Programme Syllabus

Diet for a Green Planet - Managing Transformation in the Local Food System, 15 credits

Please note that changes might occur! Please click here to download the Syllabus in PDF. 

Programme Syllabus

Application period:

Code: 

Period of Validity: 1.5.2021-30.4.2022

Number of ECTS credits: 15 credits

Extent: 1 year

Teaching Language: English

Exam: Not a Degree Programme

Type: Öppna Yh

Group: 

Program Coordinator: 

Utbildningsenhet: Faculty of Bioeconomy

Tuition Fees: 

Note! Some teaching activities in the course may be modified due to the development of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Programme Objectives

The programme aims to provide a grounded understanding of the food system from farm to fork and how the food system is connected to climate change mitigation and eutrophication, support biodiversity, rural development, human health, and rural development.

Another aim is that the student should develop an ability to suggest feasible and relevant methods to promote a transformation towards a sustainable food system.

The program also aims to empower individuals who are active in the food system to become conscious actors through a holistic understanding of the food system. The student will also develop skills in leadership and interventions for enhanced sustainability that could be applied in professional work in public food, tender, catering, and restaurants. The student should acquire the competence necessary to take on the role of a change agent.

Structure of the Program
The program consists of three courses (5 credits each):

1) Understanding Sustainability in the Food System - from Global Vision to Local Reality.   (May until September 2021)

2) Interventions to support Healthy and Sustainable Food and to minimize Waste (September until December 2021)

3) Project Development - Managing Transformation in the Local Food System.
(January until April 2022)

Changes in program details can happen and literature may be added. This course includes live moments that students shall attend!

Course plan 1: Understanding sustainability in the food system from global vision to local reality, 5 credits

Code:

Extent: 5 credits

Course Coordinator: 

Lecturer: Hans von Essen, 

Teaching Language: English

Course Description: During the first course, we start with the overview of the global ecological challenge and bring it down to food catering practice. We make ourselves acquainted with differences in the food system and food culture of the countries of all participants. The course is focused on three key holistic concepts for supporting a sustainable food system: Diet for a Green Planet, Ecological Regenerative Agriculture, and Sustainable Food Societies.

We discuss the role of the food system for ecological sustainability, using global concepts such as Planetary Boundaries, Agenda 2030, the Baltic Sea Region Strategy, and Ecological Footprints. We connect the choice of ingredients in food catering practice with climate change, biodiversity loss, and eutrophication to and discuss how public catering can have a profound and positive impact on both human health and sustainability. 

And we bring the global overview into practical action in the kitchen by tracing the raw food products backwards through the chain to their origin, creating our own meal plans based on  locally produced seasonal food, and by getting to know the farms where the products originate.

Content of the Study Unit

 

  • Introduction to the concepts: Planetary Boundaries, Agenda 2030, Baltic Sea Region Strategy, and Ecological Footprints.
  • Introduction to the ecosystem on a farm - what makes it regenerative?
  • Introduction to the Building Ecological Regenerative Agriculture and Society (BERAS) concepts: Diet for a Green Planet, Ecological Regenerative Agriculture, and Sustainable Food Societies.
  • Tracing of food products from fork to farm 
  • Local food in season.
  • Visit to a farm and description of a farm in a systems perspective.

Learning Outcomes of the Study Unit 

By the end of the course, the students will:

  • Be familiar with the key concepts: Ecological Regenerative Agriculture, Sustainable Food Societies, Diet for a Green Planet, Planetary Boundaries, Agenda 2030, and Ecological Footprints. 
  • Have the competence to describe, exemplify, and reflect on local food in season.
  •  Have the competence to understand food products using the concept Diet for a Green Planet.
  • Have the competence to describe the ecological balances on a farm using the concept Ecological Regenerative Agriculture.

Teaching Activities


Lectures, individual assignments, literature studies, online meetings with group discussions, and written discussions in the learning platform Moodle. Study groups (national and based on interest) to support each other’s assignments and your development as change agents. 

Students need access to a computer or I-pad with internet connection, earphones, and a microphone. A web camera is desirable. 

Study Material

Books, articles, films, podcasts, and other study materials according to the lecturer’s instructions, suggested complimentary readings, and literature searches and readings needed to solve the assignments. Expected workload is 10 hours per week.

Examination 

Three individual assignments: 1) Tracing of a food product, 2) Local food in season, and 3) Farm description. Initiatives to group collaboration will be encouraged and awarded.

Course Literature

Diet for a Green Planet in Practice, Österman, T. (2013) (There is also a Swedish edition. Lithuanian, Polish, Spanish, Catalan and Russian versions are adapted to local conditions, have different recipes and many texts are adapted to national conditions and may be very different compared to the original).

  • www.dietforagreenplanet.se (resources for the course will be added to a BERAS library that is accessible through this web page)
  • Granstedt, A. (2012). Farming for the future: with a focus on the Baltic Sea region. Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, COMREC.
  • Andersen, L.R. & Björkman, T. (2019). The Nordic secret: a European story of beauty and freedom. Lidingö: Fri tanke.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites.

Assessment criteria: Pass / Fail 
For approval, active participation, completed tasks, active co-creation, and projects initiated by the student are counted towards the final grade.

 

Course plan 2: Interventions to Promote Healthy and Sustainable Food, and less Waste, 5 credits

Code: 

Extent: 5 credits

Course coordinator: 

Lecturer: Hans von Essen, 

Teaching Language: English

Course Description: In the second course, real life dilemmas in the work with sustainable food are discussed.  Humans may know very well what is good for health and the environment - and still act in a different way. In many situations group dynamics create behaviour that is obviously detrimental to the environment - and maybe at the same time to the health. Local or national assumptions may also put hinders in the way. In this course we tackle a number of real dilemmas to the background of a study of successful interventions. What made certain interventions successful?

We work with real life dilemmas and examples from the areas of promoting healthy food in an environment that poses a number of challenges: (a) abundance of white sugar, white flour, unhealthy additives and cheap food that may be contaminated with chemical residues, (b) keeping meat consumption at sustainable levels in an environment where environmentally problematic meat products are offered to a low price, and (c) minimising waste in an environment where local culture favours profusion and even waste.

We discuss different sources of protein: How can we phase out protein products with a highly negative impact on the environment and replace them with more sustainable alternatives? What methods do we use to handle the risks of backlash? How do we make beans, peas, blood, liver and other sustainable protein sources attractive?

We look at the whole food waste situation and reflect on waste in different parts of the food chain from field to fork, the difference between recycling and waste, the waste hierarchy and the real situation behind calculated numbers. 

We make ourselves familiar with different methodologies for interventions and students are challenged to describe and reflect on their workplace or home situation and on good practice examples. What makes a concrete good practice example successful and what is applicable or not in another situation? The Baltic Sea Region Strategy is used to search for good practice examples and to find ongoing interventions/programs to connect to and work together with.

When working with the local problems we make use of the Baltic Sea Region Strategy to find relevant good practice and transnational challenges connected to the local problems we are working with.

 Content of the Study Unit

 

  • Study visits including a farm, a food processor and a catering or large kitchen. 
  • The art of listening training
  • Assignments for a) healthy and environmentally sound food b) protein shift and (c) with minimizing waste.
  • The Baltic Sea Region Strategy will be consulted in the work with the assignments.

Learning Outcomes of the Study Unit

After the course the student will have:

  • An ability to suggest feasible and relevant methods/improvements to (a) promote a sustainable local food system (b) improve the healthiness, and impact on the environment, and (c) to reduce food waste.
  •  A better understanding of, and deepen your capacity for, listening and perspective-taking.

Teaching Activities

Lectures, individual assignments, course literature, and study groups (national and based on interest) to support each other’s assignments and personal development. 

Examination 

Three individual assignments: 1) Healthy and tasty food, 2) More vegetables and whole grains, and less meat, and 3) Less waste. 

Study material

  • Books, articles, films, podcasts, and other study materials according to the lecturer’s instructions.
  • Students need access to a computer or I-pad with internet connection, earphones, and a microphone. 

Course Literature

Prerequisites: No prerequisites.

Assessment Criteria: Pass /Fail 

For approval active participation, completed tasks, active co-creation, and initiatives are counted. 

Course plan 3: Project Development - Managing transformation in the Local Food System, 5 credits

Code: 

Extent: 5 credits

Course Coordinator: 

Lecturer: Hans von Essen, 

Teaching Language: English

Course Description: The third and final course is aimed at planning and presenting a feasible real transformation in the local food system for increased sustainability. This will be done by seeking an exam project that harmonizes with the student’s personal motivation and driving forces, the organization's readiness, and stakeholders needs. The project also needs to consider relevant levels - local, regional, national, interregional (Baltic Sea Region) and global.

The celebration of the exams shall be seen as a part of the whole. Celebration of success is an integral part of transformation work.

 Content of the Study Unit

  • Leadership exercises to deepen self-awareness and listening skills
  • The exam project defines the whole third course. A template is offered as a guidance. The project is a transformation that the student has a real drive to accomplish and it is a real-life issue in the students' workplace. The studies are arranged to support the work preparing the transformation. 
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Deep listening and constructive feedback. 

Learning outcomes of the study unit

After the course the student will have:

  • The capacity to move from observation and reflection to action and to develop a feasible project plan for implementing actions that further sustainability in the local food system. 
  • The ability to listen deeply and reflect on one’s own role, including room for action, as a change agent in the local community and (global) society, and be able to reflect on one’s own driving forces in relation to a sustainable leadership.
  • Reflect over one's own organisation, in relation to its ability to move to action.

Teaching Activities

Online lectures and group discussions, videos, project work. During the formation of the exam project different forms of support and feedback is offered - depending on the specific needs.

Finally after the project is formulated, and communication skills are trained before the exam presentation. The students are encouraged to give constructive feedback to the project and the presentation. Virtual studies via Moodle, peer interviews, self-assessment, tasks in Moodle that stepwise build the project, written project plan, oral presentation, peer support

Examination

Written project plan and oral presentation of the exam project. 

Course Literature

  • Short texts are given that pinpoint the essentials. 
  • Otto Scharmer, Four levels of listening https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLfXpRkVZaI 
  • European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) and relevant national, regional and local strategies for implementation of EUSBSR and Agenda 2030

Prerequisites: No prerequisites.

Assessment criteria: Pass /Fail 

Approval is assessed by completed project work and live presentation. Active co-creation, participation and initiatives are also counted.