Course Syllabus

Sustainable Food: Production and Consumption A

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Danish agriculture.jpg   

Photo: Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries of Denmark

Semester & Location:

Fall 23 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Study Tours:

Sicily, Italy (EastCoast)

Major Disciplines:

Environmental Studies, Sustainability, Food Culture Studies and Policy



Faculty Members:

Camilla Hoff-Jørgensen

Current students use Canvas inbox to contact.

Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays 10.05-11.25 am, in F24-403

Course description

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. By visiting sites both in Denmark and Sicily, this course will improve students' understanding of climate issues and local contexts when it comes to food production and consumption.

Critical questions include: What is the true cost of food and natural resources? How can we achieve more sustainable diets while producing less waste? How can food activism make a difference? What do pioneering restaurants and food entrepreneurs teach us? How do cities help shape more sustainable food infrastructures? We will explore these questions in Denmark and in the Italian island, of Sicily. Denmark and Sicily are different climate-wise, culturally, and historically. Both the Danish landscape and the Italian insula region of Sicily are among the most intensively cultivated countries in Europe. The agricultural land of Denmark covers approximately 62% of the area, and the Sicilian covers 68.5%. Italy has a climate allowing the country to produce food all year and export a huge amount of fruit and vegetables to the rest of Europe and the US. However, the country is experiencing more and more wildfires, heat waves, and climate change symptoms. Being classified as a less developed region, with political and structural issues, Sicily is faced with very different challenges than the Danish super efficient dairy productions and hog farms.

This course connects principles from the physical sciences and social sciences to address complex contemporary food issues. The field of sustainable food encompasses the study of basic principles of ecology and environmental science, as well as subjects such as ethics, anthropology, history, and politics.

During the core course week in Denmark and the study tour in Sicily, we will be hiking to most of the localities we are to visit, so you will be required to bring practical clothing and footwear that will allow you to stay warm and dry in cold weather. Even Sicily can be windy in the fall.


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 

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

- Identify and map up 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; packaging, food miles, and food ethics.

- Critically evaluate evidence that supports or contradicts common, competing claims about food systems.  

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

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


Camilla Hoff-Jørgensen, Cand.scient in Social Anthropologist (Lund University) BA.sceint.anthr. and BA.scient In Human Nutrition: Food Production (Copenhagen) and research consultant in Food Culture Studies. Camilla is a faculty in the fields of medical and food anthropology. She has worked with food and food culture at many levels, from the biochemistry of the nutrients in the food, food production, and distribution, and the cultural use of food in different contexts; Japan, Thailand, Spain, and Denmark. 


  • Willett, Walter (2019), Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems ́. The LanceW CRmmiVViRnV. 
  • EAT-Lancet Commission. (2019), The EAT-Lancet Commission - Summary Report Food Planet Health. ́ The LanceW CRmmiVViRnV
  • Halawa, (2021), "Global Brooklyn"
  • Rockström & Gaffney (2021), Feeding 10 billion people within the planetary boundaries
  • Mann, Charles, (2018 ), "The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World 
  • Paddock, Jessica. (2012), "Chapter 12 Marking the boundaries: position taking in the field of ‘alternative’ food consumption"
  • Poore & Nemecek (2018), "Reducing food's environmental impact through producers and consumers"
  • Raynolds (2020), "Routledge Handbook of Food Waste" 

Field Studies & Guest Lecturers

  • TBA for 2023, see the calendar



Potential visits and guests include:

  Common Mussels      Havhøst (sea foresting trip) What's sustainable seafood fishing?

Vild mad      Vild mad (foresting trip) What strives in nature?

Vejlskovgaard      Modern Dairy Production. What is the future for cow milk and beef? 

Jens-Draaby-Soeby.jpeg      Meet a farmer, who converted his conventional farm into organic

Bioøkonomiske muligheder i græsprotein, biogas og biomasser      Finding alternative protein than soy for feed

Screenshot 2022-01-10 at 17.47.37.png      Danish Conventional pig farm

Screenshot 2022-01-10 at 17.53.09.png      Urban gardens

Screenshot 2021-05-27 at 11.20.54.png      Guided tastings

  No alt text provided for this image    Meet private farm cooperative (


Approach to Teaching

The methods used to cover class materials include lectures, videos, discussions, individual and group presentations, guest lectures, and daily field trips. The course will have several out-of-the-classroom sessions on location to experience the different facets of food firsthand and hands-on. Students are expected to be able to find and be at the external locations on time. The external locations will not be far from DIS's location and maps and addresses will be given in advance.

Expectations of the Students

I expect you to attend all class sessions unless prevented by an emergency. If you are not in class, you cannot participate. I expect you to complete all the assigned readings and come to class prepared to discuss it in depth. I expect you to turn in assignments on time.

All students are expected to have completed the course readings before class so that we can discuss the material at the right level. It is important to be well prepared for class because I may randomly select students to give key points on the readings for that day.

Students are expected to participate actively in all classes and field studies and be open-minded to their fellow student’s contributions to the class. The aim is to establish an environment where we can learn from each other as well as from the texts and cases we engage with, and you are expected to actively support this approach.


Students will be evaluated on their ability to understand, discuss, and communicate theories within the field of food anthropology as well as interpret them meaningfully. These skills will be the primary focus of evaluations. Group work in class and in the field as well as the student's ability to contribute to a group effort will be taken into account for the final grade.


Your final grade consists of the following three elements:



Assess the carbon footprint of a chosen product (Life Cycle Analysis)


Study Tour Assignments (short 10% and long 25%)


A critical assessment of a sustainable meal and how it is socially perceived





Areas to Cover

‘Late papers will be accepted, but your grade for the paper will be reduced by half a point for each day that it is late if the course instructor is not informed about the delay. 

The use of laptops or phones in class is accepted for note-taking only. 

Zoom meetings

Please email Camilla in case you need to access the class over zoom one day

Click here to join Zoom Meeting: 932 9389 6329

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:

Date Details Due