Sustainability, Climate Change, and FoodOrganization logo: Leiden University

About this minor

Achieving greater levels of sustainability is a goal facing many fields of public policy, especially in the context of an increasing climate crisis. This creates particularly acute challenges when it comes to the production and distribution of sufficient food on a global level. We are more aware than ever of how challenges and threats at a global level impact our social reality locally. The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the vulnerability of specific supply lines for staple products such as grain and sunflower oil, while environmental change increases farmer vulnerability worldwide. How can we ensure that the world's population can be properly fed with sustainable techniques? What is the effect of our food production on the environment, and how is climate change impacting the different stages of the food cycle, from cultivation to waste management? What factors lie behind the many different consumption patterns and trends? Is access to food a human right, and how does scarcity lead to conflict?

By placing food at the centre of investigation and using multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches, the Minor “Sustainability, Climate Change, and Food” explores current-day debates on political, environmental, economic and cultural change at both the local and global levels.

Programme 2023-2024

The minor consists of 6 courses of 5 ECTS each and takes place during the first semester. The semester is divided into two blocks of eight weeks. Each block corresponds to a track (Block 1: “Production, distribution and consumption” and Block 2: “Natural Resources, Rights and Conflict”) and each track is made up of three courses.

This minor is a consistent package of courses designed to help you build your knowledge in a logical and connected way. It is not possible to follow single courses and the minor needs to be completed in one academic year. It is possible to register for a 15 EC semi-minor consisting of either the full first or second track.

Production, Distribution and Consumption

  • Sustainable Food Systems in an Era of Climate Change (100) ·        The Economics of Poverty and Global Inequalities (200) ·        Wasted Cities: A Critical Look into our Waste and our Resources (300)

Natural Resources, Rights and Conflict

·        Climate Change and Sustainable Water Resource Management for Food Production (100) ·        SDGs, Human Rights and International Law (200) ·        Food Insecurity, Conflict, and Social Justice in an Era of Climate Change (300)

Learning outcomes

The central learning objective of this minor is to critically examine, through a set of multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches spread over six courses, the complexities of food sustainability through ecological, socio-economic, political, legal and cultural systems. Analysing those complexities requires the involvement of the natural and applied sciences (biology, ecology, earth sciences), the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, international relations, economics), the humanities (history, philosophy, cultural studies), and law. Leiden University College is unique within Leiden University in that its Liberal Arts and Sciences programme holds expertise across the alpha, beta, and gamma fields, enabling the minor to provide a broad range of critical approaches. The study of food production, distribution and consumption opens up crucial questions related to a changing climate, water and soil quality, and disease, as well as issues of social injustice, violence and war, historical legacies, and cultural traditions and norms. These challenges are shared at the global level, but create diverse realities at the local level depending on specific circumstances.

Required prior knowledge

This English-language minor programme is accessible for all students across the natural and social sciences and the humanities (BA & BSc) with an interest in food and sustainability. The minor’s multi-disciplinary approach will introduce them to different perspectives that will enrich and broaden their chosen studies.

Good to know

  • Contact: If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to
  • It is possible to register for a 15 EC semi-minor consisting of either the full first or second track.
  • For more information about the tracks, please use the link below

Additional information

  • Theme
  • Credits
    ECTS 30
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Leiden University.


  • Start date

    4 september 2023

    • Ends
      2 februari 2024
    • Term *
      Minor semester 1
    • Location
      Den Haag
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      16 May, 13:00 - 15 Jul 2023
    Enrolment period closed
These offerings are valid for students of Leiden University