The fundamental questions addressed in this course will be: What are the elements of a food system, and how do we define and evaluate food system sustainability? The classroom-based component will introduce students to the basics of systems modeling and will consider the role of ethics, priorities, expectations, economics, culture, and accessibility in developing sustainable systems. A hands-on session at Sterling’s organic farm will support this foundational theory with practical experience and will help illustrate our most immediate food system – the relationship between the Sterling farm and dining hall. We will also integrate extensive field work, making visits to local and regional farms, processing and distribution centers, and restaurants to help students develop a broader reflection on Vermont’s food system. Capitalizing on Sterling College’s location in the midst of a vibrant agricultural region, this course is an opportunity for students to explore first-hand both the interconnected nature of rural Vermont’s food system and set the foundation for a broader understanding of our relationship with food.