GEOU4HP: Our Hungry Planet



The module aims to ensure that students can:

  • Discuss what the major issues in food security are.
  • Can evaluate the global supply chain and where their food has come from
  • Describe how different food types are produced, what inputs are required and what technologies are currently used.
  • Discuss what the economic and social implications of food production are in different geographical regions of the world.
  • Evaluate the nutritional implications are of different food choices and how their health relates to those food choices.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding of what the current issues surrounding food security are and how things are expected to change over the next 40 years and how their choices impact on that.
  • What technologies are currently used in food production and distribution.


Problem /Background: Population growth; Climate change; pests and disease; waste

Production: Comparison of different production systems including the use of different technologies and inputs:Crops; Terrestrial animals; Aquatic plants and animals;
Role of genetics: Benefits of genetic, and proteomic approaches to all aspects of the production chain including use in food fraud and food quality.
Post-harvest: Food quality from a physiology perspective and food quality from a microbiology perspective.
Geography of Nutrition: How does diet and calorific intake vary across geographical regions.
Distribution chains: Overseas vs UK, self-sufficiency vs amount imported etc.; comparison of simple food items e.g. beef, fish compared to processed food which use a wide variety of highly geographically dispersed products.
Psychology/physiology of food 

Transferable Skills

Communication and interpersonal skills; Report writing, layout and design; Logical analysis of complex systems; Problem solving; Critical thinking and decision making; Information processing, interpretation and assimilation; Analysis and synthesis of information from a variety of sources.


There is no set text, students will be directed to different sources of information for the relevant sections and assessments.

Teaching Format

3 lectures per week and three practicals spread throughout the semester. One lab based one, one computer based on and a field trip.


Assessment of learning from practicals (10%), Report (20%), Essay (20%),  one two hour exam including a mix of short answer and short essay based questions (50%).

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