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A Nutritional Approach to Agriculture and Food Security

Develop skills to apply and evaluate innovative solutions that place nutrition at the heart of a sustainable food system.

2,321 enrolled on this course

A Nutritional Approach to Agriculture and Food Security

2,321 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Modern agriculture and global food systems have become very complex and do not always provide people with affordable and nutritious food. This course presents current research, which aims to place nutrition at the heart of the food system. With a focus on the Global South, you’ll learn about the components of the food system and their link to nutrition and acquire the skills to implement and evaluate nutrition-sensitive interventions.

Discover nutrition-sensitive food systems and develop nutrition skills

To uncover the benefits of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, you need to understand key concepts in agriculture, food and nutrition research and learn about the role of crops and livestock in a healthy and sustainable diet.

You’ll also acquire nutrition-specific skills used to evaluate food and diets and apply them in course activities. This will help you to design and assess nutrition-sensitive interventions. You’ll then examine research-led material on bio-fortification and other innovative food processing methods to understand how to diversify food production and improve the nutritional value of foods.

Discover how to place nutrition at the heart of the food system

As you conceptualise nutrition in relation to food systems, you’ll evaluate the consequences of nutrition-sensitive interventions and policies on socioeconomic and environmental aspects. You’ll also explore the role of different stakeholders and understand the crucial role of women in driving improvements in nutrition outcomes in households and communities.

Learn from the experts at the University of Leeds

This course is based on research led by experts in agriculture, nutrition and environmental sciences from the University of Leeds, the University of Pretoria and FARNPAN.

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  • Week 1

    What is a nutrition-sensitive food system?

    • Welcome to the course

      Before you get started, take some time to meet your Lead Educator, Caroline Orfila, who will guide you through the course. You will also have the opportunity to meet other learners and plan your learning journey.

    • Understanding nutrition-sensitive agriculture in the context of Sustainable Development Goals

      In this activity, you’ll explore the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how they relate to nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems. You’ll begin to consider the role of women, and develop nutrition skills and knowledge.

    • The role of crops in nutrition-sensitive agriculture: towards a healthy sustainable diet

      In this activity, you will explore the role that crops play in a healthy and sustainable diet. You’ll look at how to diversify agricultural production, biofortification, genetic modification, food processing and plant diversity.

    • Animal production for a healthy and sustainable diet

      In this activity, you will explore how animal production can be part of a healthy and sustainable diet. You'll learn about aquaculture, insect production and consumption, and current technological innovations in animal production.

    • Summary

      You have now reached the end of Week 1 of A Nutritional Approach to Agriculture and Food Security. In this activity, you’ll look at a summary of the main enablers and barriers to achieving a nutritious diet.

  • Week 2

    Exploring nutrition-sensitive food systems

    • About Week 2

      This week, you’ll learn about the evolving food system. You’ll think more deeply about women’s roles, explore the drivers of food choice, and consider the impacts and evaluation of nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions.

    • How to design a nutrition-sensitive food system

      This activity will introduce the concept of an evolving food system. You will explore systems thinking, including the processes of system design and evaluation.

    • Food-based dietary guidelines and food choice

      This activity will introduce you to food-based dietary guidelines as simple tools to promote healthy eating. You will also develop an understanding of food choice and consider interventions that could lead to change.

    • How to assess the broader impacts of nutrition-sensitive agriculture

      In this activity, you will explore the potential impacts of nutrition-sensitive interventions, and consider how some of these impacts can be assessed. Finally, you will have the chance to design your own intervention.

    • Summary

      This week, you’ve explored the food system and women’s role in it. You’ve also looked at the potential impacts of nutrition-sensitive interventions and how they can be evaluated. You will now review and reflect on your learning.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

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...

  • Conceptualise nutrition in relation to the rest of the food system
  • Evaluate nutrition-sensitive approaches and how these can increase food and nutrition security with a focus on the Global South
  • Develop skills in dietary assessment, food composition and measures of diet quality and diversity
  • Apply the evaluation skills needed to select and introduce nutrition-sensitive interventions relevant to your own field of work or study
  • Evaluate the consequences of nutrition-sensitive interventions and policies in respect of their social, economic, and environmental impacts.
  • Assess the role of women in promoting nutrition-sensitive interventions

Who is the course for?

This is a skills-focused course designed for individuals with an existing interest in nutrition, sustainability and diet, in a global context. Learners will also learn practical skills that would help them to apply and evaluate nutrition-sensitive interventions in their own field of interest.

Who will you learn with?

I am Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Nutrition at the University of Leeds in the UK. For more information visit: https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/food-nutrition/staff/7148/professor-caroline-orfila

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

University of Pretoria

The University was born from a vision to create a space for quality education and for new ideas to flourish. Over the course of its existence, and through different phases of political power and social change, UP has been resilient in its commitment to academic quality.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council logo

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


For the first two months. Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$99/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 24 Jun 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

T&Cs apply.

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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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