Learn about the ins and outs of the course Circular Business Models for Sustainable Urban Food Systems in this review by Sara Merhi, Nutrition and Food Sustainability consultant.

Who are you?

I am Sara Merhi, a freelance consultant on Nutrition and Food Sustainability, UN Youth Board Member at ProVeg International and a Future Sustainability Leader, part of the Youth4Sustainability initiative, at Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company). I chose a career in food tech after learning about the shortcomings of our current food systems and their interconnectedness with, not only, global health but also, planetary health.

Why did you take this course?  

As part of my transition into a more specific field, sustainable dietary patterns, I grew an interest in making food systems more sustainable. I started self-studying circular models for sustainable food systems, but that was not enough. On my journey towards a career shift, I started looking for courses to further develop and prove my areas of expertise. EIT Food was always my “Go-to” for all matters pertaining to sustainable food systems. That is when I came about this course. 

What goals did you have when taking the course? 

I first took this course to further understand what it would take to move into a circular food system for the promotion of social, economic and environmental sustainability and to make food accessible, affordable and nutritious for all. By taking this course, I was looking at ways to further develop my understanding on changing the current linear food model into a circular one, and what policies and actions need to be implemented to shift food models. Particularly, I was looking at ways and ideas that I can take from this course and implement on-ground, in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and further Middle East Region. 

What did you learn in the course? 

The course helped me tackle current challenges via systems thinking approach. It also gives a helicopter view on all matters that need to be taken into consideration when transitioning into circularity, from stakeholder engagement to leveraging digital platforms, to key unlocks for a successful transition, as well as policies and current challenges that our food systems currently face. 

Thus, the course assisted me to design a circular food system from farm to fork, with a key focus on urban environments and how to shift current urban food systems in line with the global SDG goals.  

What did you like the most about the course? 

The lecturers did an amazing job at breaking down complex ideas into simpler, easier-to-digest ones via articles, videos and interviews with different companies to give us real-life challenges and how they were tackled. 

Most of the learnings were followed by discussions under each subtopic, in which learners can share their own point of view, challenge the status quo and even share where they come from in the world – showing us how food systems can differ from culture to culture and what challenges are faced in different parts of the world. 

What would you say to someone considering taking the course?  

First, if you don’t study, you will not easily pass the quizzes. Circular business models, with a lens specifically on food systems, is a rather complicated idea to grasp. Second, follow the material and treat the course as if it were a university course – for the betterment of your skills, to be used in the future workforce. Finally, make sure it is an area you are passionate about and ready to commit to!

The course Circular Business Models for Sustainable Urban Food Systems is now available on the EIT Campus. Enrol now and discover how to switch from linear to circular food systems!