The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Studies program at the Institute at Palazzo Rucellai invites you to spend three months studying food, nutrition and sustainable agriculture in the beautiful region of Tuscany. Palazzo Rucellai is located on the splendid Via della Vigna Nuova, in the heart of Florence. Designed in the fifteenth century by Leon Battista Alberti, the famous façade has influenced generations of architects the world over.
The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Studies program at Palazzo Rucellai is distinctive both for its interdisciplinary and comparative approach to food, nutrition and sustainability, and its combination of in-class teaching, field work and study tours. Students on this program will have the opportunity to experience a particularly rich food culture with innovative approaches to issues of environmental and economic sustainability, quality oriented food production and nutrition, as well as food promotion and hospitality industry. Strong focus will be placed on the issues of organic farming, sustainable agriculture, and the defense of bio-diversity. You will also learn about the characteristics of food production which are either uniquely characteristic of, or particularly prevalent in, Italy.
This program is designed for undergraduate students of agricultural sciences, economics and business administration, environmental studies, nutrition science, and students generally interested in food and sustainability studies. It further aims to provide students with a unique opportunity to develop global citizenship through awareness and understanding of cultural diversity abroad.
You will follow an interdisciplinary set of class lectures on Italian Food History, Environmental Economics, Sustainable Agriculture and the Mediterranean Diet. Courses will make full use of the culture of the city and the region. Students on this program will enroll in the following set of course at Palazzo Rucellai, taught by professors from the University of Connecticut and international faculty from Palazzo Rucellai.
HIST 3933 – Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems: A Historical Perspective – 3 credits
Instructor: P. Fischer, PhD – ISI Florence faculty
ARE 4993 – The Business of Sustainable Food Supply Chains in Italy – 3 credits
Instructor: C. Woollard, MBA – ISI Florence faculty
AGNR 3093 – Sustainability of Food and Environmental Systems in the US and Italy: A Comparative Perspective – 3 credits
Instructors: P. Miniutti, Phd; G. Risatti, PhD; C. Faustman, PhD – UConn faculty
INTD 1933 – Italian Language: The Florence Experience – 4 credits
Instructor: D. Marini, MA – ISI Florence faculty
ANTH 1093 – Cultural Literacy Workshop – 1 credit
Instructor: C. Tarchi, PhD – ISI Florence faculty
Although no prior study of the language is required, you will enroll in the appropriate level of the "Florence Experience" course (I,II,III,IV), in which you will learn Italian in the classroom and through direct contact with many aspects of Italian culture.
As part of the program, you will participate in a series of study tours and field experiences, taking you out of the classroom and into direct contact with the people and places where food is made. You will have the opportunity to learn directly from Italian farmers and producers, processors, sales and marketing professionals and chefs. This innovative educational format is a key element in the learning experience provided by the program.Study tours and field experiences range from one to five days, and fall into two categories:
Food Product Study Tours and Field Experiences focus on key Tuscan food items such as olive oil, wine, cheese or meat and give students, in smaller groups, the unique opportunity to get first-hand experiences from the farm to the fork. For example, you will participate in the grape and olive harvests and become familiar with the opportunities and challenges of producing world-renowned wines and olive oils.
Food Culture Study Tours and Workshops focus on the social, economic and cultural factors that have shaped food consumption practices and patterns in Tuscany and in Italy. The study tours and workshops will take full advantage of the rich Mediterranean cuisine and examine firsthand the profound role food plays in community, family, ethnicity, nutrition, health, and national identity.This will include visits to local markets and other on-site visits to provide a differentiated view of the cultural heritage of the Tuscan region as well as cooking lessons with local chefs to learn about the Mediterranean Diet.
Following each trip or activity, students will keep a daily log and analyse their experiences. IFSP tutors are responsible for the planning of study trips, accompanying students and coordinating both learning and logistics. Following each trip, you are responsible for a final written report.