Legume-supported sustainable agri-food systems, 5 ECTS

Last changed: 06 September 2022

Time: 24–28 October 2022. Location: Helsinki, Finland

Course description

Our current food production and consumption practices are confronted by big environmental and societal challenges, such as the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, the moves toward a circular economy, and the increasingly common diseases of affluence. The multidisciplinary PhD course ‘Legume-supported sustainable agri-food systems’ will provide students with in-depth updated knowledge and interaction on the potential of legume-supported agri-food systems to respond to these challenges both in their specific field of interest and as a part of the whole food system. 

Teaching will cover a range of applied topics related to production and consumption of legumes, including:

  • Roles of legumes in sustainable agri-food systems
  • Cultivation and breeding of legumes
  • Composition and processing of legumes
  • Legumes in human and animal nutrition
  • Consumer acceptance, culture, markets, and value chains
  • Environmental impacts of legume production and consumption
  • Policy tools for promoting legume production and consumption
Teaching format

Course covers legumes from field to the dinner table. The course will incorporate lectures and research-oriented pre- and post-assignments as both individual and group work. A multidisciplinary approach will be applied throughout the course. Course starts with self-paced studying period when students produce individually a research proposal related to their expertise and legumes. Intensive week (5 d) at Helsinki includes lectures, discussions and groupwork, where teams of 2-4 students produce an integrated, multi-disciplinary research proposal. Teams continue working with these proposals after the intensive week and present their work in online final session within 1 month.

Prerequisite knowledge

The course is intended for PhD students with an interest in the roles of legumes in the sustainability of agri-food systems and diets. Relevant fields include but are not limited to: agriculture, biological and environmental science, food science, human nutrition, social sciences.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, students will understand the role of legumes in agri-food systems along with their global impacts on the environment, health and food security, the potential for change, and the cultural, sociological and economic aspects of these roles. Students are able to reflect on how changes have happened in the past and how favourable changes can be brought about in the future. They will understand the importance of working with other disciplines and their contribution to the research on the transition towards legume-supported sustainable agri-food systems.


Evaluation is based on active participation and the production of pre- and post-course assignments. The course will be graded as pass/fail. Students produce a 2-page research proposal as a pre-assignment of the course. During the course, students will give feedback on each other’s proposals and form multi-disciplinary teams of 2 - 4 people with complementary interests. After the course, these teams will produce an integrated, multi-disciplinary research proposal.

  • Virtual course kick-off with pre-assignment introduction: September 29, 2022 at 9-11 o’clock EEST via Zoom
  • Intensive week: 24–28 October 2022, Helsinki, Finland
  • Virtual final session: End of November 2022 (date TBC) via Zoom
Course organizer

University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

Course location (intensive week)

Taitotalo Malminkartano, address: Jälsitie 5, 00410 Helsinki. Easily accessible by public transport from the airport and the central railway station.



Registration deadline: 16 September 2022.

Contact person

Marjukka Lamminen, Marjukka.lamminen@helsinki.fi