Thursday, July 9, 2009

Students Savor Chance to Study EcoGastronomy

A major in EcoGastronomy? Where do I sign up? The University of New Hampshire (UNH) just announced that it is hosting a group of Italian students this summer who are the first foreign exchange students to participate in the university’s new EcoGastronomy dual major, the first such program at any U.S. university.

Fourteen students from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, are spending the summer living on campus in Durham and learning about the science of food and eating, ecotourism, and advertising. They also are participating in a number of field studies, including those focused on organic gardening, maple syrup production, historic gardens and food preparation, and aquaculture.

In the fall, a group of UNH students will spend the semester at the University of Gastronomic Sciences as part of the joint student exchange program. While in Italy, UNH students will complete a series of upper level core courses such as history of cuisine and gastronomy, food communication, aesthetics, food and wine tourism, food business economics, and sensory analysis. Sensory analysis? I certainly have the nose for that.

A one-of-a-kind learning experience that links the fields of sustainable agriculture, hospitality, and nutrition, the EcoGastronomy program is a partnership of UNH's Whittemore School of Business and Economics and College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, in collaboration with the University Office of Sustainability. EcoGastronomy—the word connects "gastronomy," meaning "the art and appreciation of food," with agriculture and the environment, connoted by "eco"—came about after Slow Food International founder Carlo Petrini came to UNH to receive an honorary degree in 2006. Petrini is founder of the University of Gastronomic Sciences.

"Today’s hospitality students are interested in food and sustainability and how it connects with the local, regional and global food systems. The EcoGastronomy program gives them an advantage in the job market because it sets them apart in a competitive industry that is becoming more sustainably aware," says Dan Winans, faculty coordinator of the dual major and an adjunct professor in hospitality management at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics.

More information about the dual major in EcoGastronomy is available at

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