Course Schedule

Class 1, Jan. 27: Introductions and World Cafe

Class 2, Jan. 29: Community Building through World Cafe, Briefing on Projects, 

Read for this class: 2 Bittman NY Times op-ed articles; 2 chapters (Background readings from “Ingredients of the Food System” and the “History of Food”) from the Teaching the Food System, Center for a Livable Future, JHSPH. (Handouts provided, also available in Assigned Readings folder in our class google drive).

Watch in class: “The Story of Food” (available now on Course Introduction page)

Class 3, Feb. 3: Class visit from Hungry Harvest founder, Evan Lutz, and from Prof. Ed Orser, American Studies emeritus, UMBC, about the history of the Edmondson Village area

Read in preparation for this class:

FAO report on global food waste. You will find it in the google drive “Assigned Readings/for Feb. 3 class”

Ed Orser, “Flight to the Suburbs: Suburbanization and Racial Change on Baltimore’s West Side,” Ch. 10, The Baltimore Book (also in Feb. 3 class drive)

See also

Class 4, Feb. 5: Visit from community members and organizers of the “Village Farmers Market” set to open on June 6, 2015, and someone from the Baltimore Orchard Project.

Review in preparation for this class (in google drive, Assigned Readings/For Feb. 5 class):

Baltimore City Food Policy Task Force Report, especially pages 1-21; and the Baltimore Food Environment report (JHSPH Center for a Livable Future)

Watch: Baltimore Food Ecology Documentary, BFED, on the CLF website (, or on YouTube at

See also, and see what you find if you search for “Village Farmers Market” and Edmondson and Neighbors Without Borders.

Feb. 10: Sorting out and selecting our projects

Readings and other work: see google drive for Feb. 10 and review the project descriptions

Assignment DUE by 1 pm Feb. 10: After our two classes this week (Feb. 3 and 5),

When discerning where to put your energy this semester – and beyond — consider this paraphrase from Frederick Buechner who recommends that you aim for “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”   As noted, the current food system, while generating abundant calories for many, is also causing health, environmental and social harms that our projects are variously trying to address. In the light of what you’ve read, what you’ve heard from project leads and partners, and what you are already bringing to this space, reflect on where your values and interests connect with these projects? Can you identify the “deep hunger” (or harm or need) that is at play in the projects you are considering? Can you identify some “deep gladness” that would connect you to this work? Share your thoughts with us.

Post at

Feb. 12: Project selection process and Posting Share via World Cafe

Please record your preferences on the spreadsheet in our google drive, Creating Food System Justice Project Selection at

Feb. 17:  Snow day, liberal leave

We watched the Baltimore Food Ecology Documentary, by MICA and CLF and consulted on group project goals.

Feb. 19: Introduction to Permaculture (Dominic Costa)

Feb. 24: Continue with Introduction to Permaculture (approx. 45 minutes), and meet in groups to develop:

Project goals

Project tasks — with assignments

Semester timeline and deadlines

Budgetary needs and issues

Particular challenges

Develop and agree on 1-3 slides that can be shown on Thursday, Feb. 26 when each group will share with the full class what it discussed and developed during your group planning session on this day.


Feb. 26: Work for class today: 

1. Each of you should develop a proposal for your final individual project  (that will include or be closely connected to work that you’re doing on your group project). You will share your ideas in class and get feedback from your classmates.

2. Prior to class today, please post a response to this:

(how to post video:

First, read the following two articles that I’ve handed out and which are found in the class google drive folder “assigned readings/for week of Feb. 23”:  “Food Justice and Collective Food Relations” Whyte, K.P. Forthcoming. The Ethics of Food: An Introductory Textbook. Edited by Anne Barnhill, M. Budolfson and T. Dogger. Oxford University Press (not to be cited without permission from and “Place, work and civic agriculture: Common fields for cultivation.” Agriculture and Human Values 19: 217-224, 2002. Kluver Academic Publishers.

These articles are found at:

Then write a reflection in response to this:

One way to conceive of food system work is simply to remedy “broken things”:  the epidemic of diet-related disease, the lack of healthy food access in some communities, the degradation of soil and water from industrial agricultural practices, the poverty producing wages of food chain workers, etc., etc.  Another way to consider food system work is in light of the positive values and outcomes that you are inspired to help realize in the world.  This week I’m asking you to consider your projects in light of these articles by Whyte and DeLind and their arguments about food justice, collective food relations and the possibilities of fostering civic values through agriculture or other food growing or food-related projects.  [Note: When working with the terms “citizen” or “citizenship,” take into account both the more narrow and legalistic definition that speaks to the relationship between an individual and a nation-state — as in “US citizen” — and the broader notion of citizen as a person in relationship to a particular place and community.]  Here are some questions to prompt your reflections. You don’t have to answer all of them, just use any of them as fodder for your ponderings, (or you can take this reflection in your own direction as long as you bring your projects into conversation with these articles).  What meaning or value do you put on your project’s connection to a real place and “embodied work” (work that you literally put your body into)?  Is your group project connecting people to place? Is it connecting people to people as community members? Is it reinforcing roles of “consumer” or “producer” or “marketer”?  Does this matter to you? Do you see opportunities to nurture values of community, civic agency, environmentalism, mutual care and concern, commitment to democracy (what else?) in your work this semester? What values or principles do you seek to cultivate as you undertake your project work this semester?

3. In class you will meet in your project groups and review with one another your responses to this prompt.  We’ll have groups share back with the whole class.

4. Groups will also share 1-3 slides that presents information about project goals, tasks, division of labor, budgetary issues and timelines and deadlines and particular challenges.

March 3:

Visit from UMBC student working on “Just Food UMBC” campaign to increase dining service’s procurement of just, local and sustainably and humanely grown/raised food.

Update from the class’ Hungry Harvest team.

Announcements and updates from other members.

Introduction to Applied Learning initiative and the associated survey.

March 4: Extra Credit (20 pts.) for attending Nina Beth Cardin, 12-1 pm, The  Commons, room 331, TODAY

March 5: SNOW DAY

March 10


TO DO by today: Read all of your classmate’s posts from our most recent reflection prompt.  Return the ALE survey.  Come up with 1) a brief 1-2 line description of what you intend to do for you final project,  and 2) another brief statement of yourself for our wordpress site (you can decline to post this description if you want to for your privacy). (These are worth 10 points each.)


We will also spend most of our time today in our groups in project workshop time and group consideration of readings they need or want to do to inform and enable their work.

March 12:

We will share and give feedback on individual final project proposals.

Groups will spend time getting feedback on their projects and also confirm  the group reading to complete by Tuesday, March 31.


March 24 [Outside in the Garden]: 

Soil testing of the Food Forest site and replanting Earth Boxes in the UMBC Garden.

Readings for this week to further our understanding of soils, perennial food forests, and mushrooms:

1. excerpts from the Edible Forest Gardens (Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier)

2. the Mushroom Life Cycle

3. On Soil and Health, by Wendell Berry in “Bringing it To The Table” (collected essays)

These readings can be found in the course google drive, assigned readings/week of March23 folder, or via this link which should take you there.

March 26:

Groups: decide on your scope of work for March 26 through April 9, and one in depth reading that your group will do together.

Mushroom lecture/presentation by Dominic Costa and innoculation of logs and sauteed mushrooms in class or outside, depending on the weather


March 31: Group work

(and, possibly, time permitting, I will share some slides and history of my own background on this subject of food justice.)


April 1, EXTRA CREDIT: “Food Chains” movie, Skylight Lounge, 6:30-9 pm. This movie is about the situation of farmworkers in the US, with a focus on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida and labor organizing in the tomato industry in that state.

April 2: Possible field trip to see New Roots Gardens in Baltimore City.


April 7: Group work day in the Food Forest and other locations as needed.


April 9: Great Kids Farm visit or Group reports on their work and their group reading assignment.

Remaining classes will be devoted to group project work.

May 19: Final presentations on group and individual final projects.






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