Community Engagement

Community engagement is a fundamental part of the Food Systems major. Food Systems students engage deeply in community-based work and are civically engaged throughout their program, thus they are well equipped to play an active and responsible role in society after graduation through political and personal actions. Food Systems students gain an appreciation of the differences of those affected by the food system (everybody!) by recognizing the value of interacting with individuals with backgrounds and/or perspectives different from their own.

These values are all instilled through our community engagement focus, which allows you to interact with professionals in our community who are addressing real on-the-ground challenges faced by diverse groups in the Minneapolis-St Paul region. While getting your degree, you will be exposed to a variety of cultures and worldview that will help you understand how food systems are valued and how and why they vary across societies. While an internship is perhaps the most obvious way to connect with the community, there are several ways in which the major encourages community engagement:

FDSY 4101

FDSY 4101 students with their poster about their community outreach project

Every Foods System major is required to take FDSY 4101, the capstone course of the major. In this course you will participate in a service learning project that addresses sustainability challenges and opportunities in local food systems. Throughout the semester students develop and complete a project that will have a lasting impact on the organization they work with.


HECUA program in Italy

HECUA is a nonprofit consortium based in St. Paul that includes 17 colleges and universities, with the U of M among its founding members. HECUA strives to build knowledge and community while enabling students to create social change. They have programs in Twin Cities, across the U.S., and even abroad that all count for college credit. Learn more about HECUA.

Become a Markhart Scholar

2016 Markhart Scholars

The Markhart Scholars Program is a competitive CFANS-wide scholarship given to 8 students during the spring semester. Scholars volunteer with a local community organization working to increase access of healthy foods to underserved populations, and participate in a community of learners interested in social justice and food security. See the Scholarships page for more info.