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UMD’s Continuing Education Launches Sustainable Food Systems Certificate.

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Clare Hintz, owner of Elsewhere Farm, assisted Continuing Education in developing the Sustainable Food Systems certificate. She holds a M.S. in agroecology and is working on a doctorate in regenerative agriculture.

Increasingly, Americans want to know more about where their food comes from, whether it is safe and nutritious to eat, and whether the methods for producing the food are sustainable.

UMD’s Continuing Education (CE) has launched the Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) certificate, a unique online noncredit educational offering. The certificate is designed for people who want to learn more about the major issues surrounding today’s food systems and what is needed to create sustainable food systems for the future.

Roxanne Richards, CE program associate, believes it will prove invaluable to individuals in a variety of professions. “This certificate is ideal for anyone interested in sustainable food practices and who work in the food, nutrition, and agriculture sectors,” she said.

The SFS certificate was created with input from northeast Minnesota community members interested in food systems, along with several UMD faculty, students, and staff who participated in surveys and focus group discussions over the past year. “We drew valuable expertise from people who work at various points within a food system; from food producers such as CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] farmers and the Duluth Community Garden Program, to food distributors and service providers such as Upper Lakes Foods and St. Luke's Hospital, to retailers such as Duluth Whole Food Co-ops,” Richards said.

The SFS certificate program consists of five 10-hour, online courses and is designed to be flexible. Participants can take the entire program or can take just a select number of modules that interest them. The modules are Introduction to Local and Global Food Systems; Sustainable Farming and Urban Agriculture; Between Farm and Table; Food Justice; and Food Systems Policy and Trends.

In order to increase its flexibility, the program has no formal start or end dates. “Individuals may enroll and begin their studies at any time,” Richards said. “And, because it is self-paced, participants can learn at their own speed.”

For more information and to register for the Studies in Sustainable Food Systems Certificate, visit the Continuing Education website.

About UMD's Continuing Education
CE has a long and successful history of innovative continuing education programs and certificates developed in collaboration with an array of colleges and departments. Certificate programs include American Sign Language, Geographic Information Science, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum, and Studies in Gambling Addiction: Counseling the Pathological Gambler. Certificate programs provide a stepping-stone toward a baccalaureate or graduate degree, valuable preparation for employment opportunities and advancement, as well as a wide range of educational options for advancing lifelong learning.

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, May 2012

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