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Food for Thought

New course helps incoming students examine the long-term impact of how we eat.

NC State’s newest course offering to incoming students was a collaboration from more than 30 professors across campus. “The Future of Food” is the third in a series called “Wicked Problems, Wolfpack Solutions” launched in the summer of 2020 as a way to help keep students engaged over the summer as well as get used to learning online.

“We wanted the students to see the value of being interdisciplinary and to see how diverse a common topic like food can be,” says Jason Flores, assistant professor of biological sciences. Flores helped design the course along with DELTA, the unit that supports online education at NC State.

The course covers five units, ranging from the history of eating in America to sustainability. Lecturers included James Holland, professor of crop and soil science, on the history of maize; Francis L. de los Reyes III, professor of civil engineering, on human waste; Kofi Boone, professor of landscape architecture, on reimagining local landscapes; and Mary Haskett, professor of psychology, on food insecurity at NC State.

Any incoming student could take the Future of Food online over the summer and get two free credit hours. The course was offered again in December for incoming students.

“We were not worried about the students coming away with a particular piece of information, but more an understanding of how to address big problems,” Flores says. “There are so many of them. It can be overwhelming for students who are 18 years old. They’re seeing that it takes a village to solve problems.”

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