Food Security and Sustainability*

Instructor: Clare Sullivan

Spring 2017: April 6, 13, 20, 27 May 4 (5 sessions; Thursdays, 6:10-8:10 PM)

*This course falls within the Sustainable Food Systems Track


There is increasing concern about the sustainability of food production systems and the quality of the diets that they are producing. The second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” recognizes the close linkages between communities’ health and well-being, sustainable food production, and healthy ecosystems. The SDG agenda will guide development policy for the next fifteen years and has ambitious targets under SDG 2 for empowering smallholder farmers, promoting gender equality, ending rural poverty, ensuring healthy lifestyles, and increasing the resilience of agricultural systems to climate change. Yet these relationships are complex and both social and ecological trade-offs and synergies are still not well-understood. This course will cover the current state of policy, frameworks for assessment, and appropriate indicators for nutrition-sensitive sustainable agriculture.

Clare Sullivan is the Deputy Research Director at the Agriculture and Food Security Center at Columbia University. The Center’s mission is to analyze the tradeoffs and synergies between sustainable agricultural intensification, livelihoods, and ecosystem services—searching for options that minimize negative environmental effects while increasing yields and improving livelihoods. Clare led the development of integrated soil health indicators for Vital Signs Africa, a $10 million, two-year project funded by the Gates Foundation. She also founded an urban agriculture organization, Feedback Farms, and has worked on projects with the National Park Service in the US, the CGIAR system in the Peruvian Andes and Amazon Basin, and with the United Nations Environment Programme in Haiti. She has a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with a concentration in environmental science and policy.