Student Opinion

Why study MA Food & Development?

Published on 5 July 2023

Lídia Cabral

Rural Futures Cluster Lead; Co-founder, Food Equity Centre

As IDS launches its Food Equity campaign, we caught up with Lidia Cabral, co-convenor of MA Food & Development, to find out what makes this course unique and so relevant in today’s climate.

Food is one of the most pressing development issues of our times, because 690 million people worldwide still face food insecurity. At the same time, we know that food waste is on the rise everywhere. We know also that the global food system contributes to around a third of our greenhouse emissions.

MA Food & Development is convened by IDS and the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, where you’ll be based. This means you have access to a wide range of expertise across disciplines and fields of study that relate to food and development. A lot of our teaching draws on firsthand experience working in the field, advising governments and development agencies and working alongside other development actors, NGOs, social movements and researchers around the globe, and we bring these experiences into the classroom.

In addition to this, you’ll have access to a wide range of seminar series and public events organised by IDS and the School of Global Studies, and this will enrich your learning experience during the course. It will help you develop your own critical analysis of food and development issues, and doing so by drawing on concepts and methods from a range of disciplines. You will learn how to write academically and present your analysis in a systematic, clear and also critical way. You will also have the chance to practice delivering presentations of your work either individually or working with other colleagues as part of group projects.

I believe there are few places better than Brighton in the UK to study food and development, as there is a hive of excellent food work that goes on – particularly with the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and several other smaller grassroots organisations and projects, where students have done placements, volunteered and gone on to find employment. Brighton was the first to adopt a city-wide food strategy, the first to build food growing spaces into new housing developments, and Brighton & Hove City Council was the first to commit to a food sourcing policy that sees schools and care homes buying in sustainable, local, fresh produce. This is a policy that involves the living wage, a ban on single-use plastics, and a focus on local suppliers. In 2020 this was recognised when Brighton became the first city in the UK to win the Sustainable Food City award.

If you’ve read our recent report Pathways to Equitable Food Systems, want to understand the power imbalances that drive injustices across food systems, and contribute to addressing these injustices, we would love to hear from you. Whether you’re looking to move into a career in the food sector or are already working in this area and want to increase your understanding of issues such as equity and sustainability in food systems, please get in touch.

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The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IDS.

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