Feeding the Billions: Challenges and Innovation in Food and Water Security

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Feeding the Billions: Challenges and Innovation in Food and Water Security

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Sustainability, Global Health

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

    3
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4
  • Overview

    OVERVIEW
    There are 7 billion people to feed today, and this number is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050. This implies that more food is needed; more food means that more water is required for crop and livestock production. But how secure are our supplies of food and water? 

    More specifically, what are the differences among regions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia? What is the impact of climate change and what are the implications of current migration and urbanization trends for food, nutrition and water security? Agriculture is the biggest user of water on the globe, requiring large quantities of water for irrigation and production processes. How can food production be made more efficient, without compromising our water resources and the environment in general? Who are the key stakeholders in this domain and what is the role of the market in food production technologies and innovation?

    LEVEL
    Advanced Bachelor

    COURSE CONTENT
    In this course you examine a range of approaches towards food and water security, from international policy agreements to community-based activities. Theory is combined with practice in the lectures, the discussions and the excursions, with all providing concrete examples of how issues of food and water security are being analysed and addressed in various regions, at various levels and by various actors from science and society. 

    Food and water security is a major theme at VU Amsterdam, where it is embedded in the teaching and research work of the Centre for International Cooperation (CIS-VU) and the Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies, a joint initiative of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and the Athena Institute of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences (FALW).

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES
    At the end of this course you will:

    • Better understand food and water security, its context (local to global), major challenges, innovative solutions and policies.
    • Understand and can explain major concepts and theories in this field.
    • Be able to select and apply appropriate transdisciplinary approaches in food and water security research, including the use of data-collection, analysis and presentation tools.
    • Have acquired the computational skills needed to process relevant data, evaluate outputs and synthesize the overall outcome.
    • Possess the communication skills needed to participate in current debates in the field of food and water security.

    TEACHING METHODS
    Lectures, excursions, discussions, group work, videos

    TYPE OF ASSESSMENT
    Group poster, presentation and debate; one essay