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Squash and sustainability: Open Classroom to explore our food system

11/9/15-BOSTON-Students enjoy a walk through the Boston Public Market.

Eating is something we do every day, but how often do we consider the social, economical, global, and environmental cogs behind our food system? This semester’s Myra Kraft Open Classroom series encourages the Boston community to do just that.

Open Class­room, a semes­ter­long sem­inar series, is free and open to the North­eastern com­mu­nity and the public and run by the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. The first class of the spring semester is Wednesday night.

“As urban consumers, we have issues of sustainability to consider, issues of health, of equity—so we’ll start off with a reminder about what our food system actually looks like,” said public policy professor Christopher Bosso, who spearheads the series. “If nothing else, we have to remember that the food system gives us what we want, when we want it, and at the price we want to pay for it.”

The series, comprising 14 classes over the semester, will explore various topics related to food creation and consumption, with an eye toward issues of sustainability, health, and equity in particular.

“This is really thinking about how we, as urban consumers dependent on a much larger food system, think about that in terms of sustainability and healthiness. How do we support it?” Bosso asked. “We’re accustomed to a wide variety of produce, for example, but a lot of that’s going to come from far away. If you want produce that is totally in season right now, I hope you like rutabagas.”

Experts from across the field—including representatives of Boston Public Market, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, Northeastern’s Dining Services, and various food pantries, among others—will tackle topics such as “What America eats and why,” and “Issues in global food security.”

The series offers viewpoints from “people on the front lines,” Bosso said, “people who are working in these spaces, and working on practical questions.”

Other topics this semester include domestic food security (Jan. 25); food system resilience (Feb. 8); the possibilities and limits of urban agriculture (March 1); climate change and sustainability (April 5); and the future of food (April 19). A complete course schedule can be found online.

All the events will be held on Wednes­days from 6 to 8 p.m., in 20 West Vil­lage F.

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