THE MOOC: AN ONLINE COURSE TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRO FOOD SYSTEMS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
By Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition
The Mediterranean basin is one of the top biodiversity hot spots in the world. It extends over an area – from the tip of Portugal to the shores of Lebanon, and from Italy to the coast of Morocco – which is influenced by different climate conditions and offers a range of evolving landscapes: high mountains, semi-arid plains, humid areas, sandy beaches and many islands of varying shapes and sizes.
However, farming in the Mediterranean is threatened by several factors, such as: unsustainable agricultural production, over-exploited natural resources, bad water management, or food products and diets characterized by low nutritional values.
Given this current background, which risks increasing inequality and damaging the environment, it is even more urgent to train students and practitioners by providing them with the tools to re-invent and re-imagine the way we produce food. This is why the MOOC, Massive Open Online Course, was developed: an online university course designed to offer an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the Mediterranean agro food industry’s ability to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations’ Agenda 2030.
Divided into 10 interactive modules, the MOOC enlists teachers from different countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area, focusing on different environmental and sustainability themes.
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs provides the Scientific Direction of the project, and he is complemented by other remarkable teachers like: Riccardo Valentini, IPCC Group Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, Alessio Cavicchi, University of Macerata, Sonia Massari, teacher at Gustolab International, Stefano Pascucci, University of Exeter (UK), Amr Helal, CEO Health Tech (Egypt), Reema Tayyem, University of Jordan, Gabriele Riccardi, Federico II University in Naples, Arbaoui Sarra, National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, Phoebe Kounduri, University of Economics and Business in Athens, A. F. Abou Hadid and Eissa Ali Abdelaziz, Ain Shams University (Egypt), Maite Aldaya, Complutense University in Madrid and Angelo Riccaboni, University of Siena.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THE COURSE
The MOOC is designed to suit industry professionals and policy makers who will be able to understand how to promote sustainable lifestyles and diets – from the Mediterranean tradition – and the right principles for food education.
The MOOC is also designed for teachers, who can complete several modules and also elect to introduce the course as an interactive add-on to their teaching programs, contributing to its further development.
However, the course is especially designed for students of subjects like business and management, cultural heritage, agriculture, geography and sustainability, who will be able to acquire some of the new skills required in the marketplace, such as creativity or interdisciplinarity.
The aim of the course is to offer an overview of the challenges and opportunities of the agro food industry in the Mediterranean Basin, with a particular focus on the following themes:
- the history of agriculture and its main features in the area, focusing on the intangible cultural heritage of the ‘Mediterranean Diet’,
- global challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly in the Mediterranean region,
- facts and stats on 21st century farming in the Mediterranean, focusing on different rural models, the relations between food and other industries, and the key international trade players,
- European Union policies for the Mediterranean Area
- skills needed to address the challenges and seize the new work opportunities
Modules include pre-recorded lectures, conferences, quizzes, debates, forums and other activities. Each component can be completed at any time, and those who complete 85% of the course will receive a certificate.
You can find the MOOC online on the SDG Academy website.
Introduction: Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
- Module 1. The Challenges for Food and Agriculture in the Mediterranean
- Module 2. History of Agriculture in the Mediterranean Basin and the Mediterranean Diet
- Module 3. Poverty Reduction, Economic and Social Rural Development (module 6 of the SDG-A MOOC “Feeding a Hungry Planet”)
- Module 4: Fishing and Aquaculture (modulo 4 of the SDG-A MOOC “One Planet, one Ocean”)
- Module 5. How to Meet the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDG) in the Mediterranean – the Roadmap I. Water Resources and Fisheries Management
- Module 6. How to meet the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDG) in the Mediterranean – the Roadmap II. Sustainable Livestock Farming for the Environment and Climate
- Module 7. How to meet the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDG) in the Mediterranean – the Roadmap III. The Food Value Chain for Local and Regional Development
- Module 8. How to meet the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDG) in the Mediterranean – the Roadmap IV. Reducing Food Waste and Improving Sub-product Innovation
- Module 9. How to meet the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDG) in the Mediterranean – the Roadmap V. Nutrition and Learning.
- Module 10. New Job Profiles in the Mediterranean
 Nature, 2000