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Check out the three IntroSems being offered this summer, and apply in the IntroSems' VCA.

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ESS 15N: Fitting Fish Into Food Systems

Meet the Instructors

Course Description

There is a growing perception that our global food system is broken. Billions of people around the world lack adequate nutrition for healthy and productive lives, and obesity now exceeds hunger even in poor communities. Agricultural practices add to climate change, biodiversity loss, and other environmental harms, and freshwater and soils are widely depleted. Farmers who produce food in many parts of the world may lack the income to feed their own families. What’s missing from this conversation about food and agriculture is fish, or more broadly, “blue foods” —animals and plants cultivated or captured in ocean and freshwater systems worldwide.

This seminar will explore the role of blue foods in creating a sustainable and healthy global food system. It will build off The Blue Food Assessment—an international initiative led by Stanford with contributions from over 100 researchers from around the world—to explore the nutrition, environment, justice, equity, and climate dimensions of fish within the global food system. We will probe a wide range of questions, including:

  • Do fish provide a healthier option than meat in all diets?
  • What is aquaculture all about, and is it sustainable?
  • Is seaweed the solution for a broken food system?
  • What is the role of blue foods in decarbonizing the food sector?
  • Are small-scale fish producers a small part of food systems—or a large part?
  • Is food justice at risk in fisheries and global fish trade?
  • How might the science of blue foods change national food policies?
  • Is there a role for the private sector in developing healthy and sustainable blue foods?

The class will be structured around readings, discussions, debates, essay-writing, and role playing as we seek solutions to global food system challenges through blue foods.

Meet the Instructors

Roz Naylor

Rosamond Naylor

Roz Naylor is the William Wrigley Professor of Earth System Science, Professor (by courtesy) in Economics, and founding Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSE) at Stanford University. She works on policies and practices to improve global food security and protect the environment on land and at sea. 

Learn more about Roz Naylor 

Jim Leape

James Leape

Jim Leape is the William and Eva Price Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and co-director of the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. Through research, writing and direct engagement with private and public sector leaders, his work focuses on how to drive large-scale systemic shifts to sustainability. 

Learn more about Jim Leape


Michelle Tigchelaar

Michelle Tigchelaar is a Research Scientist with the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University. She is an interdisciplinary climate scientist whose work focuses on the impacts of climate change on food systems, spanning the aquatic and terrestrial and the ecological and human.