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Food & Water Security online course

This course will encourage learners to build a new understanding of food security, water shortages and climate change challenges in agriculture. See videos for each module.
a tabletop with fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Level: Introductory
  • Time commitment: 3 hours per module (4 modules in total) – 12 hours total
  • Learning product:Online course
  • Sector:multisector
  • Language:English
  • Certificate available: completion certificate; microcredential program in development


Food security is one of the most pressing dilemmas of our time. Around the globe, approximately 2 billion people experience some form of food deprivation each day. One in ten people suffer from some form of food insecurity in Canada. This has led scholars to question why food insecurity exists in an ostensibly food secure country. The literature on food security and climate change has also grown exponentially over the past several decades in large part as a response to world events such as the Green Revolution and other forms of industrial agricultural development since the 1970s. Despite the advances in research and technology, we still possess inadequate knowledge of the dynamics causing the onset of food insecurity, and significant disagreement persists among scholars concerning the best way to ameliorate food insecurity.

Drawing upon the food security literature and current events in the media, this survey course will encourage learners to build a new understanding of food security, water shortages in agricultural production, and climate change challenges in agriculture. We will introduce policy tools and case studies illustrating the effects that climate change has on agriculture which will be useful and applicable to individual cross-disciplinary learning.

A supporting podcast is available for this course – part of the ALN Resilience by design podcasts series.

The Food & Water Security onlinecourse material is available using the links below for self-learning but if you wish to attend a facilitated online course find details here.

Institutional background and trainers

Food & Water Security by Dr. Joanne Taylor, University of British Columbia is licensed under CC BY 4.0except where indicated. For external links to resources, review the rights and permission details.

This course is part of the Adaptation Learning Network: Inspiring Climate Action. This course is Creative Commons licensed and the content is free to use with attribution (for external links to resources, please review the rights and permission details).

This course is also offered as a facilitated online course by the University of British Columbia. You can find registration information on the Adaptation Learning Network Portal.

Who would find this useful?

This course examines the inter-dynamics of food security, water, and climate change through a social sciences perspective. It is designed for professionals and specialists from a variety of sectors, along with academics. Individuals seeking to understand the effects of climate change on our food supply and its social ramifications would especially benefit from taking this course, including (but not limited to) agriculturalists (industrial producers’ associations, small-scale farmers, market gardeners, fisheries, and livestock professionals), agrologists, agricultural economists, environmentalists, and related environmental fields, educators and researchers, rural development managers, policymakers, concerned citizens, and community leaders.

Training Material

Week 1: Food Security and Food Insecurity

In the first module, we define the concept of food and what it means to individuals. We then explore food security and food insecurity meanings and definitions and the ramifications of living with food deprivation not only for western populations but also Indigenous communities. We also investigate the concept of food sovereignty as well as Indigenous food sovereignty. Find further learning resources and videos by clicking on the Content tab in pressbooks.

Week 2: Water and Food Security

In the second module, we examine the hydrological cycle and water security as defined by the United Nations. We also analyze various aspects of the importance of water to food production and climate change. We specifically look at programs in the Okanagan which address drought and flooding while reading about examples of successful management of water systems for food and agriculture and for improving agricultural adaptation and building resilience to climate change.

Week 3: Climate Change and Food Security in the Future

In the third module, we delve into climate change (defined as any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time). Using the Okanagan as a lens, we investigate the impacts of drought, flooding, pests, and forest fires on agriculture. We look at how producers are adapting to climatic variations that affect our food supply and the future impacts that climate change is likely to have on global food production.

Week 4: What Does it all Mean and What Can We Do?

In the fourth module, the course culminates by asking ourselves “How do we go forward in addressing food insecurity, water security, climate change, adapting to future climate change, and what we can do as individuals, communities, nations, and a community of nations?”

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this survey course, learners will:

  • Have a working knowledge of food security and food insecurity related concepts and definitions
  • Be able to explain the effects of climate change on the hydrological cycle
  • Be able to identify the impacts of climate change on agriculture, food security, and food insecurity
  • Have reflected upon, and be able to illustrate practical examples of what we can do as individuals and communities, and communities of nations to adapt to a new food-future

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