Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

STEP: Food Systems

Food systems entail all of the actions that take place and materials used in order to feed us.  This includes the processes and materials involved in growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, preparing, consuming, and disposing of our food.  The food system is enormous, complex, and integrally related to a host of environmental and social challenges including pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, fair trade, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and hunger.

Solutions to Environmental Problems: Food Systems is a course with multi-disciplinary lectures, readings and discussions, laboratory work, field trips and student group projects.  The student-led projects are hands-on and offer real-world experiences that establish workable solutions to the problems in our food systems that can become institutional programs at Loyola.

Student Projects

  • Farmers Market Business Plan which led to the launching of the Loyola Farmers Market in 2011
  • Investigated best sustainable farming techniques and operations which were implemented on the Loyola Student Farm at Loyola's Retreat and Ecology Campus
  • Explored and identified the need for an apiary to be part of Loyola's educational food system programs
  • Campus food production plan which resulted in the Urban Agriculture Demonstration Gardens that donates fresh, healthy food to those in need
  • Mobilized and coordinated students to create a new student group, the Growers Guild
  • Created an edible landscaping plan and mapped existing and newly planted edible flora (cultivars and native)

The Food Systems course is offered in rotation to STEP Water and Biodiesel.