Sustainable Food Systems BS/BA

Signature Courses
Transforming Community Food Systems
Climate Justice
Food Justice
Small-Scale Agriculture Production
The way learning is approached at Prescott College is so empowering. The trust and confidence the program placed in me, as a scholar, made me feel that much more confident in my own abilities to set my own course and direct my own process.

Food System perspectives are emerging to ensure our food security and wellbeing in the face of inequities, the profound impact of human-induced climate change, and increased pressure on natural resources and organisms. Food systems encompass all of the elements and activities associated with what we eat and what nourishes us: growing, harvesting, processing, distributing, marketing, consuming and waste. Students will learn how to produce food in their communities with an emphasis on localized, urban and suburban farming systems. Prescott College’s Sustainable Food Systems undergraduate degree program is grounded in the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations “10 Elements of Agroecology” because “...agroecology is the basis for evolving food systems that are equally strong in environmental, economic, social and agronomic dimensions.”

Students pursuing a degree in Sustainable Food Systems are well positioned to participate in most Accelerated Master’s degree programs at Prescott College (for ex., Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems, MBA in Sustainability Leadership, Social Justice and Community Organizing, and Resilient and Sustainable Communities). Graduates completing their degree in Sustainable Food Systems have a competitive advantage in careers associated with any aspect of the food system due to their systems-level knowledge and practical skills. In their professions, graduates may apply sustainable food system concepts to ensure community food sovereignty; to adapt agricultural systems to conserve and enhance ecosystems services; to find leverage points in policy and community planning practices; and to examine sustainable business practices from farm to table.

food-systems-fridayJoin us for our "Food Systems Friday" Webinar Series! Dr. Robin Currey welcomes guests from around the world to discuss topics spanning from COVID-19, resiliency, and food security to sustainable nutrition, and food justice. To register and access an archive of all episodes, click here.

Areas of Emphasis

Environmental Justice is a social movement, a legal framework, and a set of values grounded in the principle that all people, communities, and living beings have the right to equal environmental protection under the law and the right to live, work, learn, and play in communities that are safe, healthy, and supportive of healthy ecosystems. This track combines the study of relationships between communities and ecosystems with the study of theories and practices of sustainable community development and environmental and social justice movements, enabling students to understand and participate directly in environmental justice movements, policy engagement, planning, and development. 

Marine Studies at Prescott College has a strong focus on ecology of the marine environment (physical oceanography and marine ecology) and on the relationships between humans and the marine environment. Students graduating with a competence in Marine Studies should have a foundation in life sciences, physical sciences, human ecology, conservation, and resource management, as well as a broad scope of supporting courses in literature, politics, economics, and humanities. Direct field experience further establishes a student's understanding and respect for the power and vastness of the world's ocean. Most Marine Studies students follow one of two main paths:1) Marine ecology/field research/natural history or 2) Marine conservation/resource management/policy. Many Marine Studies courses take place at the Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies in Bahia Kino, Sonora, Mexico, on the coast of the Gulf of California. Marine Studies students are also encouraged to broaden their experience by participating in an EcoLeague exchange with either College of the Atlantic or Alaska Pacific University.

Students pursuing this emphasis explore both the theory and practice of EE, intertwined with empirical understandings from numerous observations, field experiences, and practicum opportunities. The Environmental Education emphasis is highly interdisciplinary and complementary as a breadth to students studying Education, Environmental Studies, Adventure Education, Social Justice, Sustainability, Human Development, Arts and Letters, Ecopsychology, and more.



  • Ecological Literacy Demonstrate the ability to analyze different components of a food system—origins, production, processing, distribution, preparation, consumption and waste—in order to assess biodiversity, ecological , economic and social sustainability.

  • Global & Cultural Literacy Understand global environmental, socio-economic and policy environments and how theories of power and social change can support just food systems.

  • Inquiry, Analysis & Synthesis Develop analytical capacities to understand agroecological systems (ecological+human systems), including global and regional differences.

  • Civic Engagement Apply professional tools and skills to support sustainable practices to further community development


A BA/BS degree in sustainable food systems equips students to continue their studies (for example, for MS in Sustainable Food Systems, or other further training and education) and for a number of occupations and professional pathways including:

  • Food System Development Coordinator

  • Food and Climate Advocate

  • Farm-to Institution Coordinator

  • Extension/Education & Outreach Coordinator

  • Registered Dietitian (Master’s degree needed)

  • Organic Certifier

  • Permaculture Designer

  • School/Community Garden Manager

  • Farm Manager 

  • Market Gardener

  • Teacher

  • Nutrition Educator

  • Agricultural Extension Agent

  • Food Service Director

  • Food Hub Manager

  • Local Food Procurement Specialist

  • Food Recovery Coordinator

  • Farm-to-Table Program Coordinator

  • Farm-to-School Program Coordinator 

  • Farmers’ Market Manager

  • Organic Advocacy Organization

  • Organic Materials Review Institute

  • Project Director, Non-Profit Organization 

  • Agricultural Business Management/Entrepreneurship 

  • Agricultural Research 

  • Agricultural Services and Support 

  • Policymaking  

  • Nonprofit Food and Nutrition Program Manager

  • Food Policy Coordinator

  • Climate Initiatives Program Officer

  • Youth Education Programmer

  • Urban Agriculture Coordinator

  • Food or Water Policy Researcher



Students interested in Sustainable Food Systems engage in classes that support them as they gain:

  • ecological literacy through studying diversity, synergies and efficiencies in agroecological systems;
  • global and cultural literacy by learning about human and social values and how those are expressed in culture and food traditions; and
  • the competence for applying their skills to co-create and share knowledge for community wellbeing.

Though course combinations are endless, students could earn a degree in Sustainable Food Systems with the following sample list of classes.  

Lower Division - The Starting Points

Small-Scale Agriculture Production
Climate Justice
Marine Studies
Soil Science
The Art & Science of Food Preservation  
Culture, Power & Societal Change
Explorations in Sustainable Community Development  
Multicultural Education & Social Justice
Fat Bodies - Stories of Grief & Transitions
People, Plants & Animals: Ethnoecology  

Upper Division - Developing a Deeper Mastery

Transforming Community Food Systems
Food Justice
The Living Soil: Concepts in Soil Science and Compost Ecology
Backyard Ecology
Marine Biology I: Diversity of Marine Life
Ecopsychology: Paradigms & Perspectives
Sustainable Business for Community Well-Being
Human Nutrition & Food Choice
Practical Research Methods
Environmental Politics  
Awakening Citizens to Community Engagement for Beneficial Change
Digital Storytelling: Giving People a Voice  

Sustainable Food Systems (BA/BS) Faculty
Robin Currey

Robin Currey

Full Faculty of Resilient Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Food Systems

Eleanor Tison

Eleanor Tison

Full Faculty of Undergraduate Programs

Wendy Sue Harper

Wendy Sue Harper

Associate Faculty of Sustainable Food Systems, Undergraduate Programs

Lorayne Meltzer

Lorayne Meltzer

Full Faculty of Undergraduate Programs

Mariana Altrichter

Mariana Altrichter

Full Faculty of Education, MEd, Undergraduate Programs

Lisa Trocchia Ph.D

Lisa Trocchia Ph.D

MSFS Program Coordinator & Faculty, MSFS Academic Advisor, Capstone Advisor

Sebastienne  Grant

Sebastienne Grant

Full Faculty of Critical Psychology, Undergraduate Programs