Food and Sustainability
Online Certificate

A woman farming in an urban environment
Food and Sustainability Certificate Badge
Food and Sustainability Certificate Badge

“This course should be required for every human on the planet. The lectures are so well-crafted and packed with information while still being accessible to non-scientists like me.”

—Kimberly R., Course Graduate

For a Limited Time Only. 2 Sessions Left! Sign Up for August 4 or August 18.

Become a Food and Sustainability Expert

Food and Sustainability ties together timely and critically important issues related to the environmental impacts of food production, the effects on food justice, accessibility and international food systems, and the positive impact we can make every day with our food choices. You'll learn about important topics including:

  • The science behind a sustainable lifestyle
  • Understanding and mitigating food waste
  • The impact of global food production on the environment
  • New and sustainable approaches to agriculture
  • Community food systems and activism
  • Sustainable business practices
  • And much more

This course is a meaningful investment you can make right now—in yourself, your career, our communities, and the health of our growing world.



This first-of-its kind program was developed by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (CNS). CNS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to increasing awareness of the extraordinary impact that food has on the health of our bodies, our communities, and our planet.

  • Course Overview
  • LENGTH:

    6 weeks
  • EFFORT:

    5-7 hrs/week
  • FORMAT:

    Instructor-led
  • ACCESS:

    24/7 online
  • PREREQUISITES:

    PREREQS:

    None
  • SCHEDULE:

    Self-paced
  • Learn more about our program

Whether you are intrigued by sustainable agriculture and potential careers in this field, seeking to deepen your understanding of the role of food systems in public health and global environmental change, or you simply want to learn more about where our food comes from, this program will provide you with an invaluable experience and education.

Whether you are intrigued by sustainable agriculture and potential careers in this field, seeking to deepen your understanding of the role of food systems in public health and global environmental change, or you simply want to learn more about where our food comes from, this program will provide you with an invaluable experience and education.

Over 15 nutrition, policy, public health, and environmental thought leaders will guide you through the main sectors of the food system—farming, economic, social, and environmental—and highlight the many interconnections between them. A few of the incredible thought leaders from the program:

T. Colin Campbell, PhD
T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Dr. Campbell is a Cornell University Professor Emeritus and world-renowned Nutritional Biochemist. He is a bestselling author of multiple books, including co-authoring The China Study. Several documentary films feature Dr. Campbell and his research, including the highly acclaimed Forks Over Knives.

Drew Harvell, PhD
Drew Harvell, PhD

Dr. Harvell is a professor at Cornell University. Her research on the hygiene subsidies of marine ecosystems and damage of marine plastics has taken her from the reefs of Mexico, Indonesia, and Hawaii to the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest and resulted in over 170 academic articles in journals such as Science, Nature, and Ecology.

Raj Patel, PhD
Raj Patel, PhD

Dr. Patel is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and academic. He has testified about the causes of the global food crisis to the US House Financial Services Committee and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems.

Malik Yakini
Malik Yakini

Mr. Yakini is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a seven-acre farm in Detroit. He served as Food and Community Fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy from 2011-2013 and was a Business Alliance for Living Local Economies (BALLE) Localist Fellow from 2014-2015.

Bruce Monger, PhD
Bruce Monger, PhD

Dr. Monger is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. His research involves the use of satellite remote sensing methods to study environmental controls of ocean primary production at global scales. Dr. Monger received his BA from the University of Washington and his PhD from the University of Hawaii. He currently serves as a member of NASA's Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Science Team.

Emelie Peine, PhD
Emelie Peine, PhD

Dr. Peine is Associate Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She earned her bachelor's degree from The Evergreen State College and her Master's of Science and PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University.

Alizé Carrère, MSc
Alizé Carrère, MSc

Ms. Carrère is a National Geographic Explorer, filmmaker, and environmental anthropologist researching and documenting human adaptations to environmental change. Alizé is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Miami in Environmental Anthropology.

Jill Edwards, MS, CEP
Jill Edwards, MS, CEP

Ms. Edwards is the Director of Education for the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. She received her BA in Education from the University of Michigan and MS in Exercise Science from Oakland University.

Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD
Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD

Dr. Gurian-Sherman is a consultant on agriculture with Strategic Expansion and Training, LLC, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He advises civil society coalitions, organizations, and others in the United States and internationally on issues of climate change and agriculture, pesticide alternatives, and genetic engineering. He holds PhD and MS degrees in plant pathology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BS in natural resources from the University of Michigan.

Dan Imhoff, MA
Dan Imhoff, MA

Mr. Imhoff has written for more than 25 years on topics related to ecological sustainability. Dan is the president and co-founder of Watershed Media as well as president and a co-founder of the Wild Farm Alliance, a national organization that works to promote agriculture systems that support and accommodate wild nature. He holds an MA in international relations from Syracuse University and a BA in international relations from Allegheny College.

Peter Lehner, Esq
Peter Lehner, Esq

Mr. Lehner is Managing Attorney of Earthjustice's Sustainable Food & Farming Program, developing strategies to promote a more environmentally sound agricultural system and to reduce health, environmental, and climate harms from production of our food. Peter holds an AB in philosophy and mathematics from Harvard College and is an honors graduate of Columbia University Law School.

David Montgomery, PhD
David Montgomery, PhD

Dr. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide variety of TV and radio programs, including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered.

Claire O'Connor, JD
Claire O'Connor, JD

Dr. O'Connor is the Director of the Water & Agriculture, Water Division, Nature Program at the The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She focuses on the crucial relationship between water and agriculture, emphasizing solutions to water-resource challenges that will benefit both farmers and their non-farming neighbors. O'Connor is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Georgetown University Law Center.

David Simon, Esq
David Simon, Esq

Mr. Simon is the author of Meatonomics and a vegan lawyer, animal activist, and advocate for sustainable consumption. He serves on the advisory council of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and on the boards of Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) and the APRL Fund. Dave received his BA from UC Berkeley and his JD from the University of Southern California.

Tristram Stuart
Tristram Stuart

Mr. Stuart is an international award-winning author, speaker, campaigner, and expert on the environmental and social impacts of food. He is an Ashoka Fellow, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

Food and Sustainability Certificate Badge

Click the topics below for a comprehensive look at the Food & Sustainability certificate program.

Food and Sustainability Certificate Badge
This three-course, six-week certificate program will present you an overview of the main sectors of the food system: farming, economic, social, and environmental. Industry experts and academic thought-leaders will guide you through these sectors and highlight the many interconnections between them. You will learn the challenges global food production faces and its impact on natural ecosystems; how domestic and international policy play a role; how innovative individuals and organizations are transforming the food system by prioritizing sustainable practices; and more.
Course Modules
  1. Impact of Food Production on Climate Change
    Learn what climate change is and how food choices make a difference. You will be introduced to the food system: a vast web of processes and conditions that allow for food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and more.
  2. Industrial Agriculture
    This module focuses on the farming and environmental sectors of the food system. You will survey the most important features of industrial agriculture and learn about their environmental consequences.
  3. Land and Water Use
    Look at the use and management of soil and water resources. By the end, you will have a deeper appreciation of their critical importance.
  4. Oceans, Streams, and Waterways
    This module will take you deep into the oceans, streams, and waterways of the world. You will learn how the health of the planet is intimately tied to their health.
  5. The Sustainable Path Forward
    Use what you have learned so far to create a working definition of sustainability. You will examine population and food consumption trends, and think about the ways in which you can personally and collectively address the challenges presented in the previous modules.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Learn the science behind sustainable food choices
  • Analyze the ecological impact of industrial agriculture
  • Explore alternatives to our current food production system
  • Reflect on how personal food choices impact our environment
Course Assignments:
  • Five activities
  • Three projects
  • Two quizzes
  • Two discussions
Course Modules
  1. Rise of the Industrial Food System
    Learn about the historical roots of food policy in the US today and the landmark events and policy decisions that define our current food system.
  2. American Food Policy
    In this module, you will explore how current food policy impacts food production and consumption in the United States, with a special focus on the Farm Bill and governmental regulatory agencies such as the USDA, the FDA, and the EPA. You will learn how each of these agencies operate within the food system.
  3. Understanding and Mitigating Food Waste
    Learn why food waste is one of the most important and widely discussed challenges within the food system. Understanding where waste comes from will empower you to consume more sustainably and advocate for a less wasteful system.
  4. The True Costs of Food
    Look into the health, environmental, and social consequences embedded in the journey of food from farm to consumer. By shining a light on inefficiencies in the food system, this module will help you transition toward more sustainable purchasing practices.
  5. Food Accessibility and Food Justice in the US
    Understand social challenges within the food system. Despite increased food production, there is still a lack of healthy, affordable food in low-income communities and communities of color, as well as varying disparities in rural localities compared with urban ones. You will explore how this came to be, as well as some of the structural challenges that continue to limit food access.
  6. Globalized Food Systems
    Learn about global institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and their influence on the food system. You will also look at international aid policies and the role of the green revolution in exporting industrialized farming methods.
Learning Outcomes
  • Identify methods to reduce food waste in your home and community
  • Examine the impact of government and industry on your dietary choices
  • Recognize how food policy contributes to an unhealthy and inequitable system
  • Envision more socially just and equitable solutions for our communities
Course Assignments
  • Five activities
  • Two quizzes
  • Two discussions
Course Modules
  1. Approaching Agriculture Differently
    Learn about specific farming methods that are more sustainable, as well as their environmental, economic, and social rewards.
  2. Sustainability Change Makers
    This module profiles inspiring individuals and their respective organizations and highlights their transformations toward sustainable practices.
  3. Community Food Systems
    Learn about the resiliency of local communities that come together to address needs within the food system.
  4. Engaging Business Solutions
    Consider what sustainability means in the context of business, explore alternative business models, and learn about an inspiring for-profit business that is building long-term partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound.
  5. Taking Action
    The balance between local, regional, national, and global food systems is not a simple thing. There are intricate areas of overlap between these systems and countless ways to engage with them. Likewise, there is no single model for taking action. What we do have are a set of guiding principles. In this module, you will explore these principles, and options for applying them to your own life.
Learning Outcomes
  • Meet the people and organizations that are transforming food systems
  • Evaluate methods for sustainable farming solutions and food distribution
  • Explore sustainable entrepreneurship and alternative business models
  • Empower yourself and others to make choices for a more sustainable future
Course Assignments
  • Three activities
  • One project
  • Three discussions