Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sustainable Food Systems Offers Three New Classes

Tempe based Rio Salado College now offers three new classes for students who dream of becoming a world-renowned cook -- or those who just want to make healthy, sustainable meals at home.

The new classes, including AGS 182 Gardening Practices and Techniques, CUL 113 Commercial Baking Techniques and CUL 105 Principles and Skills for Professional Cooking, provide students with hands-on experience working in Rio Salado’s on-site garden and Café.

The classes are part of the sustainable food systems program led by Director Michael Hodgins and are presented in a hybrid format. Students meet in-person twice a week and complete online assignments on their own schedule.

“I think these classes are a great experience for any students interested in food, gardening or sustainability in general. The classes are structured so that no prior knowledge or experience is needed,” said Hodgins. “Students come out of these classes with knowledge that they can apply to a future job in the industry and to their home lives. They also learn how to complete the food cycle, which includes growing food, preparing food and composting food which goes back into the garden.”

The knowledge and skills needed to maintain an organic kitchen are increasingly in demand as consumers become aware of the benefits of a healthy diet. Not only do organic meals promote a healthy lifestyle for the individual, but learning to recognize and cultivate organic food sources promotes a cultural shift that may contribute to a healthier and more sustainable society.

“I think consumers are seeing an obesity epidemic everywhere they look. Allergies are running rampant, there are schools that don’t even serve peanut butter,” said Hodgins. “Many people are seeing a connection between food and health that I don’t think they were as in tune with 10-20 years ago.”

Although buying your produce at a local farmer’s market can be more expensive than the traditional alternative, it’s worth the elevated price, said Hodgins.

“It is true that food from small scale, sustainable farms is often more expensive than food that is produced in the industrial food system. However, I’d rather pay a little more up front than pay massive medical bills on the back end.”

The Café and Garden @ Rio will host the second annual Food Day Celebration on October 24th from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in partnership with Mesa Community College, Tempe High School and Chipotle. The event will include cooking demonstrations, a farmer’s market, garden tours and more. Students who are interested in these classes or a sustainable food systems certificate can learn more at or


Deanne said...

I am very disappointed FON135 Sustainable Cooking (3) is no longer available and has been replaced with CUL113 Commercial Baking. Commercial Baking by its nature is a mass production concept where Sustainable Cooking is cooking to meet needs not mass producing a product. I understand now if I wish to take FON135 I need to take it at another college and have the credits transferred to Rio Salado College. If we are looking to be a sustainable college offering a sustainable degree program then the courses should reflect the sustainable philosophy.

DLC said...

I think that before you make comments such as this you need to actually understand the degree and what goes on in that kitchen and the classes held there, including the baking part. Unlike other schools that just tell you how to make a kitchen more sustainable or to cook/bake in a more mindful way Rio Salado puts this into action.

Aquaponics - Sustainable Food Production said...

As a big time fan and advocate of aquaponics - the sustainable, eco-friendly system of growing fish and organic vegetables in a symbiotic system - I'd love to see your college (and as many others as possible) offer a class on this too.

jazzy jones said...

Organic kitchen is the need of today's world. These courses must be run and more of the publicity of such type of courses is required. Today as the world is moving towards the food which is harmful. Due to usage of pesticides there is high yield but the soil suffers the results and nutrition of the fruit or vegetable vanishes. Therefore taking care of the new technology such system must be developed which make profit to the farmer as well as the consumers.
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