Course Syllabus

Sustainable Food:

Production and Consumption A            

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Semester & Location:

Spring 2020 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 Credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Short Tour: Denmark; Long Tour: Italy

Major Disciplines:

Environmental Studies, Public Policy, and Sustainability

Faculty Members:

Ed Romein

Program Director:

Neringa Vendelbo:

Program Assistant:

Julia Magnuson:

Time & Place:

Time: Monday & Thursday 8:30 - 9.50 | Room: N7-B13

ACADEMIC ORIENTATION: January 15, 2020 13.00-15.00 in room V23-301

Description of course

It's possibly the greatest challenge of our time: to feed an ever growing population without further destroying the planet. And we need to do so under the growing pressure of climate change, scarce resources and hardly any room for error, while at the same time our efforts are held up to increasing scrutiny on their social, economic and environmental impact. This course seeks to shed light on this predicament by seeing what lessons can be learned from the past but even more so by exploring the possibilities of alternative ways of food production and consumption. Solutions that recognize and address the environmental and social impacts of food and which seek to reshape our connection to food. Critical questions include: What is the true cost of food? How can we achieve more sustainable diets while producing less waste? Does food activism make a difference? What do pioneering restaurants and food entrepreneurs teach us? How do cities help shape more sustainable food practices?

Course aims

This course aims to:

- increase food literacy through understanding the social, economic and environmental impact of food production and consumption choices.

- develop critical thinking skills through analysis and evaluation of sustainable food practices.

- increase the capacity to take an active role in dealing with the challenges of our time through envisioning opportunities and challenging values.  

Learning objectives of the course

At the end of the course the student is able to:

- Identify and formulate the global challenges of sustainable food production and consumption.

- Define sustainable food production and consumption from multiple perspectives.

- Differentiate and compare types of sustainable food initiatives through their origins, advantages and disadvantages.

- Critically evaluating evidence that supports or contradicts common and competing claims and beliefs about food systems.  

- Point out the possibilities of alternative food production and consumption approaches.

- List food strategies and diets that contribute to a more sustainable food system.


Ed Romein, PhD candidate (Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam). Ass. Lecturer Copenhagen Business School (International Economics & Management) Research consultant in urban development at Urban Sense Research and Advisory (2008-2012). Consultant and educator in city management and public policy at Netherlands School of Public Administration (2001-2007). M.A. Philosophy (Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2003). M.A. Art History (Leiden University, 2000), M.Sc. Economics (Erasmus University Rotterdam, 1999). With DIS since 2014.


There is no textbook for this course. The readings will be made available on the Canvas page of the course.

- Barber, Dan (2014). The Third Plate. Field notes on the Future of Food. New York: Penguin Press, 2014.

- Hauter, Wenonah (2012). Foodopoly. The Battle over the future of food and farming in America. New York & London: The New Press, 2012.

- Foley, Jonathan A. 'Solution for a cultivated planet.' In Nature Vol 478 (October 20, 2011), pp. 337- 342.

- Halloran, A. (eds.)., (2018). Edible Insects in Sustainable Food Systems. Springer International Publishing, Cham.

- Lang, T., Barling, D. and Caraher, M. (2009). Food Policy: integrating health, environment and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

- Lappe, Anna (2010).  Diet For A Hot Planet, The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It. Bloomsbury, 2010.

- Mason, P.M. and Lang, T.M. (2017). Sustainable Diets: How ecological nutrition can transform consumption and the food system. Abingdon: Routledge Earthscan.

- Mouritsen, Ole G. (2013). Seaweeds: Edible, Available and Sustainable. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

- Poore & Nemecek (2018) - 'Reducing food's environmental impact through producers and consumers.' In Science 360, pp.987-992 (2018).

- Sage, Colin. (2015). “Food and sustainable development: How should we feed the world?” In: Routledge International Handbook of Sustainable Development. 264-277.

- Shiva, Vandana (2016). Who Really Feeds the World? The Failures of Agribusiness and the Promise of Agroecology. Berkely: North Atlantic Books, 2016.

Field studies

Field studies are site visits or workshops that take place on Wednesdays. During the semester there are two field studies scheduled for this course. These field studies are mandatory. Field studies provide a great opportunity to take a closer look at projects or initiatives that directly relate to sustainable food production and consumption and meet the people and organizations behind them. The field studies are on:

- Wednesday February 19th from 8.30 - 12.30

- Wednesday April 29th from 13.00 - 17.00

Study tours

Core Course Week and study tours are an integral part of the course as we take the classroom on the road and see how theory presented in the classroom translates to practice in the field. For this course you will travel with your classmates and DIS faculty/staff on two occasions, a short study tour during Core Course Week and a long study tour later in the semester. During the first two days of the Core Course Week you explore Copenhagen. In the second part of the week you travel to the Western part of Denmark. On previous tours we visited organic and bio-dynamic farmers and artisan producers, collect wild food in the forest and foraged on the beach for our meal, had cooking workshops and visited food production facilities. The Long Study Tour is later in the semester and will take you to Italy. Here we will have a closer look at how the question of sustainability ties in with one of the great eating cultures of the world and one of the largest food producers in Europe.  


Core Course Week

Destination: Denmark

Dates:  February 3-4 (Copenhagen) & February 6-8 (Short Study Tour)


Long Study Tour

Destination: Italy

Dates: March 15-20


Expectations for study tours

In general, the expectations for the study tour is that you:

- Actively participate in all activities

- Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives

- Respect the destination, the speakers, DIS staff, and your fellow classmates

- Represent yourself, your home university, and DIS in a positive light

While on a study tour, DIS will provide hostel/hotel accommodation, transportation to/from the destination(s), approx. 2 meals per day, and entrances, guides, and visits that are part of the study tour program. You will receive a more detailed itinerary prior to departure.

Travel policies: You are required to travel with your group to the destination. If you have to deviate from the group travel plans, you need approval from the program director and the study tours office prior to departure. You are free to return to Copenhagen on your own if you choose to do so, but you must stay with the group through the last visit and inform your study tour leaders of your plans in advance. 

Approach to Teaching

Class sessions will combine lectures (including guest lecturers) and discussions, which examine theory, current debate, and case studies. The classroom experience will be enhanced by experiential learning, through cooperative learning methods, along with field studies and study tours. With such a broad topic, it is impossible to cover all issues and themes, therefore topics are selective rather than comprehensive.


Engagement & Participation 20%
Case Study 1 - Produce 15%
Case Study 2 - Pathways 20%
Blog / Study tour reflections 20%
Final Exam 25%

Participation & engagement will be based on the following criteria:

  • Attendance
  • Active participation in class discussions
  • Small class assignments
  • Preparation for each class
  • Reading all assigned texts
  • On-time submission of all class assignments
  • Active participation in study tours and field studies

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

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