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Topics include food security, food access, agribusiness, local foods, biodiversity, food deserts, food justice, foodshed diagram, etc. 

The POWER of Food

Building a More Just & Sustainable Food System

"Every part of the food system was addressed. I really enjoyed how in depth we went in every discussion, and how my peers and I even brought it outside the classroom." —2015 participant

July 2-July 15

Food is integral to our human experience, and deeply embedded in our communities, cultural identities and daily lives. The ability for all people to feed themselves with dignity has been broadly acknowledged as a human right, yet many still suffer from hunger. Our current global food system exploits labor, and concentrates ownership of land and resources in the hands of relatively few. Its environmental impacts include emissions that contribute to climate change, and agricultural runoff that has damaged ecosystems and harmed human health; it’s also potentially ill-suited to weather the impending climate crisis, threatening global food security. At the same time, attempts to build local, alternative food systems have struggled to bring their efforts to a scale that could feed the world’s population; local food currently accounts for less than 1% of our food system. 

Students will explore the relationship between various social and environmental challenges across the food chain, from cultivation to distribution, consumption and waste. Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are the ideal site for exploring these topics; within one hour, students can travel from rural agricultural zones, to urban “food deserts” where histories of racist disinvestment have led to a lack of access to healthy, fresh food. The region is also home to some of the country’s most exciting efforts to create change, and students will have the opportunity to meet the inspiring individuals leading these initiatives—from Amish organic farmers and rural food cooperatives, to urban local food hubs, and recently resettled refugees working to maintain the nation’s largest contiguous urban farm. These explorations will be supplemented by interviews with professionals leading the sustainable sourcing initiatives of major food corporations, who seek to influence global supply chains at a potentially massive scale.  

Students will draw upon this wealth of resources to identify their own answer to the question: What will it take to create a more sustainable future for our food? And as emerging leaders, what role will they come to play in this future’s fruition.

Lead Instructor: Andrew DeCoriolis (TBC) 

Andrew DeCoriolis served as Lead Instructor for the first two summers of Foresight Prep @ Oberlin's food course (TBC for 2017). As an alum of the college, he appreciates the opportunity to be back on campus and engage with energetic and inspiring young people who are passionate about food, equity and the environment. 

Andrew is the Director of Special Programs at Farm Forward, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending factory farming. Farm Forward's work focuses on consumer education, and on building and supporting alternative methods of animal agriculture. Prior to joining Farm Forward, Andrew was part of the executive leadership team at Lucid Design Group, a leading software company that empowers civic, commercial, and educational customers to track and reduce their energy consumption. While at Lucid, he started what has become the nation's largest energy-reduction competition. Andrew’s work has engaged more than half a million program participants, led to millions of kilowatt-hours saved, and has been covered in leading periodicals including The Wall Street Journal and GreenTechMedia.