Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2022


Teresa Mares

Nancy Welch

Vic Izzo

Project Description

Our world is made up of overlapping political, environmental, and economic spheres that engender social injustice and inequality. Though separate societal issues can seem divergent and unconnected, they are all linked together by one universal necessity: food. Because everyone eats, everyone is connected to—and dependent on—food and the systems that govern it. However, the impacts of our industrial food system are not felt equally among people who hold different positions of power within it.

Today’s industrial food complex operates on the capitalist principle of profit accumulation through exploitation, commodification, and extraction. This set of relations is not defined by scale or location, but by the characterization of food as a commodity within the constraints of a capitalist society. Indeed, many local, organic, or other seemingly “alternative” food systems are often rife with the same social justice problems as those controlled by transnational corporations (Holt-Giménez, 2018). This industrial food regime is a microcosm that reflects the mechanisms by which systems of power operate in society writ large.

This master’s project proposes an undergraduate course that leverages the combined power of food and education to study social justice through a food systems lens. It aims to demonstrate that education about food can a pivotal tool for understanding complex systems and addressing the social inequities that infuse not just the food system, but social structures more broadly. This course, titled “Social Justice and the US Food System,” foregrounds a critical examination of the human dimensions of food. It explores the inequities embedded in how food is produced, distributed, and accessed, as well as the ways that people work to resist, disrupt, and transform systems of injustice.

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Document Type