Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Course Content and Outcomes Guide for HE 264 Effective Summer 2021

Course Number:
HE 264
Course Title:
Food Systems and Public Health
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Examines the connections among diet, industrial and sustainable agriculture, the environment, and public health. Explores factors such as equity, food insecurity, food justice, sustainability, and the historical, economic and political forces that have shaped food systems both nationally and globally. May include community-based learning. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Use a systems perspective to examine the factors within the food system that impact personal, public, global, and environmental health.
  2. Explain the inter-relationship between social factors and how they connect within the food system.
  3. Evaluate diet and food choices for their impact on personal, societal, and environmental health.
  4. Examine the food system as it relates to health by using information from credible research and primary data sources.
  5. Explain how historical, economic, or political factors have helped shape the current food system.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The SAC expects a variety of both formative and summative assessment strategies to be used throughout the course to assess student learning of the course outcomes. Some examples of strategies are:

  • Written Journals, portfolios, self-assessments, and self-reflection papers
  • Multiple choice, true/false, short answer and essay quizzes and exams
  • Participation in individual and group exercises, activities, case studies and presentations in or outside the classroom
  • Participation in class discussions
  • Written and/or verbal assignments designed to promote integration of class material with personal reflection and experience
  • Oral or video presentations
  • Participation in online learning platforms.
  • Community-based learning projects involving self-reflection and application of food justice principles

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Examples of subject matter, themes, concepts and Issues:

  1. Global and local food systems
  2. Historical events that have shaped the food system
  3. Social, political and economic factors in relation to food systems  
  4. Health inequities
  5. Food insecurity and hunger
  6. Healthy food environments
  7. Media and marketing influence on consumer food choices
  8. Industrial agriculture and animal production
  9. Climate change
  10. Sustainable agriculture concepts and practices
  11. Impact of food systems on human and environmental health
  12. Potential solutions in creating a more healthy and just food system

Competencies and skills:

  1. Identify opportunities and challenges to encourage dietary behavior change, support sustainable agriculture, improve food insecurity and lessen the environmental and public health impact of food production and consumption
  2. Summarize current information about environmental health and food production.
  3. Understand how key historical and political factors played a role in shaping the food system both locally and globally.
  4. Analyze marketing messages for their influence on consumer food choices.
  5. Evaluate food systems for their impact on individual, community and environmental health.
  6. Explain the concepts of agricultural sustainability and how it relates to human and environmental health. 
  7. Identify examples of sustainable food systems.
  8. Explore personal food choices for their impact on personal health and the environment.
  9. Using a historical perspective identify changes in the global food system.
  10. Critique economic implications of local versus global food purchasing
  11. Discuss how food and diet relate to one’s culture, gender identity, place of living, etc.