Sustainable Food Systems (MS)

Signature Courses
Food System Biodiversity: Sustainable Diets
Theory and Practice in Agroecological Systems
Social Values and Value Chains: Farm to Plate Sustainability
Place, Sustainability and Diets: Eco-nutrition
Food Justice and Sustainable Food Systems
Organization Transformation and Sustainable Leadership
Food System Biodiversity: Conservation in the Marketplace
Food and Agriculture: Advance Policy

Earn a Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) at Prescott College and support the strengthening of communities and their members by helping people re(build) healthy, just and sustainable food systems. In today’s world of complex food, nutrition, and agriculture systems, we need leaders with a deep knowledge of the economic, ecological, and social forces driving food systems. Our Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems prepares you for a graduate-level interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable agriculture and diets.

Your course assignments  have you applying the skills and knowledge you acquire and engaging with one another and your instructors in asynchronous discussions. Discussions and course assignments are intended to be tailored to your specific area of interest in food systems and your bioregion providing you with the opportunity to also learn about your peers’ bioregions and food systems interests.  

Our program offers optional concentrations across three distinct areas of focus: 

Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity: This concentration is designed for students who work in nutrition, culinary nutrition, public health, and other sustainable food system fields where knowledge about diverse diets with low environmental impacts can play an important role in ensuring food and nutrition security.  Students concentrating in Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity will take nine credits of context courses. Assignments in all courses and the capstone are tailored by students to ensure that food and nutrition security, health and wellbeing will be at the forefront when considering one’s food system. The concentration challenges students to understand dietary diversity as an ecosystem service, nutrition-sensitive agricultural value chains and how to build resilience into fragile and fleeting diet and knowledge systems. 

Food Justice: This concentration is designed for students who seek to shift global, industrial food systems towards more equitable, just, and sustainable foodways. Food justice can be measured through a community’s ability to acquire healthy food (food access), and its right to define its own food systems (food sovereignty). Students concentrating in Food Justice will take nine credits of context courses. Students should also tailor their assignments in all courses to ensure that they deepen their understanding of how institutional racism and classism prevent certain communities from accessing healthy and culturally appropriate food so that sustainable food systems solutions can be developed. 

Food Entrepreneurship: This concentration is designed for students who have a vision for impacting food system change through self-employment or another entrepreneurial endeavor who are seeking knowledge about how businesses can play an important role in ensuring food and nutrition security. Students concentrating in Food Entrepreneurship will take nine credits of context courses. Students should also tailor their assignments in all courses to ensure that they deepen their understanding of how to improve organizational success through social and environmental performance as change agents as well as improving their ability to build organizational strategies for sustainability.

When dealing with issues like nutrition and food security we have to get it right. The Prescott College Sustainable Food Systems program is all about learning about what matters most about food from ecological, nutritional, anthropological and financial perspectives.  Dr. Robin Currey, Program Director, Sustainable Food Systems  

We recognize that people working in changing food systems tend to be rooted in place, and the MSFS program allows students to remain committed to their communities and professions. Not only do students explore their own bioregional foodsheds, but they also contrast their findings with students from other parts of the U.S. and abroad, enhancing their understanding of food system dynamics and leverage points for change.

  • Bioregional Approach: The Prescott College master’s degree programs combine the best of online learning with intensive locally applied experience. We call it a bioregional approach to distance education. Rather than learning about food systems solely through examples in a textbook, students use their local foodsheds as laboratories in which to experiment with new concepts and skills.
  • Leading Faculty: Our faculty possess in-depth experience teaching and researching concepts in sustainable agriculture, sustainable diets, and food systems. Many of our faculty are nationally known and recognized as leaders in their fields.
  • Recognized for Leadership in Sustainability: Prescott College has built a national reputation for teaching sustainability in higher education. 
  • Student Variety: Our students span the United States and the globe, bringing a breadth of perspectives and experiences that are not available in masters programs that draw the majority of their students from the same geographic area.
  • Proven Online Learning System and Small Classes: Our students can focus on their studies, not on dealing with technological glitches. In addition, we keep our class size small (generally no more than 20 students per section). This ensures that you have meaningful interactions with your fellow students and receive individualized attention from your instructors.


  • Develop a complex systems approach to understanding sustainable food systems, their historical development, ecological foundations, socio-economic dynamics, policy aspects and the cultural values that create contemporary food systems
  • Develop an understanding of agroecological production systems and ecosystem services in order to apply best practices to vegetable, fruit, medicinal plant and livestock sectors, at different scales in different bioregions
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze different components of a food system -- origins, production, processing, distribution, preparation, consumption and waste -- in order to assess economic, ecological, and social justice and sustainability
  • Apply professional and analytical skills to build and encourage sustainable practices to leverage food system change within communities, businesses, the non-profit sector, and/or policymaking organizations
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative methods and tools for food system analyses and sustainability impact measurement in order to address local and global food system challenges
  • Recognize and analyze problems and opportunities and develop solutions for local and global food system issues that integrate (1) skills and knowledge of the functional areas of food systems and (2) the interdisciplinary analysis of food system dynamics


  • Registered Dietitians
  • Faculty at Culinary Institutes
  • Entreprenuers
  • Farm Managers
  • Campus Farm Managers
  • Market Gardeners
  • Teachers
  • Nutrition Educators
  • Agricultural Extension Agents
  • Food Service Director/Food Hub Manager
  • Local Food Procurement Specialist
  • Farm-to-Table Program Coordinators and Directors
  • Policy Directors for Organic Advocacy Organizations
  • Non-Profit Program Director


  • Completed application
  • Essay
  • Current resume
  • List of references
  • Official transcripts

Robin Currey

Instruction|Faculty / Director, Sustainable Food Systems

Lisa Trocchia

Instruction|Associate Faculty

Hava Villaverde

Instruction|Associate Faculty