Food Studies

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Food Studies Overview

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.
Degrees Offered
  • BA
Program School

Food Studies is a perfect major for students who want all the breadth of interdisciplinary courses, from English to the Social Sciences, but also want the skills that come with business, project management, agricultural applications and culinary training. Food and sustenance are one of the most important sectors of human life and experience and require a broad range of knowledge in order to work and thrive in the modern world.

—ALICE JULIER, PH.D., director of the Food Studies programs

Eden Hall Campus

Located 20 miles north of Pittsburgh and home to the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment, Chatham’s 388-acre, net-zero Eden Hall Campus is a living and learning laboratory. Faculty and students collaborate on projects involving food and sustainable agriculture, water, energy and climate, and community health.

Explore the Food Studies Degree:

  • Students have the opportunity to work in campus-based businesses, including Café Ann, which will have a coffee lab; the Kitchen Lab, which will provide product development in collaboration with scaled food businesses as well as pop-up restaurant training; campus food service; the Grains project wood-fired oven (developing bread, pizza, and other event based opportunities).
  • BAFS students have access to a dedicated career counselor who provides support, resources, and learning opportunities designed specifically for Falk School undergraduate and graduate students. Offerings include: one-on-one consultations; professional development workshops and programs; and connecting students with alumni to provide opportunities for mentorship, networking, job shadowing, informational interviewing, internships, and jobs.
  • 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 cutting-edge agricultural spaces and practices, demonstration kitchens, an aquaculture lab, orchards, and other spaces conducive to the interdisciplinarity of food studies.
  • 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.

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 345: Applied Agricultural Experience 1
Focuses 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 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.

Full Curriculum Coming Soon

Our Faculty

If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.

Full Faculty
Associate Professor, Food Studies Director, Center for Regional Agriculture Food and Transformation (CRAFT)

The Importance of the Eden Hall 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 cutting-edge 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.

Funding

The Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award is a national award that includes a $5,000 scholarship to Chatham University. It is awarded to one student nominated from each high school and community college across the United States who embodies the spirit of Rachel Carson in his or her dedication to sustainability and community development. Chatham offers many scholarships and grants to incoming first-year students, including the Rachel Carson Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship renewable for a total of four years.

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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.

Integrated Degrees

Qualified students can choose to enroll in an integrated degree program, combining their undergraduate degree in environmental science with a Master of Sustainability from Chatham’s Falk School of Sustainability & Environment, graduating with both in as few as five years.

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The Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation

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. 

Orchard Hall

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