The Sustainable Food and Environmental Systems Program (SFESP) is tailored for undergraduate students of agricultural sciences, environmental studies, nutritional sciences, economics, business administration, sociology and history, as well as for those generally interested in food and sustainability studies. Our program invites students to explore the sustainability dimensions of how food is produced, transformed, distributed, prepared and consumed in Italy. It offers unique opportunities to engage in a wide range of hands-on experiences through study tours in Italy and field experiences at local markets, soup kitchens, food transport companies as well as grocery stores and restaurants.
ISI Florence Alumnus on TEDTalks
“It was a great opportunity for me to be able to express my ideas on how foraging can help fix our food culture in the United States” Walker Cammack, Connecticut College.
Multimedia classroom lessons (in English), thematic workshops, project-based group work, and a variety of out-door experiences comprising hands-on activities are coordinated in an exciting and rich schedule to integrate theoretical and experiential modes of learning. Our curriculum combines social and natural science together with humanities approaches to analyze historical and contemporary food systems in Italy through diverse disciplinary and methodological frameworks. There are no pre-requisites.
For Fall 2017, the following classes taught by a multi-disciplinary team of faculty are offered:
HIST 3993 – Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems: A Historical Perspective – 3 credits
Instructor: P. Fischer, PhD (ISI Florence) – 45 contact hours
ARE 4993 – The Business of Sustainable Food Supply Chains in Italy – 3 credits
Instructor: C. Woollard, MBA (ISI Florence) – 45 contact hours
AGNR 3093 – Sustainability of Food and Environmental Systems in the US and Italy: A Comparative Perspective – 3 credits
Instructors: J. Volin, PhD, S. Rackliffe, PhD, H. Freake, PhD (all UConn) – 45 contact hours
INTD 1933 – Italian Language: The Florence Experience – 4 credits
Instructor: D. Marini, MA (ISI Florence) – 60 contact hours
CEP 201 – Internship: The Florence Food System – 2 credits
Instructors: SFESP faculty – 84 contact hours
Study Tours and Internship
A rich schedule of Study Tours and the Internship opportunity is what makes the SFESP truly special. They make full use of the study abroad experience, turning Florence, Tuscany, and Italy into a living laboratory.
Through Study Tours students visit Italian farmers and producers, processors, sales and marketing professionals, as well as chefs, to learn about the challenges of sustainable food and environmental systems while the strong internship component of the program allows them to become fully immersed in the complex realities of local food markets and soup kitchens to acquire precious professional and intercultural competences.
The Florence Experience
Florence is renowned worldwide as a food capital. Its vibrant traditional food markets, restaurants, and grocery stores offer unique opportunities to engage with the local community and explore the global-local linkages of food, from production to consumption, with a historical and contemporary perspective.
Italy hosts numerous important international food organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in Parma.
As a result, students have unique opportunities for learning outside the classroom, and can address the ‘big questions’ of food systems and sustainability.
Studying in Florence
The little pleasures of Italian life, the espresso break, the gelato, buying fresh vegetables in family run shops, as well as the Italian approach to time become a natural part of the day. Join us for a true life-changing experience.
The SFESP collaborates successfully with a variety of Tuscan farms, food and environmental groups, food processing and retail companies as well as restaurants and chefs.
It holds partnerships with high governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the Tuscan Regional Government, the prestigious Georgofili Academy, as well as Navdanya International. Moreover, our Program collaborates with prestigious Italian universities such as the ‘Università degli Studi Firenze’, the ‘Università di Bologna’ and the ‘Università degli Studi di Pisa’.