• Lancaster University

Global Food Security: Addressing the Challenge

How will we feed an extra two billion people by the middle of this century?

18,807 enrolled on this course

Lancaster University Global Food Security Course Image
  • Duration

    8 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

In this course, we introduce the issue of food security and explore some of the different ways in which it has been described both in research and in practice and consider key concerns for the future.

Our central concern is ‘How we will feed an extra two billion people by the middle of this century?’ Focussing both on UK agriculture and on food supply chains in other parts of the world, we will examine how food has shaped our environmental and social landscapes. We will see that, while everyone would agree that food security is ‘a good thing’, ideas about what it means in practice and how it should be achieved vary tremendously.

Proposed developments to address global food insecurity range from technological inventions in the efficacy of large-scale agriculture through social and cultural innovations in local food production and consumption. You’ll be exploring a number of topics that address many issues including:

  • Is food security really just about food?
  • Should we have concerns about health, social justice, environmental degradation and cultural diversity?
  • What is the role of technology and innovation in promoting food security?

And much more.

In the final week we explore the big picture by considering food systems and food chains as a whole. Using examples from some of the case studies that we’ve explored, we consider the relationships between production and consumption and question whether particular kinds of agriculture are linked to particular diets and patterns of consumption.

We will explore the role of the retailer and the consumer in more detail as we ask what it means to enjoy a safe, healthy, sustainable diet. We also consider the issue of food poverty and how this fits within the food security debate.

You can use the hashtag #FLfoodsecurity to join and contribute to Twitter conversations about this course.

Professor Bill Davies has written a blog post about the course in which he argues that we need a new “Green Revolution” if we’re going to feed the world’s growing population.

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What topics will you cover?

  • Is food security really just about food?
  • In working to develop increase food security should we have concerns about health, social justice, environmental degradation and cultural diversity?
  • From the local to the global: which scale of action is most appropriate?
  • What are the likely impacts of climate change on food production?
  • Can farmers successfully balance high productivity with appropriate environmental stewardship and can we produce more food while reducing essential inputs?
  • What is the role of technology and innovation in promoting food security?
  • Why do we waste so much food?
  • Is my food safe and is it good for me?
  • What are food systems and food chains?
  • What is food poverty?

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the broad spectrum of issues which contribute to food insecurity.
  • Explore both mainstream agricultural production and alternative food supply chains in different parts of the world to consider how enhanced food production can address the food security challenge.
  • Reflect on alternative ways in which we can increase peoples’ access to good quality and safe food in quantities that are adequate to ensure an active, healthy life style.
  • Investigate the ways in which food has shaped our environmental and social landscapes.

Who is the course for?

There are no requirements for this course except an interest in global food security

Who will you learn with?

Developed interest in food while working on the family farm. Now work on improvement and management of crops aimed at producing more food with less water and on UK food supply chain issues.

Who developed the course?

Lancaster University

Lancaster University is a collegiate university, with a global reputation as a centre for research, scholarship and teaching with an emphasis on employability.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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You can use the hashtag #FLfoodsecurity to talk about this course on social media.