Introduction to Principles and Practices of Food Systems

Module Introduction

Welcome to the core module “Principles and practices of food systems” based on the pig and poultry food systems. The aim of the module is to take you through a series of steps needed to describe and explain the critical aspects of the livestock food systems: where the animals are, how they are fed, bred, housed, raised, marketed and slaughtered, and where and how the meat and eggs produced are processed, marketed and retailed in order to reach consumers that can be local, national and international.

We will continually return to thinking about the increasing complexity of these food systems, exploring what is driving their evolution and what are the implications of the changes that are occurring. In the process we will develop skills in assessing how to balance the positives and negatives of the livestock food systems and focus on how monitoring and evaluation methods can be developed to strengthen how public and private sectors work together. One of the aims of this will be to guide the setting of legislation and systems of enforcement to ensure that people, animals and the environment are not negatively impacted by the food system, and to aid the private sector in developing complimentary standards that promote the production of food that is accessible, to a quality that allows adequate nutrition, but not over nutrition.

Therefore the module will provide methods and tools to give insight into how our food systems are currently working, how they are evolving and what the implications of these changes are on our economies, the environment and our health and wellbeing.

For more information to prepare you for the module, please read the preface of Rushton (2009) The Economics of Animal Health and Production, which has been scanned into our elibrary.