B.A. in Food Studies (BAFS) | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

The Bachelor of Arts in Food Studies (BAFS) offers a blend of practical skill-building and perspectives on food and agriculture through the analysis of social, cultural, economic, environmental, and historical topics.  The curriculum includes a yearlong sequence of applied, experiential, hands-on learning, and a capstone project.  Students are prepared for multi-faceted careers and professional engagement in a wide variety of sectors in food and agriculture, with the skill sets to address the practical, economic, community, and social justice issues that are a hallmark of contemporary food systems jobs. 

Bachelor of Arts in Food Studies brochure PDF thumbnail image
Download the BAFS brochure »

The B.A. in Food Studies is part of Chatham's Falk School of Sustainability & Environment, one of the earliest schools focusing on sustainability in the country.


» Learn about BAFS program residency requirements

CURRICULUM TIMELINE

BAFS students typically begin with two years of general education and major-specific core courses.

The junior year sequence puts students in direct engagement with agricultural and culinary practices at Eden Hall and other regional farms, businesses, and non-profits along with community-based work in food systems and nutrition.  Students gain first-hand experience in producing food; collaborating and managing projects; and doing original research. 

During year four, students take electives and complete the Integrated Capstone Seminar, which builds off of and expands upon the entirety of their undergraduate experience. View sample courses below and visit our curriculum page to view the full curriculum. 


FEATURED COURSES

FST 315: Food Access and Policy
If food is a basic human right, how do societies create universal access to food? This course explores the ethical basis for making citizens food secure despite global inequality. Major topics include private versus public solutions and the relationship between food access, gender, cultural appropriateness, nutrition, sustainability, and justice.


 

FST 215W: Global Foodways
A strategic survey of regional or global food ways in historical and contemporary contexts. Emphasis on anthropological understanding of food ways, cultural studies critique of class, gender, and family dynamics articulated via food, and historical transformations of food culture in response to migration and globalization. Areas of global emphasis may include Asia, Africa, Regional North America, and Amazonia.


FST 215W Global Foodways image

FST 345: Applied Agricultural Experience 1
Focues on seasonal agricultural production such as tree care, honey extraction, and seed saving. Weekly readings link basic agricultural concepts to experiential learning, explored through observation logs (plant growth, pest pressure, pasture growth, soil fertility).  Students gain a well-rounded embodied understanding of agricultural activities from late summer through early spring. 


FST 342 Sustainable Production

FST 365: Coffee: History, Politics, Practices
This applied course includes hands-on and practical experiences at local coffee roasters with different business models. Participants will train in the Eden Hall student cooperative café at Eden Hall including cupping, barista, and tasting skills. The correlated readings, discussions, and assignments address challenging issues surrounding coffee, including labor, global procurement, and labeling.

FST 365 Coffee History Politics and Practices


THE JUNIOR YEAR SEQUENCE

In their junior year, students have a sequence of courses that puts them in direct engagement with agricultural and culinary practices and with community-based work in food systems and nutrition. The junior year sequence makes use of resources including the Eden Hall Bread Oven; the Food Innovation Lab at the Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT); teaching kitchen; agroecology demonstration garden; Food Bank farm; orchards and apiaries; animals such as chickens, ducks, and goats, as well as faculty research on chocolate; coffee; regional grain production and bread; local social justice organizations; food and fermentation businesses; policy-making groups; and the regional food policy council.

Through the courses Applied Agriculture 1 and 2 and Applied Culinary 1 and 2, students have two semesters of experience and analysis across a wide range of practices, such as beekeeping; tree care; seed saving; animal husbandry; pastry and bread making; fermentation; and other forms of food preservation.

Through the courses Nutrition and Community and Community and Food, students engage with local organizations; health and anti-hunger groups; and policy advocates who support the regional food economy.


INTEGRATED DEGREE PROGRAMS

Students may also choose to further their education at Chatham through pursuing an Integrated Degree Program (IDP) with our Master of Sustainability. Through the IDP, students earn both bachelor's and master's degrees in as few as five years, saving time and money. Learn more about IDPs ▶

And see what M.A. in Food Studies students are doing...

EDEN HALL CAMPUS

Eden Hall Campus offers unparalled access to an unparalled space for Food Studies students. It encompasses a certified organic farm, demonstration garden, orchards, a 30+-acre crop area, greenhouses (one heated year-round by solar-thermal panels), and demonstration kitchens. Faculty and students research sustainable agricultural practices and produce food for EHC and for the Shadyside Campus. Initiatives include nutrient recycling and soil building from compost; aquaculture and aquaponics; mushroom farming; and edible landscaping around buildings.


 All students are encouraged to play an active role in helping to manage and develop Eden Hall Campus. Jobs that directly link to classes are available–managing the woodlands, working with the data and energy systems that permeate the campus buildings, partnering with local businesses, or doing community outreach. The experience at Eden Hall isn't just taking classes and living in the dorms.

– PETER WALKER, Ph.D., dean of the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment

CAMPUS FOCUS AREAS

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WATER

Stormwater is managed by rain gardens that collect and direct water flow, gravel walkways that make it easier for rainwater to get to the soil below, and a rainwater harvesting system that uses it for crop irrigation. Eden Hall treats wastewater through a six-step process that mimics nature and handles up to 6,000 gallons daily.

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FOOD & SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Eden Hall Campus encompasses a certified organic farm, demonstration garden, and greenhouses (one heated year-round by solar-thermal panels). Faculty and students demonstrate sustainable agricultural practices, and produce food for the campus. Initiatives include nutrient recycling and soil building from compost; aquaponics; mushroom farming; and edible landscaping around buildings.

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ENERGY & CLIMATE

Over 400 solar panels not only generate enough energy to power 14 homes annually–they also provide heat for a residence hall and a greenhouse, and the campus is heated and cooled via 40+ geothermal wells. Eden Hall's weather station collects data on solar radiation, air temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and leaf wetness. Soil sensors collect data on items like volumetric water content and electrical conductivity.

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DESIGN & PLANNING

Eden Hall models a variety of building standards, energy management techniques, and new ways of sustainable living. Each building is monitored to determine optimal energy consumption. Buildings meet LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Platinum certification, and some future buildings are planned to be built to Living Building Challenge standards.

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COMMUNITY & HEALTH

Eden Hall attracts academic, public, and artistic communities through year-round programming including workshops, dinners, performances, and festivals. Visitors hike eco-education trails, take yoga classes, explore sustainable agriculture sites, and observe natural water treatment systems in action. Also, our farm connects to the community through farm-to-school programs and partnerships with local farmers and nonprofits.


Eden Hall Campus Master Plan

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From the very beginning, the design of Eden Hall Campus was intended to be revolutionary. Each venue, classroom building, outdoor area, and residential space ensures full-campus sustainability and functions so that students don't just learn about sustainability, but live it every day. Review that full plan for Chatham's sustainable campus in the North Hills of Pittburgh. Download Master Plan ▶

A Brighter, Healthier Tomorrow

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There's a lot ongoing and planned for Eden Hall, and it all starts with our work in the sustainability field. Learn about Chatham's history of leadership in sustainability that has driven plans for our ultra-green Eden Hall Campus. Download Booklet ▶

CRAFT at Chatham logo

The Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT) at Chatham University, based at Eden Hall Campus, works to transform the future of food and agriculture in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. CRAFT offers many opportunities for students to get involved with all aspects of food studies, from research to production.

Current projects include: Workshops on bread baking, fermentation, bean-to-bar chocolate, and heritage grains; Product development with food businesses and farms to create regionally sourced pizza, pancake mix, and more; Developing sustainably sourced fish food for aquaculture; Kitchen Lab for culinary and experiential skill development. Learn more about CRAFT »

To make the most out of your experience at Chatham, we require that students live and study on-campus for at least two years as shown below:

Year 1: Shadyside Campus (Most first-year BAFS classes will take place here)
Year 2: Student's choice (Shadyside Campus, EHC, or off-campus)
Year 3: Eden Hall Campus
Year 4: Student's choice (EHC, Shadyside Campus, or off-campus)

  Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Shadyside Campus ×
Eden Hall Campus ×
Off-campus/Commuter × ×

THE IMPORTANCE OF EDEN HALL CAMPUS RESIDENCY

For students' third year, unless they are participating in a junior year experience that requires that they live elsewhere, students live at Eden Hall Campus. EHC is a living and learning laboratory that offers BAFS students cuttingedge agricultural spaces and practices, demonstration kitchens, an aquaculture lab, orchards, and other spaces conducive to the interdisciplinarity of food studies.

Although residency at Eden Hall is only required during Year 3, students can choose to live and study at Eden Hall during Years 2 and 4 to take advantage of the unlimited opportunities EHC presents to Bachelor of Arts in Food Studies students.


SHADYSIDE CAMPUS

Shadyside Campus is located in an urban arboretum, where students live in renovated historic mansions, minutes away from the center of Pittsburgh, home to 70,000 college students. Please note that even while living at Shadyside Campus, student will have some classes and experiences at Eden Hall Campus.

DID YOU KNOW...

Chatham was ranked 7th in the nation for best food grown and sourced locally by Sierra Magazine's 2015 "Cool Schools" report.

Contributing to that is another perk of an on-campus farm »

Eden Hall Campus

Eden Hall Campus is where passions can come to life: students can study the botanical and biological properties of staple plants; explore the social and cultural significance of these plants as "crops" or foodstuffs; and create historically significant culinary dishes or products, all by using EHC's gardens, greenhouses, woodlands, kitchens, and classrooms.

Campus shuttles connect Eden Hall and Shadyside campuses for courses and extracurriculars throughout the week.


Orchard Hall

Orchard Hall, Eden Hall Campus's residence building, is constructed to the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) standards.

NOTE: This policy applies to students entering in the 2018 academic year. Exceptions may be made only by the Dean of Students in consultation with the Director of Residence Life and the Dean of Falk School, on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, all current undergraduate and graduate students in the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment who are receiving funding from the Falk Endowment will be required to live at Eden Hall Campus.

Robust professional preparation, the cornerstone of a Chatham education, is woven throughout the BAFS degree:

  • The junior year experience taps student into valuable hiring networks and social capital.
  • Students graduate with business training that's transferable to a wide range of occupations.
  • The required project management course offers the option of a certificate on completion of the course and an external exam.
  • The safe food course provides certification necessary for jobs in food service and agricultural production.

The Bachelor of Arts in Food Studies prepares graduates for careers in:

SCIENCE

  • Environmental scientist (plants, seeds, animals)
  • Soil/food microbiologist

NON-PROFITS & NGOS

  • Fundraising/development for food philanthropy
  • Community development for local/regional food
  • Food labor and food justice advocacy
  • Non-profit organizations (urban agriculture, living history museums, culinary heritage preservation, food waste, environmental health and well-being)

INDUSTRY & GOVERNMENT

  • Food industry, restaurant, or test kitchen development work
  • School, hospital, and workplace sourcing and planning
  • Sustainable supply chain management
  • Food production and distribution
  • Consulting firms
  • Global and environmental politics around agriculture
  • USDA, FDA, USAID, and other government agencies/policy making

MEDIA

  • Food and agriculture media: journalism, filmmaking, oral history, and more
  • Promotion and marketing for specialty foods, food writing, regional food
  • Market research
  • Culinary tourism
  • Public education and outreach around food history, food systems, community food
  • Public relations

OFFICE OF CAREER DEVELOPMENT

Chatham's Career Development staff is eager to help you develop and reach your goals from year one, day one. They'll:

  • Advise you in one-on-one appointments to maximize job search skills, develop dynamite resumes and cover letters, and ace job interviews
  • Help you find a mentor in your career field
  • Connect you with hundreds of employers through job fairs and Handshake, our online job and internship posting database

More info: chatham.edu/careerdev