Prepare yourself to be a leader in shaping a sustainable food future as the world contends with local and global challenges confronting our food systems.

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This immersive program will help you build the foundational interdisciplinary knowledge to become a leader in shaping the future of the food system. Examine varied strategies for addressing injustice and unsustainable food practices to develop an understanding of the broader theoretical arguments across a range of academic areas including economics, political science, public health, and environmental science. Explore the global foundations and local nuances of the modern global food system, using comparative and relational methods to examine the most effective development strategies for increasing food security, access, and justice among the most vulnerable food producers and consumers. Investigate how local communities work toward food sovereignty, as well as how income inequality—at local, national, and global scales—affects nutrition and health.

The certificate program will explore the prospects of currently prevailing agricultural models and what solutions they offer, as well as alternative models—including ecologically integrated methods and scales. It will emphasize the roles science, technology, and innovation will play in creating a more food secure world and how global climate change affects, and will continue to affect, local environments—creating new threats, weaknesses, and opportunities for shifting priorities and possibilities to empower local food producers to promote productivity and ecological health.


  • Explore the diversity of Ecuador’s agricultural centers.
  • Investigate agroecological farming practices responding to current challenges and reshaping our relationship with soils, seeds, water, and labor.
  • Examine how to increase efficiencies and reduce waste to develop sustainable food systems for rapidly growing urban populations.
  • Study how international trade and regulatory frameworks affect food production and distribution chains.

Syllabus coming soon

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Online Term Details

The four-week online course can be taken during either the summer or fall semester. The class content will be provided on SIT’s Moodle online platform and include a mix of synchronous class discussions, pre-recorded lectures and interviews with food systems experts, discussion forums where students exchange ideas and experiences, and links to articles and documentaries. The online instruction will prepare students to join faculty, the local team, and peers in Ecuador.

In-Country Term Details

In Ecuador, you will be immersed in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Learn from experienced faculty, community members, and experts in the field as you explore a variety of methods for rethinking our relationship with food and the essential people and environments that make up the system’s foundation. You will work on urban agroecology projects, born as a response to increasing food insecurity and explore ecological impacts, forest regeneration, sustainable farming practices, and conservation in northern Ecuador’s patchwork of cloud forests.

Program Components

  • 2 courses (totaling six credits)
  • 4 weeks of online instruction
  • 3 weeks in-person learning in the field (Ecuador)

SIT’s faculty are practitioners in their fields. Our diverse, multicultural faculty have worked across the world as leaders, trainers, and developers in the business, nonprofit, education, and public sectors.

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Dr. Joseph Lanning, Chair and Assistant Professor MA in Development Practice; Program Director, IHP Food Systems


Hostels, guesthouses, and homestays during the field-based portion in Ecuador

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Possible Career Paths

Students in this program go on to work in the field in a variety of areas including study abroad offices, NGOs, nonprofits, and government agencies. Find out some of the career paths that may be open to you.

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  • Agriculture and food production
  • Nonprofit management
  • Food systems development and advocacy
  • Sustainability and climate change

See a breakdown of the costs for this program.

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The total cost for this program is $5,960.

  • $2,160 – online tuition (a 40 percent discount off of normal tuition)
  • $2,660 – in-country tuition
  • $1,140 – room and board in country

Contact your study abroad office or SIT Admissions for more information.