The Food and Sustainability Studies Program
The Food and Sustainability Studies Program (FSSP) at the Umbra Institute is a curricular concentration that applies an interdisciplinary approach to the study of food and sustainability – history, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, business, politics, science, agriculture, and sustainability – to discover how the individual, the community, and society relate to food in Italy, America, and elsewhere. The program is composed of three courses in food studies including two core courses and a choice of one of the following courses: Business of Wine or Anthropology of Food. In addition to the three courses, the program includes an Italian language course and an optional elective course for a total of 14-18 credits.
Each thematic course includes a series of co- and extra-curricular activities that are an integral part of the curriculum; they include guest lectures, site visits, field trips, and hands-on experience. These activities will allow you to directly observe the concepts studied in the classroom and analyze issues surrounding Italian and global food culture from varied approaches and perspectives. While the program could also be for those of you interested casually in food, it is particularly well suited to those hoping to enter a career in food. Those of you who complete all three FSSP courses will receive a certificate from the Umbra Institute documenting your participation, and many of our alumni have jobs that relate to food. We also have a new collaboration with the Master of Arts in Food Studies at the University of the Pacific (see below).
HSIT 350: History and Culture of Food in Italy – Core Course #1
One of the two required courses of the FSSP, this class presents a history of food culture in Italy from Roman times through the Renaissance to the present. You will learn that far from being stable, Italian culinary “traditions” have been in a state of constant flux, the result of an ever-changing combination of political, economic, and social variables. You will participate in eight practica with local experts to learn about Italian foods. These graded workshops incorporate a knowledge of production, quality evaluation, and biochemical information.
Activities, Seminars, and Workshops
• Olive Oil • Wine • Aperitivo
• Coffee • Beer • Gelato
• Cheese • Pizza
Two traditional Umbrian meals at local restaurants to experience the regional food heritage
Overnight Trip to Emilia-Romagna to visit parmigiano (parmesan cheese), prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar producers
Truffle hunting day trip to the Apennines
STFS 330: Sustainability and Food Production in Italy – Core Course #2
The second required course, this class focuses on the radical increase in food production over the last 50 years and the ecological and social problems it has created, as well as on some possible solutions: the organic movement, Slow Food, innovative food technologies, and the shift towards local food. You will be able to discover local markets and producers in Perugia, and these direct experiences will reinforce the topics studied in class.
Day trip to Spello to discover biodynamic agriculture and Chianina (a local breed) cattle farming at Agriturismo Le Due Torri. After the farm, the students visit the organic winery Di Filippo.
Service Learning Project
You will dedicate a portion of class time to developing the RepEat ® Take Home Box Project in an effort to reduce avoidable food waste and inform others about its environmental and social impact. You will lead a workshop in a local high-school to raise awareness on the problem of food waste.
ANFS 370: The Anthropology of Food – Optional Course #1
This course will address food related issues from an anthropological perspective. It will examine the role food plays in shaping group and personal identities with a particular focus on Italy and the U.S. Through ethnographic research, you will explore how local food “traditions” change over time and space, and how culinary knowledge is used by people in different ways. The course will focus on food as material and immaterial heritage through an analysis of food museums and eco-museums, as well as exploring the role of food in Italian to understand the changing attitudes and roles of men and women towards food and cooking. You will study food as a site of cultural transmission, but also of dissent and resistance, with a focus on social movements around “food justice” and alternative food distribution networks.
Field Trips and Ethnographic Research
The course will incorporate a variety of learning experiences: mini-ethnographic projects on food producers and workers in Umbria; a field trip to artisan food producers; and a visit to food museums and eco-museums. Through these class exercises, you will become active participants and engage in ethnographic research in the classroom and in the local community.
BSFS 380: The Business of Wine: Italy and Beyond – Optional Course #2
This course explores the business and marketing of wine, with special focus on U.S. markets, where Italian wine counts for 30% of all wine imports. In addition, new wine markets have recently emerged worldwide. This growing interest has strengthened the role of traditional key players of the wine trade such as importers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, while helping to create new professional figures such as wine writers, wine club managers, and event promoters. In this course, you will learn skills that help equip them to take on such roles. The course includes business simulations, and you will produce a start-up or marketing project.
Field Trips & Service Learning Project
Day trip to Umbrian winery for a tour and wine tasting with the owner.
You will apply classroom knowledge of Italian and American wine industries to a service learning project with Terre Margaritelli Winery, an eco-friendly Umbrian wine producer with international exportation. After a company visit, you will work on specific projects designed around the needs and goals of the winery, informed by market analysis, research on exportation and competitors, and potential for company expansion. The final course project is to prepare a product proposal for the winery with assistance from the professor, an enologist and wine marketer.
ITLN 101-310 – Italian Language
All students who attend the Umbra Institute must take an Italian language course or a course taught in Italian as part of their semester curriculum. All levels of study are available from beginner to advanced from 4- to 6-credits.
Elective Course – Optional
Those of you who take the three Food and Sustainability Studies courses and Italian language may also take an additional course if desired. You may choose from any of the Umbra Institute’s offerings in areas such as history, literature, studio art, art history, creative writing, international marketing, politics, and psychology.
Program Fee: $16,825.00
The fee includes:
Fees do not include: Transatlantic airfare and meals are not included in program fee
Opportunities for FSSP Alumni
For those who successfully complete the Umbra Food & Sustainability Studies in Italy Program, there are a number of post-program opportunities for students wishing to continue on to a Master’s program in food studies, intern at a winery or in the food-related industry, or go straight to seeking full-time employment. Umbra FSSP alumni enjoy the following options:
Summer Winery Internship
As an Umbra summer intern at the eco-friendly Roccafiore Winery, you will assist in marketing, hospitality, wine exportation, and the management of their operations. This experience will help you gain invaluable insight into many aspects of the wine industry, including wine making and wine tasting culture, the global wine trade, and the techniques wineries use to reach their diverse international customers. The Roccafiore environment also offers the opportunity to observe how Umbrian culture, wine tradition, and organic approach merge to form a unique and successful business venture. Interesting for majors in: Business, Sustainability, Marketing, Food Studies, Environmental Studies
Positions Available: 1-2
Location: Todi (28 miles from Perugia)
Dates: Monday, May 23, 2016 – Friday, June 24, 2016
Cost: $1,495 – This fee covers the intern housing and utility bills in Perugia, transportation to and from the cantina, insurance, administrative fees, and the Umbra internship tutor.
Total Hours: 120 hours
Application Deadline: Monday, March 7, 2016
Study Visa Requirement: None. It is not necessary to apply for another study visa as you will have 90 days as a tourist after the student visa expires.
Housing: You will be housed with international or Italian students in a shared apartment in the Perugia city center.
Requirement: You must have taken BSFS 380: The Business of Wine: Italy and Beyond during the fall or spring semester. Preference will be given to those who complete the Food Studies Program. Intermediate or higher proficiency in Italian is also preferred.
Graduate Program, Internships and Employment
Thinking about a food-related career or graduate study after you finish college? The FSSP had developed a number of strategic partnerships with universities and food-related organizations in the US and Italy. Umbra FFSP graduates will be given preferential admission to the following graduate programs and internships:
Masters of Arts in Food Studies at the University of the Pacific
University of the Pacific”s San Francisco campus, directed by Professor Ken Albala.
Drexel University’s M.S. in Food Science
Also for the Drexel’s online Masters in Hospitality.
Chatham University’s Master of Arts in Food Studies
The Falk School of Sustainability – Pittsburgh, PA.
FSSP graduates will also be given special consideration for internships at Eataly, the fine Italian foods retailer. Eataly has stores in both New York City and Chicago, and is looking for both interns and new employees as it will soon be opening a second Manhattan store. FSSP graduates will have direct contact with Eataly’s chief recruiter.
Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.
If you have any questions about the Food & Sustainability Studies Program at Umbra, please contact us using the form below. We will be happy to assist you with any information or documentation you may need.
Seeing is believing! In addition to the overview above, we have three videos that highlight the Food Studies Program activities and field trips.
Food & Sustainability Studies Program–Pizza Workshop
Food & Sustainability Studies Program–Chianti Trip
Food & Sustainability Studies Program–Truffle Hunt
Food & Sustainability Studies Program–RepEAT Doggie Bag Project