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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Introductory

Unit aim

Provides a sociological and ecological outlook of the food system in examining the what, the why and how we eat. It considers the interconnections between food production, its consumption and food sustainability through historical, sociocultural, economic, political, philosophical, technological and environmental perspectives. A range of issues related to the current food system, its potential to impact human health, and the future of food are critically explored.

Unit content

What's on the Menu

Topic 1:  Why study food ecology through a ‘food systems’ landscape?
Topic 2:  What, why and how we eat: Historical influences
Topic 3:  What, why and how we eat: Sociological influences
Topic 4:  The food system: Introduction and contemporary challenges

  • Food security
  • Nutrition in global transition
  • Resources for food production
  • Global food crisis

Topic 5:  From paddock to plate and beyond:

  • The business of food
  • Food production systems
  • Food processing industries
  • Power of agribusiness and supermarkets
  • Food trade
  • Food waste
  • Environmental impacts

Topic 6:  The future of food: Alternative solutions to contemporary mainstream practices
Topic 7:  Industrialisation of food: Transformations of the food supply
Topic 8:  Industrialisation of food: Transition to a third food regime
Topic 9:  The food system and its influence on consumption and human and environmental health
Topic 10: How to conduct a literature search and be a critical reader

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: Intellectual rigour, GA2: Creativity, GA3: Ethical practice, GA4: Knowledge of a discipline, GA5: Lifelong learning, GA6: Communication and social skills, GA7: Cultural competence
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 Describe the historical relationship between the food system, from the Hunter-gatherers to modern day, and the evolution of the human food supply. Knowledge of a discipline
2 Explain personal, sociological (e.g. sociocultural, political, economic, philosophical) and environmental factors that influence food consumption, diet and lifestyle. Knowledge of a discipline Communication and social skills
3 Describe the food system in terms of its complexity and the contemporary challenges it faces. Knowledge of a discipline
4 Discuss the relationship between food production, its distribution and supply, and the environmental, technological, economic, political and sociological landscapes. Knowledge of a discipline
5 Discuss how aspects of the food system (e.g. food processing, retailing, mass media, food policy) have the potential to influence food consumption and human health. Intellectual rigour Knowledge of a discipline Lifelong learning Communication and social skills
6 Discuss the future of food in the context of the food system. Knowledge of a discipline
7 Conduct a search of credible information sources, and to critically interpret, synthesise and communicate this information in writing and as an oral presentation. Lifelong learning Communication and social skills

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the historical relationship between the food system, from the Hunter-gatherers to modern day, and the evolution of the human food supply.
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  2. Explain personal, sociological (e.g. sociocultural, political, economic, philosophical) and environmental factors that influence food consumption, diet and lifestyle.
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
    • GA6: Communication and social skills
  3. Describe the food system in terms of its complexity and the contemporary challenges it faces.
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  4. Discuss the relationship between food production, its distribution and supply, and the environmental, technological, economic, political and sociological landscapes.
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  5. Discuss how aspects of the food system (e.g. food processing, retailing, mass media, food policy) have the potential to influence food consumption and human health.
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
    • GA6: Communication and social skills
  6. Discuss the future of food in the context of the food system.
    • GA4: Knowledge of a discipline
  7. Conduct a search of credible information sources, and to critically interpret, synthesise and communicate this information in writing and as an oral presentation.
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
    • GA6: Communication and social skills

Prescribed texts

  • This texbook is also available online, but can only be read on screen, from: http://issuu.com/myriadeditions/docs/atlas_of_food2_08 : Millstone, E & Lang, T, 2008, The atlas of food, 2nd edn, Myriad Editions, UK. ISBN: 978-1-84407-499-0.
  • This textbook is also available online and can be downloaded from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737422319: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012, Australia's food and nutrition 2012, Cat. No. PHE 163, AIHW, Canberra. ISBN: 978-1-74249-323-7.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.