Sustainable Food Systems MS

Signature Courses
Food Justice and Sustainable Food Systems
Place, Sustainability and Diets: EcoNutrition
Theory and Practice in Agroecological Systems
Food System Biodiversity: Sustainable Diets
Social Values and Value Chains: Farm to Plate Sustainability
Food and Agriculture: Advance Policy


Join with others who are passionate about the transformative power of food in the work to create equity, opportunity, health & wellbeing, regenerative environments, and sustainability. The M.S. degree in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) at Prescott College is an experience that combines a vibrant online learning environment with the skills, support, knowledge, and networks to help you become a leader in the movements to establish food justice, strong regional food economies, sustainable diets and health, food policy, biodiversity, agroecology, and more!

“The food system is complex and adaptive. It’s important to remember that doing what you can, in this moment, to support sustainable food systems in your community is essentially the process of building relationships. By cultivating these authentic relationships (with people and the earth) and interlocking this way of knowing and doing bioregionally, nationally, and globally, transformative change emerges—that is, values-based food systems that create equity, resilient economies, healthier people, and regenerative natural environments.”

— Dr. Lisa Trocchia, Program Coordinator, M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems

We recognize that people working in changing food systems tend to be rooted in place, and the MSFS program allows students to remain committed to their communities and professions. Not only do students explore their own bioregional foodsheds, but they also contrast their findings with students from other parts of the U.S. and abroad, enhancing their understanding of food system dynamics and leverage points for change.

Distinguished faculty members provide individual support that builds food systems competencies, leadership skills, academic proficiencies, and professionalism, preparing you for successful career choices and advancement opportunities.

The MSFS program consists of 36 credit hours. We cap each course at 22 students, but our typical class size is 15-18 students: perfect for individualized attention and quality group discussion.

We also offer optional concentrations across three distinct areas of focus:

Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity: This concentration is designed for students who work in dietetics and nutrition, culinary arts, food security, public health, and other food system fields where knowledge of sustainable diets can play an important role in ensuring food and nutrition security. Of the 36 credit hours required for the degree, students concentrating in Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity will complete nine credits related to this focus. Assignments in all courses and the final capstone project are designed by students to ensure that sustainable diets and biodiversity, nutrition security, and health and wellbeing are emphasized. The concentration challenges students to understand dietary diversity as an ecosystem service, nutrition-sensitive agricultural value chains, and how to build resilience into fragile and fleeting diet and knowledge systems.

Food Justice: This concentration is designed for students seeking to shift global, industrial food systems toward equitable, just, and sustainable foodways. Food justice engages with critical theory and decolonial praxis as tools to explore issues such as food access, food and farmworker rights, and food sovereignty. Students concentrating in Food Justice will complete nine of the required 36 program credits related to this area of focus. Assignments in all courses and the final capstone project are designed by students to convey a deep understanding of how systems of power and oppression are expressed in the food system, identifying these challenges to develop strategies for transformative change.  

Food Entrepreneurship: This concentration is designed for students who have a vision for impacting food system change through self-employment or other food-based entrepreneurial endeavors. Intentionally designed businesses can support just and sustainable food systems development on multiple scales. Students concentrating in Food Entrepreneurship will complete nine of the required 36 program credits related to this area of focus. Assignments in all courses and the final capstone project are designed by students to ensure they deepen their understanding of sustainability and organizational success as products of social, economic, and environmental responsibility.

“Courage is the key to this [change]. But it’s very hard to do things alone that are courageous. So find the one, or two, or three, or a crowd of people…and together take action, because I do think that courage is contagious.”

— Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet 

We Lead the Way!

Bioregional Approach: Our master’s degree programs combine the best of online learning with intensive locally applied experience. We call it a bioregional approach to distance education. Rather than learning about food systems solely through examples in a textbook, you can engage with your “home place” to gain knowledge and apply new concepts and skills.

Outstanding Faculty: Our faculty possess in-depth experience, in the U.S. and internationally, teaching and researching concepts in sustainable agriculture, sustainable diets, and food systems. We are proud that our faculty are recognized as leaders in their fields.

Leaders in Sustainability – Focused on Justice: Prescott College has built a national reputation in higher education for teaching sustainability committed to social and environmental justice.

Diverse Perspectives: Our students are from across the United States and around the globe and in a rich peer-learning and sharing environment, they bring a breadth of perspectives and experiences not often found in traditional graduate programs.

Proven Online Learning System and Small Classes: Our students focus on their studies, not on dealing with technological glitches. We keep our class sizes small (generally no more than 20 students per section). This ensures that you have meaningful interactions with your fellow students and receive individualized attention from your instructors.

food-systems-fridayJoin us for our "Food Systems Friday" Webinar Series! Dr. Robin Currey welcomes guests from around the world to discuss topics spanning from COVID-19, resiliency, and food security to sustainable nutrition, and food justice. 



  • Develop a complex systems approach to understanding sustainable food systems, their historical development, ecological foundations, socio-economic dynamics, policy aspects and the cultural values that create contemporary food systems
  • Develop an understanding of agroecological production systems and ecosystem services in order to apply best practices to vegetable, fruit, medicinal plant and livestock sectors, at different scales in different bioregions
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze different components of a food system -- origins, production, processing, distribution, preparation, consumption and waste -- in order to assess economic, ecological, and social justice and sustainability
  • Apply professional and analytical skills to build and encourage sustainable practices to leverage food system change within communities, businesses, the non-profit sector, and/or policymaking organizations
  • Apply quantitative and qualitative methods and tools for food system analyses and sustainability impact measurement in order to address local and global food system challenges
  • Recognize and analyze problems and opportunities and develop solutions for local and global food system issues that integrate (1) skills and knowledge of the functional areas of food systems and (2) the interdisciplinary analysis of food system dynamics


  • Registered Dietitians
  • Faculty at Culinary Institutes
  • Entreprenuers
  • Farm Managers
  • Campus Farm Managers
  • Market Gardeners
  • Teachers
  • Nutrition Educators
  • Agricultural Extension Agents
  • Food Service Director/Food Hub Manager
  • Local Food Procurement Specialist
  • Farm-to-Table Program Coordinators and Directors
  • Policy Directors for Organic Advocacy Organizations
  • Non-Profit Program Director


  • Completed application
  • Essay
  • Current resume
  • List of references
  • Official transcripts