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Kira Carney '20 in Copenhagen

Italy: Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Justice (HECUA)


Brenda Tooley

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Live and study at the intersection of food politics, sustainability, and culture on a working farm in Tuscany. Italy is the birthplace of the Slow Food movement. Unpack the movement's motto of 'good, clean, and fair food' on the farm and with producers, processors, food activists, and consumers across the region. 

 In this program, students explore how culture and food production intersect in Italy. They learn about Italian and European agricultural movements and initiatives and their political and cultural contexts. They see firsthand how people in Tuscany and Italy more generally are working for sustainability-agricultural, environmental, cultural and economic. Students also learn how agriculture and food policy, business practices, and financial structures within Italy and across the European Union affect the health and wealth of farmers, workers, families and communities.

Students live and work at the Castello Sonnino, a historic estate roughly 12 miles outside the major city of Florence. Since the early 1800s, the Sonnino family has run the estate, and the current generation is deeply committed to cultural and architectural preservation. Their vision for sustainable development encompasses the beautifully preserved family residence, as well as 300+ acres of woods, olive groves, vineyards, and working farm land. Students live in furnished apartments on the Sonnino grounds, and receive a food stipend and cooking lessons. By living at the Castello Sonnino, students enter the landscape and the political and economic context of the farming and food movements particular to Italy. 

Through an internship placement on the Castello Sonnino farm, in the village of Montespertoli (five minutes' walk), or at a nearby farm, students gain firsthand experience of sustainable local food systems and the role those systems play in maintaining rural culture in Tuscany. At the beginning of the semester, students receive intensive instruction in basic Italian (or other levels for those with previous experience). For the first six weeks of the program students split their time among Italian language courses, classroom seminars and field visits. Finally, students complete a guided independent study project on a topic that deeply interest them. This program is conducted with the support of institutional partner Universita per Stranieri di Siena.

Learn more about the Italy: Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Justice program.

Credits - 4.5 for successful completion of the semester - Fall ONLY

Advisor: Professor Katherine Adelsberger

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Printed on Monday, January 20, 2020