Chatham University

Food Studies (MAFS) Curriculum

The Masters of Arts in Food Studies emphasizes a holistic approach to food systems, from agriculture and food production to cuisines and consumption, providing intellectual and practical experience from field to table. Graduates gain analytical and experiential knowledge of global and local food systems. Academic courses provide a critical framework, emphasizing the ways people relate to food within a cultural and historical context. Analyses of global, environmental, and gender issues are centralized in the study of the food system as a cultural, economic, and geographic entity. The 388-acre Eden Hall Campus, with its organic gardens, apiaries, orchards, kitchen and root cellar, provides a working environment for engagement with the practice and pedagogy of sustainable agriculture and culinary arts.

Food Studies is the interdisciplinary domain that includes agricultural and culinary history as well as sociological, cultural, political, economic, and geographic examinations of food production and consumption. At the heart of the curriculum model are a number of common preparatory, experiential, and core courses, which allow students to develop a shared knowledge base and community-based networks. The common preparatory courses provide all students with disciplinary training in both natural and social sciences, linking real world problems with ethics, theory, history, communication, research skills, and experiential learning. Internships and directed study in community settings are encouraged.

Program Requirements

+ Core Courses

15 credits

FST508 Food Systems

Examines philosophical, sociological, econcomic, and cultural issues related to the production and consumption of food. From Agrarianism to the Green Revolution, explores the transformations of industrialization, technology, and migration. Provides foundation in food systems and commodity chains as concepts and methodological tools for uncovering the relationship between communities, agriculture, markets, and consumers.

2
FST509 Food Access

If food is a basic human right, how do societies create universal access to food? What is the moral ethical basis for making citizens food secure in an age of global inequality? To what extent does providing food access need to consider culturally appropriateness, nutrition, and sustainability, and justice?

2
FST510 Food, Culture, History

Provides an overview of food and diet in transnational history, emphasizing cultural impact of modernity of food gathering, farming, plant biology, the body and consumption, health, taste, and cuisine. Topics include the development of agriculture, the causes of famine, the disruptions of colonialism, global exchange, industrialization, migration, and commercial economic dominance of the food system.

3
FST520 Basic Agroecology

Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Campus farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in class. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertility, biodiversity, agriculture history, affects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

3
FST698 Thesis/Project

Course provides supervision and research guidance for Master‘s thesis or projects in Food Studies. Students will have instruction in data analysis, writing for public presentation and publication, professional development workshops, and community development issues.

1
FST620 Research in Food and Agriculture

This course assists students developing a research, educational, public policy, or advocacy project in sustainable farming. Participants study a practical and current sustainable food and/or farming problem, review the literature related to the problem, develop management tactics and strategies to address the problem, and communicate their conclusions. Goal is to develop a research plan and project outcomes for a Masters thesis or project.

2
FST502 Essential Readings in Food and Agriculture

This class provides grounding in essential texts in the contemporary understanding of food and agriculture. Readings include key food histories, journalism, critical nutrition and food industry writers, and agriculture and environmental treatise. Class will meet monthly to analyze texts. Students will contribute to forum and blog discussions throughout the year.

1

+ At least 1 credit of methods including

FST522 GIS: Food and Agriculture

This course provides students with a solid foundation of the principles and applications of GIS, an introduction to the desktop software ArcGIS, and demonstrates its use in the public sectors related to food, agriculture, and resource use. Students will have the flexibility to focus on their particular area of interest through project work.

3
FST600 Oral History Intensive

This course is a practicum designed to allow students intensive experience conducting oral history. It presumes a basic knowledge of research methods and is meant to provide a platform for exploring voice, history, and experience as key issues in the study of food, agriculture, and society. Students will produce three oral history interviews and participate in on-line and in-person discussions of technique, theory, and function.

1
SUS682 Special Topics

In this course, students will critically assess visual products across a range of formats for their design and effectiveness as part of sustainability efforts. Students will then utilize the knowledge to create and teach an environmental science lab for an undergraduate course in the second part of the semester.

2
FST613 Community Research: Food and Health

Research focused on community needs, health and wellness issues, and the relationship between food access, agriculture, and food production. Participation in a pre-selected research study that aims to address some component of health, food access, agriculture, and cooking. May include: engaging relevant community agencies; recruitment of subjects; screening subjects for risk; adhering to IRB regulations; data collection and data entry, aiding in teaching a risk reduction class, participating in the urban garden, and coordinating cooking demonstrations.

1
FST613 Community Research: Food and Health

Research focused on community needs, health and wellness issues, and the relationship between food access, agriculture, and food production. Participation in a pre-selected research study that aims to address some component of health, food access, agriculture, and cooking. May include: engaging relevant community agencies; recruitment of subjects; screening subjects for risk; adhering to IRB regulations; data collection and data entry, aiding in teaching a risk reduction class, participating in the urban garden, and coordinating cooking demonstrations.

1
FST621 Applied Methods

This course provides an introduction to Q methodology, a quantitative/qualitative technique used for understanding diverse perspectives on issues. Students will learn about Q and conduct an independent research project that allows them to practice the technique from conceptualization through analysis.

1

+ Applied Electives

10 credits

FST520L Growing Sustainably Lab

This course is a co-requisite to FST520, Growing Sustainably, and comprises the experiential lab component of the course. Students will engage in sustained research on sustainable agricultural projects, from biodynamic methods to soil or pest management comparatives. Course may be taken up to four times for credit.

1
FST524 Greenhouse Production

Students will explore alternative season extension practices used in cold season production and compare the opportunities available to local farmers who choose to adopt season extension practices. Through class lectures and assignments students will learn the essentials of healthy soil, pest and disease identification, planting, harvesting and marketing opportunities available to sustainable farmers. Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable greenhouse growing with theory presented in class.

3
FST527 Permaculture

Course explores natural systems, aboriginal knowledge and best practices for designing human systems, which reflect care of the earth. It integrates findings of agriculture, horticulture, ecology, alternative energy, community design and green building. Students learn methods of growing and living sustainably, with local examples and applications of permaculture design for Eden Hall.

3
FST528 Tree Care

This course provides an introduction to arboriculture, tree climbing and pruning. The class will teach proper tree pruning and the basics of climbing, as well as basic equipment safety, applicable to tree work in urban or agricultural settings, and an introduction to work as an arborist.

2
FST531 Sustainable Fermentation

Through hands-on production, tastings, lectures, students learn basics of fermentation,winemaking principles and practices, sensory evalution through tastings, viticulture history, wine regions and types, winemaking methods, chemistry and winery operations. Local production includes root beer, beer, sake, local meade and vinegar. Emphasis will be on sustainable viniculture practices and local/global links.

3
FST532 Sustainable Meat Production

As part of sustainable agriculture and culinary knowledge, understanding meat production outside the conventional large scale processing facilities is a critical skill for students who will work with restaurants, farm markets, and other distribution venues.

3
FST608 Culture and Culinary Grains

3
FST609 Dairy: From Pasture to Plate

This multi-disciplinary graduate course examines a range of agro-ecological, philosophical, socio-economic, health, and political issues related to dairy production in the US. Key course themes include: dairy history; sustainable and conventional production; raw milk and consumption debates; livestock care; milking; cheese-making; dairy policy; international issues; and popular representation of dairy.

3
FST614 New Product Development

This course will explore the new product development process from ideation to market. Students will study the methodologies and practices of product development in a traditional Consumer Packaged Good firm and apply modified methods to manage the new product development process for a start-up local distiller. Over the course of an academic year, students will develop and bring to market a liqueur to be sold by Pittsburgh Distilling Co.

3
FST 619 - Cultivating the Midwest: Corn and Soybeans (3)
FST622 Advanced New Product Development

This course explores new product development process from ideation to market. Students study methodologies and practices of product development in a Consumer Packaged Goods firm. Focus for the advanced course includes consumer testing, packaging development, and production process to develop and bring to market a liqueur sold by Pittsburgh Distilling.

3
FST624 Chocolate: Politics and Pleasure

This course will explore chocolate as a global product including history and culture, agriculture (growing trees, processing beans), direct/fair trade, labor and justice, health, chocolate production, sales, marketing, and sustainability. Experiential components include chocolate making, tempering; culinary practices, and site visits to chocolate manufacturers, culminating in the design and marketing of a sustainable chocolate product.

3
FST683 Special Topics

3
FST691 Internship

Internship placement will focus on local nonprofits, advocacy group, community projects, food companies, farms, co-ops, food producers, and policy agencies. Directed experience can include developing products, community knowledge, food system data, or promotional materials (course requires instructor signature).

1
FST692 Internship

Internship placement will focus on local nonprofits, advocacy group, community projects, food companies, farms, co-ops, food producers, and policy agencies. Directed experience can include developing products, community knowledge, food system data, or promotional materials (course requires instructor signature).

2
FST693 Field Work Practicum

Students engage in semester long field work and internships. Class meetings address ethical, logistical, and intellectual issues of community-based work in Food Studies. Site-based project development and implementation occurs in supervised and collaborative settings. Individual meetings with professor provide career development and advance research proposal skills.

3
Students must complete a total of at least 3 internship credits

+ Science Electives

3 credits

FST512 Practical Nutrition

Course provides an overview of nutrition as an evidence-based research field, focusing on groups and communities where research is conducted and then applied. Topics include science and politics of food categories; supplements and functional foods; weight and disordered eating, commercial, local, organic, and conventional foods; cuisine, culture, and diet.

3
FST504 Food Science Principals

We will study scientific literature on nutrient availability before and after cooking, learn about chemical and physical and visual changes to food through various storage and cooking methods and investigate our sensory responses to certain foods in various types of physical and cultural settings.

3
LAR534 Soil Science

The focus of this course is to introduce students to the concept of soil as a natural resource, the basic physical, chemical and biological properties of soils; the management of soils for growth of terrestrial vegetation; the role of soils in buffering watersheds and aquifers from environmental pollutants; and the role of soils in natural and managed landscape and aquifer water budgets. The role of soils and associated vegetation in global carbon budgets will also be discussed. Emphasis is placed on soil as an influential factor in urbanized and disturbed settings.

3
FST607 Sustainable Consumption

3
LAR518 Native Plants

Native Plants focuses on herbaceous flora of Northeastern US, with an emphasis on plant communities and the cultural conditions which give rise to them. Each major ecosystem of the area will be discussed, with emphasis on recreating these in the landscape. Field trips to typical habitat locations will reinforce these concepts.

2

+ Concentration Electives

12 credits, chosen from the following:

FST505 Food and Representations

Food is elemental to survival, culture, home, and subjectivity - to rituals of love, oloss, and celebration. Focusing on representations of food and eating in spiritual narratives, epic texts, myth, novels, and film, this class examines the cultural work food performs along with the varying meanings assigned to food and eating.

3
FST515 Writing About Food

Students will develop technique and skills for writing about food and culture by studying ethics; journalism; advertising, multimodal and new technology venues; recipe writing; food criticism; writing about food in a variety of genres from history to fiction, magazines, and websites. Course emphasizes both print and online media.

3
FST518 Business of Food and Agriculture

In this class the student will learn both history and current practices related to food and agriculture as economic enterprises in the United States and the world. Skills include ability to understand strategic management principles including identifying target markets, niche marketing, SWOT analysis and diffusion of innovation theory. Students will be able to develop a business plan including understanding barriers of entry, compiling demographic data, developing feasibility studies, long and short term business goals, define and calculate a breakeven point, and budget formulation.

3
FST522 GIS: Food and Agriculture

This course provides students with a solid foundation of the principles and applications of GIS, an introduction to the desktop software ArcGIS, and demonstrates its use in the public sectors related to food, agriculture, and resource use. Students will have the flexibility to focus on their particular area of interest through project work.

3
FST526 Agriculture: Systems of Practice

Students explore alternative agriculture practices used in farm management and compare local alternatives such as "Certified Organic", "Certified Naturally Grown', "Permaculture" and "Biodnamic" practices. Through class lectures and assignments students will learn to fulfill requirements for organic certification. Exploration of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) will provide a cultural and historical focus for this course.

3
FST603 Food Journeys

3
FST604 Food, Social Change and Health

3
FST605 Food and Climate Change

This course considers the relationship between Earth's changing climate and the human production and consupmtion of food. With attention to current theories and case studies, students will develp a comprehensive understanding of food systems in relation to global environmental change, with a specific focus on livelihoods, adaptation, sustainability, and justice.

3
FST611 Religion, Community, and Food

This course explains the waqys in which sustainability and communal religious life have Intersected in the U.S. from the 17th century to the present. Using lecture readings, film, and independent research, we will study ethical farming practices, food sustainability, and moral food choices through the lens of American religious communities.

3
FST612 Food, Commerce, and Culture in Japan

Combined with field experiences, this course explores food and culture in commercial and domestic settings in a specific global site, to be determined each summer. Classroom work and field experiences will explore historical, cultural, economic, and geopolitical aspects of food in that site. Topics include: food and national identity, food and globalization, food and economic sustainability.

3
FST615 Food, Labor, and Inequality

In this course, we will focus on theoretical and applied frameworks for thinking about the labor of growing food, transporting it, transforming it into comestibles, and finally, serving and cleaning related to food consumption. The course considers how global labor shapes the availability and appropriateness of food for different populations and therefore includes a substantial analysis of gender, race, and social class. Readings and discussion will touch on migrant labor, domestic cooking, waiting and serving, agriculture, cooks and chefs, and food professionals.

3
FST620 Research in Food and Agriculture

This course assists students developing a research, educational, public policy, or advocacy project in sustainable farming. Participants study a practical and current sustainable food and/or farming problem, review the literature related to the problem, develop management tactics and strategies to address the problem, and communicate their conclusions. Goal is to develop a research plan and project outcomes for a Masters thesis or project.

2
FST625 U.S. Agricultural Policy

This graduate multi-disciplinary course examines a range of philosophical, socio-economic, health and political issues related to agricultural policy in the US. It provides a foundation and introduction to U.S. farm policy as a means of exploring how political dynamics and choices impact the nature of food, agriculture, and communities at local, national and global scales.

3
FST640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

3
FST683 Special Topics

3
Electives not listed must be in area of student's primary concentration area, and should be selected in consultation with the Advisor and/or Program Director. if additional classes are taken from the "Applied Electives" and "Science Electives" categories, they can count towards your general electives if approved by your Advisor and/or Program Director.