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

Photo of the tiered amphitheater at Chatham University's Eden Hall Farm featuring a white dairy barn and larger barn.

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; 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.

View Full Curriculum

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
Logo: Chatham C
Professor, Food Studies Director, Center for Regional Agriculture Food and Transformation (CRAFT)
Photo of Chatham University students walking through green fields at Eden Hall Farm.

Funding Opportunities

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.

View Funding Opportunities : Checkerboard 1 - Funding Opportunities

Community on Campus

Eden Hall's community bread oven began as a graduate student project. Frankie Williams, a Masters of Food Studies student, wanted to build a gathering place on campus. "My favorite memories and times in my life," she said, "have been centered around food for as long as I can remember. Food brings people together." 

Watch More Videos : Checkerboard 2 - Community on Campus
Photo of the white dairy barn at Chatham University's Eden Hall Farm with people walking outside around it and rolling fields in the background.

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.

Photo of three people tending to a garden bed in a greenhouse at Chatham University's Eden Hall Farm.

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.

Food Studies

Photo of a South Asian woman demonstrating how to cook, while a class observes

The Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation

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Photo of students in masks working in the Eden Hall Campus Kitchen Lab
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A space to gather, create, and collaborate, The Kitchen Lab at Eden Hall Campus provides students and community members with the equipment, facilities, and know-how they need to learn about food production in an environment that’s totally hands-on… and totally tasty, too.

Photo of three young women working to remove an invasive plant in an Eden Hall Campus forest

Chatham's Society of Ecological Restoration