Course Spotlight: Food Waste

Photograph by Kevin Van Aelst in Jonathan A. Foley’s article for Scientific American: “Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?”

Steven Finn will be teaching MET ML626 A1, Addressing Food Waste for a Sustainable Food System, during the Spring 2021 semester. Steven Finn is Vice President for Food Waste Prevention at Leanpath, Inc. and Co-founder and Managing Director for ResponsEcology, Inc.

Food waste is a hot topic but not a new one. Some wasted food is the sign of a healthy system—if there were exactly enough calories produced to meet each of our needs, there would be mass starvation, riots, and hoarding as we all scrambled to get our share. But by some estimates, food loss and waste account for nearly 40% of the food produced. How much wasted food is too much? At the same time this food is wasted, food insecurity is everywhere, even on BU’s campus. Is all wasted food “trash?” Need it be? Why is food wasted and where along the supply chain is it wasted? What are the ethics of donating surplus food/waste/trash of those who have too much to those who don’t have enough? This hybrid course explores the history, culture, rhetoric, and practicalities of wasted food, from farm, through fork, to gut (is overeating a form of food waste? What about wasting micronutrients by converting them to ultraprocessed foods?). Each week includes readings, discussion, application activity, and a guest lecture from a food system practitioner. Students will work together to develop practical solutions in a final project.

This 4-credit course will take place on Thursdays from 6:00 to 8:45 PM. The course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Non-degree students may also register. Please contact for more information.


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