Undergraduates

Courses in Yale College

Some 40 courses which use food and agriculture as organizing principles are offered regularly at Yale. Our newsletter highlights these courses on a semesterly basis. You can find a comprehensive list of relevant courses at the link below.

Yale College Seminar: Approaches to Sustainable Food and Agriculture

Taught each Spring semester for the past four years, YSFP Director Mark Bomford offers an intermediate course in the study of food systems.

This course offers an intermediate exploration of a range of current global food systems concepts and controversies via constructive and critical analyses of three alternative ideological and technical approaches to “feeding the world”: (1) organic agriculture, (2) local food and urban agriculture, and (3) food justice/sovereignty. Each approach is treated as a 3–4 week module, drawing from a range of different analytical frameworks, and each is linked in turn to opportunities for further study and experiential learning at Yale.

The seminar approaches food studies in an instrumental way: agri-food problems and cases are used as a way to apply, enhance and link the understanding of a range of established disciplinary frames at Yale. Examples of some of the questions posed in this course are:

  • Can organic agriculture “feed the world?”
  • How desirable is it to localize food production?
  • What can we learn from contemporary and historic examples?
  • What contribution might high-throughput urban agriculture make to our future food security? What about vertical farms or aquaponics?
  • What policy reforms are of greatest priority in food systems, and what strategies might be most effective in accomplishing them?
  • Amidst changing global patterns of food provisioning and consumption, which people and places emerge as winners or losers?

Yale College students use questions like these to frame their final projects, which take a number of forms — most recently students submitted research papers, well-researched podcasts, multimedia experiences, and a critically-analyzed restaurant pop-up as ways to probe food systems.

Melon Forum

Based on the “Mellon Forum” event held in the residential colleges, the Melon Forum is a space in which students share their senior essays in food and agriculture in the company of scholars. Originally conceived of as an academic symposium in which students shared works related to agri-food systems, the Melon Forum has since evolved into a highly-anticipated events by students and faculty of all stripes.

Now in its fifth iteration, the Forum receives the generous support of Hallie Meyer ‘15 and Emma Schmidt ‘15, whose catering company, The Northern Greening, was a staple at YSFP events. Upon their graduation, they donated their profits and raised funds at May 2015 dinner to ensure that the opportunity for fourth-year students to share their theses would endure.