With the support of an NEH Humanities Connections grant and a Pathways Annual Grant, the program is in the process of developing an undergraduate minor in collaboration with the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, open to students from across Virginia Tech. The minor will include our new Introduction to Food studies course along with a Sustainable Food Systems course; electives from across the humanities, social sciences, and applied sciences; hands-on learning courses; and a capstone course that can be fulfilled by study abroad, internship, thesis, or other experiential learning. If you have courses you'd like to add to or develop for the minor, please email Program Director Anna Zeide, firstname.lastname@example.org. We have supported the design of 9 new Food Studies courses from humanities and social science perspectives that will be part of the minor.
Global Education is a valuable component of the Food Studies program, as students and faculty experience the ways that food links cultures, economies, and environments around the world. Our primary partner program is the program in Food, Sustainabily, & the Environment (FSE) at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. We have other partner programs in the works. See this page to learn more about our Education Abroad programs.
Learning from Experience: Food Studies Programs Project
Funded by a Humanities Connections grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Tech Food Studies Program sought to gain insight from established food studies programs in order to develop the curriculum for a new humanities-focused food studies minor and to build our interdisciplinary program more generally. We invited food studies leaders from a range of institutions to offer virtual presentations [webinar series] about and written accounts of their programs' histories, events, curricula, and central lessons. We now share these materials with the broader food studies community.
Webinar Series: How Do Other Food Studies Programs Work?
This webinar series features Alice Julier (Chatham University), Daniel Bender (University of Toronto), Megan Elias (Boston University), Matthew Hoffman (University of Southern Maine), Krishnendu Ray (NYU), Stephen Wooten (University of Oregon), and Tony VanWinkle (Sterling College/Guilford College). See Webinar Series
The Food Timeline
The Food Studies program, in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Special Collections and University Archives, has acquired The Food Timeline. This website and accompanying physical library is the most comprehensive inventory of historical food knowledge online. Since the death of its founder, Lynne Olver, her family had been looking for a new steward. See the Eater article about the initial search for a new home and the follow-up article about VT's acquisition. Virginia Tech is proud to carry on Olver’s legacy and create space for new research and student internship opportunities through this powerful resource.
Providing the opportunity for hands-on learning is a core part of the Food Studies student experience. We are developing relationships to create internship opportunities across a range of sites, including VT Dining Services, libraries, local farms, local restaurants, and programs that promote food security. We hosted our inaugural Student Intern in fall 2021 in work with Special Collections and University Archives on The Food Timeline and the broader Food & Drink History Collections. In Spring 2022, we hired our first Communications Intern, who helped launch our Food Matters Registered Student Organization and worked with us on developing marketing and recruiting materials.
Southern Baking Oral History Project
Throughout 2022, we carried out an oral history project with The Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), focused on the role of baking through public events like festivals and county fairs in Patrick County, Virginia. Located in the Piedmont and Appalachian foothills, this rural area has strong historical ties to apple and peach orchards and to the production of grain. Its proximity to tourist destinations like the Blue Ridge Parkway and the town of Floyd support annual events like the Apple Dumpling Festival, Virginia State Peach Festival, the Strawberry Festival, and more common annual events like county fairs, all of which draw bakers as contest entrants and vendors. These interviews will become part of SFA's Southern Baking oral history archives.
Food Matters RSO
In Spring 2022, we created a new Registered Student Organization (RSO), called Food Matters. This club is dedicated to all things food. We'll get together to eat, cook, garden, forage, learn about food cultures and food politics, and think about how food matters in our world. Sign up here for more information and join us on GobblerConnect.
Each Monday during the semester, we will send out to our listserv (Join Here) a Weekly Newsletter with events, calls for papers, recommended reading, and other resources. Please send items for submission to email@example.com. Access past issues of our newsletter: | Fall 2020 | Spring 2021 | Fall 2021 | Spring 2022