Food Matters

Photograph of a variety of food staples

TTHU 9:30-10:45 a.m./SPRING 2021

GEAR  129

The deadline to apply to our spring 2021 Signature Seminar courses (via this application form) is 11:59 p.m. Friday, October 30, 2020.

Since the 1970s U.S. dairy milk drinkers have declined sharply while consumption of beverage products made from soy, oat and almond have grown in popularity as a replacement. Questions abound regarding nutrition equivalency and environmental impacts across products. 

Citing health and environmental reasons, consumers are turning to new meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat® and the Impossible™ Burger. Generally more expensive than ground beef, these products are not widely available and may be considered a food fad. 

POM Wonderful™ sales reached $91 billion in one year based on manufacturer’s-backed research claims that the product improved heart health and treated prostate cancer. The Supreme Court case ordered the company to remove these claims due to lack of scientific methods followed in the research. So, how wonderful is it? 

Is milk, milk? Is meat, meat? Are food names important? Is manufacturer-based research really research? Is industrial food better or is local? Is organic better for you and safer? Can food be considered medicine? This course is designed to consider the legal, economic, social and environmental aspects of products in the food system with the purpose of generating information and guidance for regulating agencies, the food industries and consumers on managing the modern food system. It’s a conversation about why and how food matters.

Course Credit:

  • All students: 3 hours of honors credit
  • Bumpers College: 3 hours of upper-level honors credit in Horticulture or Ag Econ
  • Fulbright College:
    • Honors Natural Science or Social Science Colloquium
  • Walton College: Honors Colloquium

About Margaret Sova McCabe, Jennie Popp and Curt Rom:

Margaret Sova McCabe

Margaret Sova McCabe
is the dean of the School of Law and a professor of law. Her areas of legal expertise are administrative law and food law and policy.  McCabe’s scholarship in food systems and economic policy, food law and administrative procedure may be found in publications such as the Journal of Food Law and Policy, Food and Drug Law Journal, Lewis and Clark Environmental Law Review and Maine Law Review. She has also served on the board of the Academy of Food Law & Policy and as a vice chair of the Food and Drug Administration Committee of the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law Section.

Jennie Popp

Jennie Popp
is an associate dean of the Honors College and co-chair of the university's Service Learning Initiative. She is also a professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness who has research responsibility for identifying sustainable best practices for agricultural production. She is currently co-leading a multi-year effort to increase both the quantity and quality of fruit and vegetable production in NW Arkansas.

Curt Rom

Curt Rom
is the associate dean for international education within the Graduate School and International Education. He is a University Professor of horticulture with research and teaching in fruit crops, sustainable and organic production and food systems. 

Both Popp and Rom have served as co-directors for the Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability. Both are members of the UA Teaching Academy and have received the John W. White Teaching, Honors College Distinguished Faculty, and the Gold Medal faculty awards. Rom has also been recognized by the American Society for Horticultural Sciences as the Outstanding Educator at both the regional and national levels.