Natural Food Industry

Instructor Name: 
Pedro Ferbel-Azcarate
Course Description: 

Natural Food Industry and Cooperative Business Model  This Capstone investigates sustainable food systems from producer to consumer, with a focus on the business practices of food cooperatives. We will work with our community partner People's Food Cooperative on projects related to health and nutrition, farmers markets, local and equitable food distribution, food justice and ethical business practices.

Class Specific Learning Goals

  • Introduce students to the complexities and challenges of healthy communities, related to urban design, society and food issues.
  • Orient students to the particular history and culture of cooperative businesses and the natural food industry.
  • Provide students with ethnographic tools to successfully interact with individuals, groups and cultural landscapes, and be able to document and analyze their observations and communicate them to others.
  • Gain a cultural sensitivity to be able to work with and understand the experiences of a diverse community of people.
  • Learn environmental and social ethics related to sustainable agriculture, land use, and food issues.
  • Apply experiences into a final presentation which demonstrates strong communication skills, critical thinking and reflection.
  • Learn skills working with others, especially related to taking initiative and communicating in a direct and timely manner.
Project Description: 

Students will be working with our community partner, People's Food Cooperative, on various business related inquiries including financial analyses, marketing studies, and plans for short and long term growth. Students will organize into small working groups of 2-4 members based on their interests and expertise, and work toward specific project goals.  These teams will pursue work as a group during the term, and, together as a whole class, will produce a final group project at the end of the course. Each of the project teams will be using some communicative medium (video, power point, photos etc) toward the final project "product."