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Track IV: Food Systems, Nutrition, and the Environment
Track I: Environmental Science
Track II: Sustainability, Policy, and Equity
Track III: Environmental Communication
Track IV: Food Systems, Nutrition and the Environment
Track V: Environmental Humanities
Track VI: Self-Designed with Advisor
This track focuses on the importance of sustainable food production systems and critical issues of access to high quality food. The study of food systems, nutrition and the environment has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity, as communities and institutions have recognized the importance of sustainable food production systems and high quality food as an integral part of any healthy and just society. This is an inherently interdisciplinary area, requiring students to draw on multiple types of knowledge and methods. To illustrate: the production and distribution of food is affected by cultural norms, individual behavior, social structure, biotechnologies, present and past environments, geopolitical power, and global economic relations. Social movements and cultural preferences, often inflected by race, class, and gender, drive the demand and value of certain foods (such as wild-caught fish, farm-raised animals, or traditional grains), which in turn influence how and where food production takes place.
Food production and consumption has major consequences for the environment, human well-being, and community. Given future human population growth and climatic changes, where will sufficient food be grown? How can we ensure that we are not producing too many of certain crops, and too few of others? How do we preserve our scarce resources such as water and soil to ensure that we continue to provide a sufficient supply of food at reasonable prices in years to come? Should agricultural land also be used for fuel and energy? How will these decisions affect biodiversity and the planet's natural systems? What is an ideal diet from a human nutritional perspective, and what political-economic barriers to accessing such a diet exist around the world?
Students in this track can choose to take a wide variety of courses, or instead concentrate on issues such as nutrition, global agricultural systems, plant physiology, food justice, rural life and culture, food policy, and environmental ethics. It serves as an ideal preparation for future studies and careers in nutrition and nutritional policy, sustainable food production, and global food systems, grounding students in perspectives that cut across the physical, social, and human sciences with attention to inequality and cultural difference.
Learn about the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative >
Example track paths, based on students' interests:– Food Systems & Ecosystem Health
– World Hunger
– The Science of Food Systems and the Environment
– Food Businesses
– Nutrition & Policy
– History, Culture(s) and Ethics
View all track paths >
Minimum Required Courses (n=5):
Unlisted courses that are environmentally-themed might be requested
to count toward specific requirements (introductory, research/methods and
advanced courses/seminars). Examples might include Experimental College classes
or Advanced Independent Research courses offered by different departments. In
order to have an unlisted course added to a track, you must complete a
Course Petition form and
submit it to environmentalstudies(@tufts.edu).
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