Kamyar Enshayan & Audrey Tran Lam, 2:00-3:50PM (Tuesday)
**2 credit hour seminar – 1st year Presidential Scholars ONLY
Course Description: “Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.” The EAT Lancet Commission
First, food and nutrition are central to human health. Indeed, many of the top 10 causes of death in the United States are directly related to diet and lifestyle. Second, humans are deeply integrated into the natural environment; what damages our air, water, climate, and soil implicitly harms human health. Third, Iowa and the Midwest are credited with feeding the world, but are we nourishing it? The impact that food has on human health isn’t limited to diet, but extends to what (and how!) is grown.
There is a deeply complex relationship between ecological sustainability and human health, and solutions to improving both can be found upstream on the farm. Through discussions, special assignments, and field trips we will learn about the nature of our current food system and explore questions like why is it that in an agricultural region like Iowa, most of what we eat is coming from elsewhere? Has it always been like this? How do we strengthen the edible food economy of our region? Is it possible to have productive agriculture without damaging Iowa’s soil, water, and biodiversity?
Kamyar Enshayan – I work at UNI’s Center for Energy & Environmental Education with an amazing team who are doing cutting-edge work in Iowa in translating what we know into action at the community scale. After grad school, I worked on a vegetable farm in Maine and ever since then I have had the privilege of doing actual projects in the community here to strengthen the local food economy of our region since 1997. I have enjoyed teaching environmental studies, mostly exploring matters of food, agriculture, energy and land. Paying attention to the home region and serving our community is my passion. I love going on long, multi-day bicycle trips.
Audrey Tran Lam – I’ve been lucky enough to serve at the CEEE since late 2017 where I manage the environmental health initiatives. My main responsibility at the Center is to oversee the statewide public health education program, Farming for Public Health, through which I get to facilitate the Pesticides & Public Health Working Group. My educational background is in public health, plant-based nutrition, and food systems (specifically, how they intersect with the environment). Like Kamyar, I also worked on a vegetable farm in between receiving my undergraduate degree and my graduate studies. I love to garden and bake cookies.