Course code:



M - Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:

This course offers a broad introduction to food and farm policy in the United States. Food and farm policy encompasses laws, regulations, norms, decisions, and actions by governments and other institutions that influence food production, distribution, access, consumption, and recovery. This course focuses on the policy process and two major policy tools: the U.S. Farm Bill and U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The course begins with an overview of the evolution of food and farming technology in the United States. Students are then introduced to the concepts, institutions, and stakeholders that influence farm and food policy, and examine examples of some of the most salient contemporary issues. Topics covered include: food production and the environment; farm-based biodiversity conservation; international food and agricultural trade; food processing, manufacturing, and retail industries; food safety; dietary and nutrition guidelines; food labeling and advertising; food and biotechnology; food waste and recovery; food advocacy and activism; and food insecurity and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Through case studies and exercises students examine the policymaking process at the local, state, and federal level and learn to evaluate various policy options. Finally, the course compares and contrasts international perspectives on farm and food policies and programs. Students are evaluated based on participation in class discussions, a series of op-ed essays, in-class briefs and debates, and a policy recommendation report on the upcoming U.S. Farm Bill.


Must have taken at least one course in food systems, economics, or global politics.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.