Teaching Food Systems

Community of Practice


Many educators are working at universities on Food Systems curricula and courses. If you teach or want to teach about food systems using cross-disciplinary systems thinking at the graduate or undergraduate level, come join our community of practice (CoP)!

Initiated in 2016, this CoP convenes academics and practitioners focused on food systems education to share knowledge, create space for exchange, and problem-solve. We host events, gather at associated conferences, and are working to build an online collaborative network through a Listserv, a Google Group, and a shared Google folder for teaching materials.

The goals of the CoP are to: 

  • Support and grow a community of practice of people who are developing and implementing curricula in food systems courses
  • Develop, review, and share materials using systems-thinking frameworks to teach about food systems
  • Develop, review, and share assessment tools on student learning in systems thinking 


All events are sponsored by the Institute of Human Nutrition (IHN) in collaboration with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History. Events are open to educators at the graduate or undergraduate level who are interested in developing curricular materials to teach about food systems using cross-disciplinary systems of thinking. All materials developed, reviewed, and shared by the CoP are and will be available to the CoP once they are finalized. 

After two successful events in NYC in 2016 and 2017 and two gatherings of the CoP at the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) conference in Hawai’i in July 2018 and at the AFHVS/ASFS conference in Alaska in June 2019, we are planning to host our 3rd CoP gathering at Columbia University Medical Campus. This event will be a resource fair and networking opportunity for existing and new CoP members. 

Overview and Schedule of Past Events


Teaching Food Systems Community of Practice Teaching Workshop and Networking Event

  • Tuesday, June 2, 2020
  • At Columbia University Irving Medical Center Campus
  • Full details to come

Teaching Food Systems Community of Practice Workshop

  • Summer 2021, exact dates TBD
  • Two day gathering
  • At Columbia University
  • The format of this event will follow that of the 2016 and 2017 events. (See information on those past events below.) 


Shared Materials

The CoP maintains a shared Google folder hosting materials from past meetings and curricular elements; these are meant to be shared across the CoP.

We also have a Google group for intra-CoP communication about upcoming events, resources to suggest, etc. If you are not already a member and would like to be, contact Erin Betley (ebetley@amnh.org) or Sarah Bergren (sb3008@cumc.columbia.edu) to request an invitation. We encourage CoP members to use this group as a resource to maintain momentum for our active community in between our gatherings.

CoP Organizers

Sharon Akabas, PhD, and Sarah Bergren, MS, Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University

Eleanor Sterling PhD, and Erin Betley MA, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History.


Email teachfoodsystems@gmail.com with inquiries.

Information on Past CoP Meetings

CoP Workshop Background and Overview

2016 and 2017 Meeting Videos