Professional Course

Plant Based Diets: Food for a Sustainable Future

edX, Online
7 weeks
7 weeks
Visit this course's homepage on the provider's site to learn more or book!

Course description

Plant Based Diets: Food for a Sustainable Future

Global issues

Global challenges, like the environment and the pandemic, may seem like overwhelming and distant problems, uninfluenceable by any one person. Thankfully, sometimes the answer is surprisingly simple, the solution right in front of us.

The MOOC Plant Based Diets: Food for a Sustainable Future will take you through the science of three global issues – climate change, infectious diseases, and chronic diseases – and show you how they are directly impacted by what’s on the plate in front of you.

Omnivores, be welcome!

Has, like for so many of us, the idea of eliminating animal products from your diet become somewhat of a hot potato? Please know that any shift from animal products toward plants does the trick. So, this course is for you, too!

Sustainability Impact

Becoming aware of the diet-health-climate connection is incredibly empowering. It enables us to improve not only our own health, but that of both population and planet. With large-scale adoption of a predominantly plant based diet, we can change our entire food system from the bottom-up. And in doing so, the future of food becomes what it must be: sustainable. Tag along as this evidence based course translates these large, overarching problems into bite-sized, daily steps.

Who should attend?


Basic knowledge of natural sciences

Training content

Module 1: Introduction to the Global Challenges & Systems Thinking

Introduction to the current state of the three challenges this MOOC focuses on: climate change, infectious diseases, and chronic diseases. You will learn about systems thinking and how a holistic, bottom-up consumer approach can bring about system change.

Module 2: Food Choices and the Environment

Learn about the food-climate connection and understand how food choices can contribute to current climate emergencies. How can plant-based diets benefit the environment?

Module 3: Food Choices and Viral Pandemics

Find out how western food choices are connected to the emergence and propagation of infectious outbreaks such as COVID-19. Learn about ways to (collectively) reduce the future risk of communicable diseases.

Module 4: Food Choices and Chronic Disease

Learn about the food-disease connection and understand how dietary habits are directly linked to the majority of the top 10 causes of death globally. Find out what plant-based diets can do in the prevention and reversal of some of the most common chronic diseases.

Module 5: Food Choices and Consumer Engagement

Learn about how you, as a consumer, can leverage your food choices and create bottom-up food system change.

Module 6: Proposed Holistic Solution

Learn about the total interconnected system impacts associated with a shift towards mostly plant-based diets. Also find out what other food system actors can do to mitigate the impacts on both planet and people.

Week 7: assignment

In this capstone assignment you will combine the knowledge of the previous modules to formulate your informed perspective of what healthy and sustainable food choices look like on an individual, local, or national level. This assignment can be applied to a practical case of your choice.

Course delivery details

This course is offered through Wageningen University & Research, a partner institute of EdX.

2-3 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$169
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • The relationship between food choices, chronic diseases, the environment, and infectious diseases
  • Systems thinking - learn about the difference between holistic and reductionist approaches
  • Health and environmental benefits of plant-based nutrition
  • Plant-based diets for potential prevention of future infectious diseases
  • Direct and indirect drivers of our food choices
  • How consumers can change the food system bottom-up
  • How your food choices can benefit you and the global challenges

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