New KPU program focuses on food security and sustainability

Thu, May 21, 2020

To tackle the growing concern about food security and food systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is launching the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems and Security (SFSS).

Dr. Kent Mullinix, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at KPU, says food security and sustainability is the single most important human imperative, not just locally but globally. Uncertainties about the global food system stemming from issues such as climate change, the global economy, environmental and ecosystem degradation and collapse, pandemics and more expose the need to better understand and transform our food systems.

“The adverse outcomes of our food system are clearly evident to anyone looking: environmental destruction, food security inequity, economic destruction of family-based farming and farming communities, epidemic food-related disease,” says Mullinix. 

“As such, increasingly there are those who want to do something about it – from all sorts of professions. This program is in response to increasing awareness of and growing intent to rectify the unsustainability of our global industrial food system.”

Students from around the world will be able to enroll in the SFSS program.

“The launch of the SFSS program online opens this graduate certificate program and KPU to students around the world. Students will have the chance to learn from instructors who are researching food security and sustainability in Canada and internationally,” says Dr. Sandy Vanderburgh, provost and vice-president academic at KPU.

The SFSS program features a collaboration between the KPU’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and its Faculty of Arts that makes gives the program a wide appeal, says Dr. Diane Purvey, dean of the Faculty of Arts.

“The SFSS program is focused on more than just agriculture,” says Purvey. “It highlights people, the economy and social policy.”

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in SFSS will be well-placed to work in government, planning and consulting, NGO operations, public education and research, community activism, community health, and economic development. The certificate can also be extended into a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis on sustainable food systems and security, through Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C. 

“The Graduate Certificate is a program focused exclusively on understanding the outcomes, vulnerabilities, and fragility of the dominant industrial-transnational food system that our very sustenance and society currently depend upon. Further it focuses on what needs to be done to rectify the unsustainability of our food system including community-focused initiatives,” adds Mullinix.

“From our perspective a sustainable food system is job one – it makes little difference in the long run what else we do to advance a sustainable society if our food system is not sustainable.”

The SFSS Graduate Certificate launches in Fall 2020. To learn more, visit