Food & Sustainability Studies Program at Umbra
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 consists of three courses in food studies (two core courses and one of the two optional courses, Business of Wine or Anthropology of Food), 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 students 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 the student interested casually in food, it’s particularly well suited to those hoping to enter a career in food. Students who complete all three FSSP courses will receive a certificate from the Umbra Institute documenting their 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).
Food & Sustainability Studies Program Courses
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. Students 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. Students 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. Students will be able to discover local markets and producers in Perugia, and these direct experiences will reinforce the topics studied in class.
Daytrip to Spello to discover biodynamic agriculture and Chianina (a local breed) cattle farming at Agriturismo Le Due Torri. After the farm we’ll visit the organic winery Di Filippo .
Service Learning Project
Students 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. Students 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 United States. Through ethnographic research, students 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. Students 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 & 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, students 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, students learn skills that help equip them to take on such roles. The course includes business simulations, and students will produce a start-up or marketing project.
• Day trip to Umbrian winery for a tour and wine tasting with the owners
Service Learning Project
Students apply classroom knowledge of Italian and American wine industries to a service learning project with Roccafiore Winery, an eco-friendly Umbrian wine producer with international exportation. After a company visit, students 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 Roccafiore 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
Students who take the three Food & Sustainability Studies courses and Italian language may also take an additional course if desired. They 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.
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)
Internship Dates: Monday, May 23, 2016 – Friday, June 24, 2016
Internship 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 Internship Hours: 120 hours
Application Deadline: Monday, March 7, 2016
Study Visa Requirement: None. It is not necessary to apply for another study visa as students 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: To be eligible for this internship, you must have taken BSFS 380: The Business of Wine: Italy and Beyondduring the fall or spring semester. Preference will be given to applicants who complete the Food Studies Program. Intermediate or higher proficiency in Italian is also preferred.
The Umbra Institute is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence. Umbra instructors are experts in their field and have a history of excellence in teaching. The Food Studies Program instructors deliver engaging, challenging, and worthwhile material to students, employing onsite and experiential learning as part of the curriculum. The Food Studies Program instructors are:
Simon Young, Ph.D. – History and Culture of Food in Italy
Elisa Ascione, Ph.D. – Sustainability and Food Production in Italy, The Anthropology of Food in Italy, Coordinator for the Food Studies Program
Dario Parenti, Laurea – The Business of Wine: Italy and Beyond
Zachary Nowak, A.B.D. – Assoc. Director for the Food Studies Program
The FSSP consists of three courses– the two core courses (HSIT 350: History and Culture of Food in Italy and STFS 330: Sustainability and Food Production in Italy), and one of the two optional courses (ANFS 370: The Anthropology of Food or BSFS 380: The Business of Wine: Italy and Beyond). All Food Studies Program students will enroll in the appropriate level of Italian language, and may also choose to enroll in a fifth elective course which may include an additional lab fee.
|Standard Spring 2015 Program Fees||$15,575.00|
|Total FSSP Lab Fee, Field Trips, Workshops, Course Readers, and Textbooks||$1,250.00|
|Total FSSP Costs per Semester||$16,825.00|
|Summer Internship Fee – 120 hours||$1,495.00|
*Each semester, the Food & Sustainability Studies Program includes:
8 Food activities, seminars, and workshops
1 Overnight trip in Emilia Romagna
1 Day trip to Tuscan butcher
1 Day trip truffle hunting in the Apennine Mountains
1 Day trip to Umbrian winery
Fees do not include: Transatlantic airfare or meals not included in the courses
Please note that all student apartments have well-equipped kitchens for cooking at home.
In future semesters, a single all-inclusive Food & Sustainability Studies Program Fee will replace the individual lab fee costs.
Thinking about a food-related career or graduate study after you finish college? The FSSP is currently developing partnerships with organizations in Italy and the US. These will provide for preferential consideration for both internships and graduate programs in food studies.
Masters of Arts in Food Studies at the University of the Pacific
Students who complete the Umbra Institute FSSP will be given special consideration for admission to the Masters of Arts in Food Studies at the University of the Pacific”s San Francisco campus, directed by Professor Ken Albala.
Drexel University’s M.S. in Food Science
The same consideration will be given to FSSP alumni who apply to Drexel University’s M.S. in Food Science or the new online Masters in Hospitality.
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.
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.