The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will offer a new minor in Community Food Systems this fall, allowing students to explore social, ethical and agricultural dimensions of food systems.
Coordinator Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the minor.
“Members of the faculty team, other faculty members we’ve reached out to as we’ve developed the minor, and the courses on our list of electives, represent a range of academic perspectives, interests and approaches to understanding food systems,” Mouillesseaux-Kunzman said.
Mouillesseaux-Kunzman praised the minor as a partnership “between campus and community” and added that the minor directly involves “those who are on the ground, in communities, working to create more socially just and ecologically sustainable food systems.”
Community partners include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Cornell Farmworker Program, East New York Farms, Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming and Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities, according to the minor’s website. Their locations range from Ithaca and Brooklyn to Malawi.
Students complete a course of study in these locations in which they create equitable food systems, the site description explains.
Mouillesseaux-Kunzman stressed the importance of involving the community in the minor.
“A major part of this effort has focused on the community-based practicum and ensuring that the learning taking place on campus and in communities is integrated in meaningful ways,” Kunzman said.
Prof. Scott Peters, developmental sociology, worked with the Food Dignity project – a research project with the aim to advance sustainable community food systems – to launch the minor.
Cornell gained support to create this minor after it was allocated an Engaged Cornell Community Engaged Curriculum Development Grant.
The minor formally launches this fall, Mouillesseaux-Kunzman said, and a strong interest is anticipated.
“We’ve been meeting with faculty members who are creating courses related to community food systems studies, and are hearing about other new courses, which leads me to believe faculty are responding to a growing and strong interest in this area,” she said.
Mouillesseaux-Kunzman said she hopes that those passionate about the subject of the minor can “transform the food system in ways that strengthen individuals and communities.”