will be based on the variety of actual challenges related to food security. Throughout the minor, culminating in an advisory report in the last course, you will conduct an assignment for a real organization active in the field of food security; e.g. the Ministry of Economic Affairs; Oxfam Novib; FrieslandCampina.
•         Jobs are increasingly about combinations of insights and skills rather than specialized knowledge only. In this minor you will acquire skills and insights from different scientific backgrounds to be able to conduct interdisciplinary research. The fact that this minor is offered by the Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies, an institute that  brings together researchers from different faculties of the VU to conduct inter- and transdisciplinary research on food security, guarantees the richness of skills and methods taught.

Course description
The minor Global Food Security Studies is a 30 EC programme taught in English. It is an interdisciplinary programme addressing the complex problem of ensuring food and nutrition security from a variety of academic disciplines, including economics, health and nutrition sciences, natural resource management, and agronomics. You will learn key concepts and principles from these disciplines that are relevant for FNS analysis and also learn to critically reflect on them. You will learn to combine these concepts and principles within an interdisciplinary analytical framework to explain the interlinkages between environmental resources, food production, quality of life, and food systems, and to analyze possible policy options for improving FNS.

Throughout the entire programme, you will apply the FNS concepts, principles and analytical framework in a series of assignments on specific food groups (e.g. Fish, Meat, Dairy, Horticulture - Fruits and Vegetables, Sugar) in each of the first four courses. This culminates in a food group advisory study assignment to be presented to FNS stakeholders inside and outside academia (private sector, government, NGOs) in the final course using various media channels (papers, presentations, blogs, video).

The first course can be seen as an introductory course (level 100) to FNS concepts and challenges. The second and third course (both level 200) focus on in-depth understanding of respectively food production and consumption in relation to FNS.
The fourth and fifth course (both level 300) build upon the previous courses by taking a system perspective (course 4) and an interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary perspective with a focus on application and communication (course 5).

Target audience
The minor Global Food Security Studies is open for students from all majors who want to acquire familiarity with the core principles of global food security and interdisciplinary methods. We are particularly interested in students who wish to contribute to food security through rigorous interdisciplinary knowledge production. The international staff that teaches in this minor programme conducts research in a variety of regions around the globe. This holds great appeal to students who are keen to understand the diversity and similarity in problems and solutions related to food (in)security.
 
For more information check http://www.vu.nl/nl/opleidingen/minoren/a-z/global-food-security/index.aspx