Developing an Online Teaching Course on Urban Food Systems

External Link:
Thematic Focus:
Agriculture, Biodiversity and Sustainability, Digital Communication / ICTs
Involved Countries:
Switzerland, Kenya

Received Funding By:

Dr. Lena Bloemertz, Physical Geography and Environmental Change, University of Basel, Switzerland
Dr. Alex Awiti, Vice Provost East Africa and Interim Dean of The Graduate School of Media and Communications, Aga Khan University, Nairobi

The aim of this collaboration is to develop an online teaching course on Urban Food Systems for students especially in Nairobi and Basel, however potentially with a wider public (eventually a fully developed MOOC).

This teaching collaboration can build up on the links that have been established during the SARECO funded project on «Sustainable urban food production and rural-urban relationships», which lead to two research travels of L. Bloemertz to Kenya, looking into household food systems and a workshop bringing Eastern African Researchers on Food Systems together in Nairobi, a conference participation of L. Bloemertz and A. Awiti at the conference on Cities and Food, as well as a common panel at the ECAS conference in Basel on “Food Markets and Rural-Urban Relations”.

The development of common teaching material and the carrying out of a first test seminar would help to bring all the insights gained together and to include a group of students from both countries in an extensive exchange of possible futures for food systems. The project can further build on the insights on online teaching gained during the Corona Crises (not only on teaching as such, but also on the potential of holding seminars with the participation of African students and researchers).

The major part of the teaching material will be developed between August-Jan 2020. In the spring term (February-Mai 2020) we will hold several online seminars with students from Nairobi and Kenya, to discuss the developed material, organise online discussion with key experts, and to let students carry out small research projects (e.g. in the form of an interview/short film, a newspaper research, a small mapping exercise)  in the respective cities.

Using online teaching as a tool of extensiving exchange between students from Kenya and Switzerland

– Increasing knowledge on potential futures of food systems and opening up horizons on potential futures, by comparing food systems and innovative grassroot initatives in Basel and Nairobi

The topics adressed will range from:

  • The biophysical and socioeconomic processes and relationships involved in the production; distribution; marketing; and, consumption of food.
  • The specifities of cities and how they influence the urban food system (with the example of Basel and Nairobi).
  • The role of scenario planning and the inclusion of different stakeholders for the transformation of food systems (e.g. through food policy councils).
  • Tradeoffs between ecosystems protection, food production and equality and social security and health on long- and short-term.