Sustainable Food Systems: A Mediterranean Perspective


The Mediterranean region is one of the most biodiverse in the world, home to a complex and intricate patchwork of cultures, climates, and cuisines. Food systems in the region -- represented worldwide by the "Mediterranean diet" -- are equally complex, demanding analysis across the political, social, cultural, economic and nutritional spectrums from landscape to table. 

The ability of Mediterranean agriculture to sustain its peoples -- and the planet -- is now threatened by several issues:

  • Unsustainable agriculture production and limited agricultural diversification;
  • Overexploitation of natural resources, including loss of soil fertility and agricultural biodiversity;
  • Water scarcity and poor water management;
  • Limited agricultural diversification;
  • Increasingly poor nutritional value of food products and diets;
  • Food loss and waste; and
  • Decline in food culture and food sovereignty, highlighting the struggle between modernity and tradition.

This course discusses the challenges and opportunities of the agricultural sector in the Mediterranean basin. It summarizes global-to-local challenges related to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); outlines the history and culture of agriculture and its main characteristics with a focus on the "Mediterranean diet"; explainsagricultural data with a focus on rural development models and value creation; explores EU policy frameworks and international agreements related to food and agriculture in the Mediterranean; and highlights emerging opportunities linked to innovation and sustainability in the sector. 

This course is for:

  • Students at the undergraduate or graduate level interested in the main challenges facing the Mediterranean region;
  • Current and future practitioners in the agriculture, food and beverage sectors who wish to gain useful insights about current and future trends and business opportunities; and
  • Policymakers and regional stakeholders who want to deepen their knowledge of agricultural policy, investment, and decisionmaking in the region and globally.

How do we produce more, better quality, and safer food while simultaneously achieving social and environmental goals? Join this course to find out. 



SDSN Mediterranean


Università di Siena


Rick Shankman's picture

"How do we produce more,

"How do we produce more, better quality, and safer food while simultaneously achieving social and environmental goals?  Join this course to find out."

Well, first we support MIT in its push for more nuclear energy and construction of European nuclear power plants.  Then, we watch as those plants illegally dispose of their toxic waste into the "Mediterranean Diet" food chain.


The Mafia, mozzarella and Italy's 'Triangle of Death'

See also...

The Mob Is Secretly Dumping Nuclear Waste Across Italy and Africa