University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
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Home > Undergraduate Students > Current Students > Majors and Minors > Food Systems

Food Systems

CFANS now has a Food Systems major! We listened to the input of students, many of whom told us they want a major like this. This new major is open to all current and incoming students as of the fall 2013 semester.

Food Systems majors will choose one of these four tracks:

What are Food Systems?

The food system is an interconnected set of biological, technological, economic, and social activities that feed human populations. Life as we know it depends on the food system working effectively. Food system activities include farming, food processing and manufacturing, food distribution and retailing, consumption, and the management of post-consumption food waste. Food systems extend across community, state, and national borders.

What is the Food System Major?

This major will teach students the knowledge and problem-solving skills to address complex challenges and opportunities in food systems. This will be guided by an interest in food and food systems that are sustainable in environmental, economic, and social terms. We will study food systems in diverse contexts and at different scales.

What Career Paths are Available to Food Systems Majors?

There are many options! Examples include: designing food supply chains; starting and managing organic farms; working for community gardening non-profit organizations; serving as sustainability officers for multinational food corporations; staffing emergency food-shelf programs; developing federal food, farm, and nutrition policy for think tanks; creating small businesses that prepare artisanal food; and working as program administrators for research laboratories. The global food system continues to evolve, and graduates of this major will have the knowledge and skills to both adapt and lead.

What Classes are Taught for this Major?

The core courses in the Food Systems major begin with an orientation to food systems. This is followed by a 3-course core sequence that provides a basic understanding of the structure and interactions within food systems, introduces techniques for life cycle analysis of the outcomes, impacts and sustainability of food systems and explores conventional, sustainable and organic examples of production systems for food plants. The 3-course sequence culminates in a capstone experience aimed at solving real-world problems in local community food systems, and involvement in future systems design and visioning.

Additional information will be posted here soon. The Food Systems major was officially approved by the University of Minnesota Regents on May 9, 2013.


Academic Planning

Program Requirements / Curriculum Guide (PDF) includes information about each track

University Catalog info

4-Year Plans: See links at left, next to the track names.

Food Systems and the Environment Minor (for non-CFANS students only)

Resources and Links

Career Info

Involvement Opportunities

Contact Us

Academic Advisor
See CFANS Advisors list.

Major Coordinator
See CFANS Major Coordinators list.