Food and the city

Staff at Harper Adams University are launching a free, online course focusing on the sustainability of urban food systems

The course, “Food and the City”, is part of the Universities West Midlands collaborative Food-Smart City project, and is led by Harper Adams University, in partnership with Aston University, Birmingham City University, University College Birmingham, Coventry University, University of Warwick, and University of Wolverhampton.

Dr Michael Heasman, senior lecturer in Food Policy and Management at Harper Adams University, said: “As the world becomes more urban, how we feed cities, ensure a vibrant urban food chain and enable a sustainable food economy is becoming more critical.

“This short course aims to help address these challenges through providing learning and educational tools and resources that will help students, and in turn people throughout the region, to become more engaged in local and sustainable food issues.”

The course begins on June 2nd, 2014 and two lessons will be released via the website every week for six weeks. Students can enrol via the website and will receive a certificate of completion if they finish all 12 lessons.

“The course will be beneficial to a wide range of people with either a professional or personal interest in food, public health and nutrition, among others,” said Dr Heasman. “We aim to provide a holistic grounding in what is a complex area that is rising fast up many public and business agendas. We hope individuals involved in food projects, sustainability issues or looking to expand their studies in these areas will find the content both insightful and inspirational.”

The course has been supported by funding from Universities West Midlands, HEFCE and the Harper Adams Aspire Development Fund awarded to Dr Heasman and Dr Adrian Morley.

Dr Morley said: “The course is an exciting example of how universities can collaborate together around an issue of direct relevance to many stakeholders. We hope to use feedback from participants to further develop our activity in this area.

“The partner universities have contributed content under a creative commons agreement, so it’s a very exciting project to work on and I look forward to interacting with our first cohort of students this summer.”

To learn more about the course and enrol, visit

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