Duke Immerse: 

A signature education initiative of Duke University

Imagining the Future of Food

Food System Life Cycle Analysis


Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to identify the magnitude, type and location of the environmental impacts caused by all the stages of a production process, from the gathering of raw materials, to the disposal of the product at the end of its life. LCA is useful to better understand and estimate the environmental impacts associated to the production, transportation, storage, and waste of food for human consumption. This course introduces fundamental concepts and methods to conduct Environmental Life Cycle Assessments, and trains students in the use of open source software to conduct streamlined analyses.  It includes a discussion of the Economic-Input Output LCA (EIO-LCA) method which was theorized and developed by economist Wassily Leontief in the 1970s and applied to the U.S. economy in the 1990s by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University.  The course will pay special attention  to the water and energy use associated with food production and processing.


Fall 2021

Introduction to Environmental Life Cycle Assessment: Applications to Food Systems
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