Concepts in Natural Systems (December 31, 2012 – March 31, 2013)

Course Description and Rationale

The course traces historical trends and contemporary issues in natural systems with a focus on how human activity alters and shapes such arrangements. In turn, we investigate how changes in one system impact and influence change in another place or structure and on human activity. Students will gain a broad, holistic perspective on the complimentary and contradictory ways in which systems function and a recognition that places, trends, and people are not isolated or islands when we consider food and cuisine. Students will develop a proficiency to recognize and analyze links within systems and create options to influence and shape its future. Such knowledge and proficiency can contribute to successful businesses and leadership in the agriculture, food, and culinary worlds.

The twelve-week course functions completely online and consists of six lessons divided into two-week modules. It combines readings, research, essays and/or other presentations, subject notebooks and portfolios, individual projects, and discussion groups.


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