Short Course Description
Food provision remains a critical challenge due to growing global demand and mounting environmental burdens across the globe. At the same time it fails to deliver adequate and nutritious foods to all populations resulting in dernutrition, malnutrition and persisting hunger. Expansion of food production to deserts and arid regions may hold an important part in meeting future demand, but requires a rigorous approach to evaluate its true potential to alleviate food insecurity equitably with reduced environmental impacts.
Sustainability of food systems is generally assessed by using life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is an important tool to assess various aspects of sustainability including climate change (or global warming) impact, water use impact and energy use. Hence, applying this methodology to desert agriculture research will be crucial to assess its future potential.
The aim of the course is to explore the challenges and opportunities of producing foods in desert environments to address growing needs to produce more food sustainability. The course merges indigenous knowledge of desert dwellers as well as cutting-edge high-tech solutions, realizing the large potential of past and present wisdom to meet the aforementioned challenges. It presents LCA as a tool to explore the potential to produce food in a sustainable way in desert environments. The course includes a field trip to the Negev to explore ancient and contemporary desert agriculture and collaborates with researchers from the Arava institute and Sde Boker BGU that
participate in on-going dryland research initiatives.