Topic outline

This course is part of a series of three e-learning courses on Sustainable Food Systems (SFS), designed to equip you with the knowledge and tools required to apply systems thinking to complex food systems challenges in an integrated manner.

The course series highlights how systems thinking, and taking a sustainable food systems approach, can help to significantly improve our work in project and policy design for sustainable food systems development and transformation.

This first course in the series proposes a definition of the concept of sustainable food systems and describes the evolution of food systems. It outlines how systems thinking can be used to develop sustainable food systems.


The course primarily targets development practitioners and policy-makers working on the development of sustainable food systems. It will also benefit those interested in learning more about food systems and how to develop sustainable food systems, such as:

  • Farmer representatives
  • Support services providers
  • Consumers
  • Agribusiness representatives
  • Development practitioners
  • Government policy-makers

  • The concept and complexity of food systems
  • The evolution of food systems and associated sustainability challenges
  • The need for holistic development solutions through a sustainable food systems approach
  • How to apply a systems thinking approach to sustainable food systems development

The course consists of 2 lessons of 40 and 45 minutes duration respectively:

  • Lesson 1 - Definition and evolution of food systems
  • Lesson 2 - A sustainable food systems approach

The online version of this course runs on the latest versions of the major browsers, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

The downloadable version only runs on Windows PC’s and no additional software is needed.

Digital certification

This course offers certification. You will get your digital badge upon passing a final exam after completing the course and achieving a grade of at least 75%. Please click on the button below to complete the exam, or refer to our Certification section to learn more.

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    • Partners

      This course was developed in collaboration with the One Planet Network's Sustainable Food Systems Programme" 

        German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development