Food Systems Minor

Dig into how we feed ourselves

The Food Systems minor is an interdisciplinary exploration of meeting our most basic human need: food. We look at the practices and policies of farming, fishing, food processing, supply chains, food retail and marketing, food service, waste management, and how they all connect. We dive into the full range of interconnected food systems—from the hyper-local to vast international networks. Students work and learn experientially alongside scientists, farmers, the business community, educators and activists to understand and transform the way we eat.

Career paths: Find your seat at the table for a spirited conversation about food.

Food systems are a study in contrasts. They are a marvel of efficiency, producing an abundance of low-cost food—but with sometimes steep social, environmental, and health costs.

How do we tackle food injustice? Ag runoff contamination of waterways? Epidemic obesity? These questions are at the very heart of the Food Systems minor, an inter-college program of both the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Health and Human Development. We work closely with stakeholders and experts from across the University and across disciplines to develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in high demand in the food industry, government, advocacy, and more.

A Food Systems minor is a great option if you:

  • Are passionate about balancing productive agriculture with sustainability
  • Are motivated to ensure all people have access to high-quality, affordable food
  • Want to be an innovator of food products and services that build a better world


For details on program requirements, suggested academic plan, and more, see the University Bulletin.

This minor includes a select number of courses that may be completed online, allowing students to make progress from any Penn State location.

Required courses

  • Investigating the U.S. Food System: how food moves from field to table
  • Integrative Food Systems Capstone Course
  • Food Systems Field Engagement Experience

Sample additional courses

  • Sustainable Agriculture Science and Policy
  • Introduction to Animal Industries
  • Healthy Food for All: Factors That Influence What We Eat in the U.S.
  • The Sustainable Fork: Food Systems Decisions for Away-From Home Eating
  • Introduction to U.S. Food History
  • Changing Food Systems: Comparative Perspectives

Get started.

Students may apply for admission to the Food Systems minor in LionPATH by selecting "Update Academics" in the Student Center. For additional information, contact Dr. Edward Jaenicke.