Global Food Security: The Real Hunger Games

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FIG 17
Jeri Barak-Cunningham
Global Food Security
Lecture 1, 12:15–2:10 M; Discussion 301, 1:20–2:10 W
Plants, Parasites, and People
Lecture 1, 11:00–11:50 MW; Lab 305, 11:00–12:15 F
General Chemistry I
Lecture 4, 1:00–2:15 TR; Discussion 376, 9:55–10:45 WF; Lab 676, 5:40–8:40 W

In this biological science FIG, you will explore the intersection of domestic public policy, global public health, socioeconomics, national security, and a sustainable environment.

The main course of this FIG, Plant Pathology 311: “Global Food Security,” will utilize problem-based learning to examine the delicate balance that maintains global food security. You will examine the interactions between domestic public policy and global food production. Food availability depends on sustainable agricultural production with a minimization of losses from disease, contamination, and storage, but also availability of markets. The focus of the FIG will be on the complicated interactions between seemingly independent variables. Students will come to a better understanding of the interconnections that shape food availability, and will develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills required for finding answers to biology-related questions:

  • What are the drivers of food “insecurity”?
  • What is the role of human population growth?
  • What are science-based solutions to food security issues?
  • How can domestic policies influence international outcomes?

Instead of a passive lecture course, “Global Food Security” is taught with integrated alternative approaches, such as situated learning activities, case studies, student-led group discussion and debate, and embedded writing assignments.  This course will also integrate content from the courses linked to this FIG.

Botany 123: “Plants, Parasites, and People” — An exploration of molecular, organismal, and environmental biology using examples related to plants and plant-associated microbes. Topics may include food production, evolution, biotechnology, climate change, plant disease control and other subjects, with attention to the science and to impacts on human health, prosperity, and the environment. Course is highly interactive with a fun weekly lab.

Chemistry 103: “General Chemistry I” — Introduction to stoichiometry and the mole concept; the behavior of gases, liquids, and solids; thermochemistry; electronic structure of atoms and chemical bonding; descriptive chemistry of selected elements and compounds; and intermolecular forces.