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Study and continuing education in Geography of Food

E-Learning

Curious about designing sustainable food value chains? In this exciting free online course of the Geography of Food Research Group you will learn what sustainability means in the context of our global food system. Besides that you will learn how food value chains need to be designed to foster the Agenda 2030 for sustainable Development of the United Nations.

Study - Bachelor

The Geography of Food Research Group leads the following UNR Bachelor modules:

Global Food Systems

How will we feed the world of the future? This module provides students with an opportunity to discuss current and future problems and solutions relating to global food systems and resource availability in the context of environmental, commercial and consumer considerations. E-learning modules and face-to-face sessions are used to develop an awareness of the global connection between our food and the environment, economy and politics, and students complete a practical assignment in order to acquire impact assessment skills within a logical framework approach.

 

 

Eco-Balance Sheets and Label Management (minor)

This module builds on knowledge from previous minors with a view to enabling students to understand, question and put into practice methods for communicating sustainability outcomes. The use of  eco-balance sheets or labels makes it possible to manifest the real-life importance of sustainability, and the module draws on contributions from experts in the fields of industry, science and politics in order to demonstrate the opportunities and limitations of measuring, assessing and communicating sustainability.

 

 

Module Consulting

In an increasingly complex world, the demand for professional support and advice is increasing. Be it professional advice, for example in the areas of energy or nature management, or process-oriented support, for example in conflict mediation. In this module, you will learn selected consulting methods and instruments and practice them in class. A central component of the module is the concrete technical consultation of an organisation (company, association, etc.), from the acquisition of the consulting order to the consulting offer.


After completing the module, you will have basic knowledge and initial consulting experience.

Module Designing Sustainable Food Systems

Our current food system is not able to feed the world's population sustainably. Tackling environmental pollution and soil degradation as well as ensuring efficient distribution of food, avoidance of food waste, and fair trade relations are among the most urgent challenges for mankind. In this context, how can food value chains be designed to contribute to solving these problems?

This module consists of two parts. The first is an eLearning course that provides insights into the sustainability of the global food system, the role of food value chains, and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the second part, students analyse an existing food value chain, locate sustainability hotspots, and outline possible strategies to meet these challenges.

Bachelor’s theses 2016 - 2019

Study - Master

Module Agrofoodsystem and Chains

This specialisation is focused in issues of great social relevance: What form must agricultural production and the food production supply chain take in the future in order to safeguard the food supply of the population, without destroying their own production bases? Methods and procedures are needed that enable a shift towards productive, sustainable and simultaneously more resource efficient agriculture. In addition to examining solutions, the Agrofood Systems specialisation involves studying and researching related socio-economic conditions and developments.

Summer School Geography of Food

During the 10-day "Geography of Food" summer school, you will work intensively on the topic of sustainability in the food value chain: from production to consumption of food. 30 students from all over the world can participate in the intensive program. The Summer School takes place alternately in Switzerland, India and Slovenia. Acquiring specialist know-how is just as important as intercultural dialogue.

Module Environmental economics

Since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992, many other conferences have taken place. Measures have been and will be taken, but we are no closer to our goal. On the contrary: existential ecological burdens continue to increase, resource shortages and conflicts are intensifying. In addition, there are far-reaching global shifts both economically and politically. These challenges cannot be overcome with conventional measures and strategies. Theses of this module: The central driver of social development is the economy. Strategies and initiatives with a sustainability impact must start here. The economy itself needs fundamental reform and development. For this you have to know something about economy! On the basis of basic economic knowledge, the central economic mechanisms of action, system connections and drivers of current unsustainable development are analysed and the most important starting points for sustainable management are discussed. Selected concepts of ecological economics, environmental and resource economics and development economics are used.

Topics for Master's thesis

Master's thesis

  • Hoinkes Carla (2018): How do consumers deal with sustainability issues in chocolate products?
  • Schwab Sereina (2017): Nischenproduktion und Diversifizierung – Chance für die Schweizer Landwirtschaft?
  • König Alex (2015): Environmental Hotspots and the Potential of Clean Technologies in the South African Fruit Supply Chain
  • Stauffacher Sabine (2014): Enhanced Sustainability in the Coffee Value Chain: Opportunities and Challenges for Linking Smallholder South Indian Robusta Farmers to Small-Roasters in Switzerland

 

 

Continuing education

The Excellence in Food programme provides students with the specialist and interdisciplinary knowledge needed to respond to the complex problem facing the food industry. It promotes an understanding of the interrelationships and dependencies between the various industry players, and focuses on interfaces with adjacent sectors of the economy.