The Washington Post covered the rise in academic programs related to food – not cooking schools per se, but academic programs surrounding the political, social, cultural, and environmental issues of food. And the new UNH eco-gastronomy program was highlighted, and featured with a photo! I can’t wait for these guys to graduate and be let loose on the world -
Field Studies: In Exploring Culture, Politics and the Environment, Food Programs Hit the Academic Mainstream
By Jane Black, Wednesday, August 20, 2008
This Sunday, 80 Yale University freshmen will take their first step toward higher education. But there’ll be no reading list or, for that matter, showers. On the syllabus: digging up carrots, picking tomatoes and building chicken coops.
The students, who make up 6 percent of the Class of 2012, are part of a pre-orientation program that lets students experience life on a family-owned organic farm. Once on campus, they will be able to register for any of this year’s 19 food and agriculture courses, such as the popular “Psychology, Biology and Politics of Food.” The number of food-related courses is up almost 50 percent from five years ago.
“There’s a generation of students that understand that the modern world has been shaped by agriculture, and they are turning to their curriculum to understand those connections,” says Melina Shannon-DiPietro, director of the six-year-old Yale Sustainable Food Project, which runs the pre-orientation program.
Finally, universities’ emphasis on sustainability, in operations and in the classroom, is paving the way for a greater number of food classes. The new UNH eco-gastronomy major, for example, is an initiative of the university’s office of sustainability, which also promotes biodiversity, climate and culture projects.
The degree requires five courses at UNH, including introduction to eco-gastronomy, sustainable food production, and food and society, plus a semester abroad at Slow Food’s University for Gastronomic Sciences, which teaches artisanal production and oenology. Unlike some other gastronomy programs, UNH’s dual major formally links food appreciation to sustainable food systems. “We want to show students that putting a carrot in your mouth is not just putting a carrot in your mouth. It’s who grew it, how it got to you, who produced the seeds,” says Daniel Winans, a lecturer who will teach the introductory course.