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Sustainable Food Systems

The Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Sustainable Food Systems curriculum is designed for students with diverse interests in sustainable food careers. Graduates will gain a foundational understanding of the impact of agricultural practices and policies on ecosystems, economies and human cultures. Courses include concepts supporting contemporary food movements, which focus on local and global food systems. In addition, courses will cover careers in sustainable food systems, fundamentals of sustainability, basic nutrition, organic foods production, community garden concepts, food preparation laws and sanitation guidelines, basic principles and techniques for sustainable cooking, and food practices, attitudes and beliefs of different cultures. Foundational courses will equip students with the necessary hands-on skills for employment or self-employment in food service, community gardens and farm-to-table operations. This Certificate will provide Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for professionals who wish to distinguish themselves with expertise in this cutting edge field.


Details iconImportant information you’ll need when applying for admission:
Field of Interest
Health Sciences
Academic Plan
Sustainable Food Systems (CER)
Academic Plan Code
Total Credits Required
Catalog Year
Effective term
Fall 2019

Students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses within the program.

What You'll Learn

This pathway map will help you gain the expertise needed to:

  1. Describe basic nutrition principles.
  2. Explain how food culture varies by factors such as region, country, ethnicity, religion, and climate.
  3. Examine food entrepreneurship principles and processes.
  4. Apply the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind required in the range of careers available in sustainable food systems.
  5. Relate high-input and low-input sustainable agricultural production to local, regional, and global impact.
  6. Communicate effectively, orally and in writing, utilizing the vocabulary of food systems.
  7. Operationalize sustainable solutions to the problem of food waste.
  8. Describe how agricultural practices have altered communities, cultures, health, and food safety.
  9. Recognize the cultural, economic, environmental and sociological influences on food systems throughout history.
  10. Explain food and agricultural policy effects on human, food, and economic systems.
  11. Implement sustainable kitchen practices and cooking techniques, including strategies for maximizing use of whole, local, seasonal, and nutrient-dense food.
  12. Implement basic garden-to-table food production and preparation skills.
  13. Employ food safety and sanitation guidelines.
Career Opportunities

Successful completion of this certificate may lead to employment in a variety of different occupations and industries. Below are examples of related occupations with associated Arizona-based annual median wages* for this program. Education requirements vary for the occupations listed below, so you may need further education or degrees in order to qualify for some of these jobs and earn the related salaries. Please visit with an academic advisor and/or program director for additional information.

First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers


* Wage information sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program. Updated May 2019.
Admission Criteria


Course Sequence by Term

The following is the suggested course sequence by term. Please keep in mind:

  • Students should meet with an academic advisor to develop an individual education plan that meets their academic and career goals. Use the Pathway Planner tool in your Student Center to manage your plan.
  • The course sequence is laid out by suggested term and may be affected when students enter the program at different times of the year.
  • Initial course placement is determined by current district placement measures and/or completion of 100-200 level course and/or program requirements.
  • Degree and transfer seeking students may be required to successfully complete a MCCCD First Year Experience Course (FYE) within the first two semesters at a MCCCD College. Courses include AAA/CPD150, AAA/CPD150AC, CPD104, and AAA115/CPD115. Course offerings will vary by college. See an academic, program, or faculty advisor for details.

Full-time Sequence

Full-time status is 12 credits to 18 credits per semester.

Term 1

A sequence of suggested courses that should be taken during Term 1
Course Name Requisites Notes Area Credits
SUS231 Careers in Sustainability Critical course Gateway course 1
ENG101 or
First-Year Composition or First-Year Composition for ESL Critical course FYC 3
FON135 Sustainable Cooking 3
SSH111 Sustainable Cities Critical course Gateway course G, HU, SB 3
FON104 Certification in Food Service Safety and Sanitation 1

Term 2

A sequence of suggested courses that should be taken during Term 2
Course Name Requisites Notes Area Credits
FON161 Sustainable Food Production Systems Critical course Gateway course 3
FON143 Food and Culture G 3
FON163 or
Sustainable Kitchen Practices or Food Entrepreneurship RC 3
FON100 or
Introductory Nutrition or Principles of Human Nutrition Critical course Lab is not required for this program or SG in combination with FON241LL 3
Course Area Key

Gateway Course = Generally the first major-specific course in a pathway.

Critical Course = A course that is highly predictive of future success in a pathway.


Students must earn a grade of C or better for all courses required within the program.

Course Sequence total credits may differ from the program information located on the MCCCD curriculum website due to program and system design.

View MCCCD’s curriculum website for the Certificate of Completion in Sustainable Food Systems (

At Maricopa, we strive to provide you with accurate and current information about our degree and certificate offerings. Due to the dynamic nature of the curriculum process, course and program information is subject to change. As a result, the course list associated with this degree or certificate on this site does not represent a contract, nor does it guarantee course availability. If you are interested in pursuing this degree or certificate, we encourage you to meet with an advisor to discuss the requirements at your college for the appropriate catalog year.

Previous Catalog Years

The pathway map presented above is for the current catalog year and is the intended pathway map for new students. All previous catalog years for this pathway map are available at the link below.

Previous catalog years for Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Sustainable Food Systems