CCOG for HE 264 Summer 2024

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

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.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Health Studies General Education courses encourage critical thinking about health, systems that influence individual and community health, and strategies that promote individual, community, and environmental health and well-being. Shaped by factors such as politics, culture, technology and economics, the current global food system affects individuals, communities, and environmental health in various ways. Gaining a clear understanding of the complex factors influencing the evolution of local and global food systems provides insight into resulting human health and environmental impacts and allows people to reflect on how personal food choice impacts food systems. This opens the door for effective change leading to improved health outcomes as well as a just, equitable and sustainable food system.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade.

Assessment methods may include the following:

  • 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 the 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, institutional, 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 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 food choices for their impact on 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, identity, place of living, etc.