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About the Food Studies Program

Food Studies offers a bachelor of science (B.S.) in Food Studies. Students learn about the Food industry in areas including food science, organic production, local food movement, genetic modification of food and nanotechnology and food access in the U.S.


WCNY-TV episode screen shot

WCNY-TV explores community gardens in Syracuse with food studies professor Evan Weissman

In December, WCNY-TV’s “Cycle of Health” show featured assistant professor of food studies, Evan Weissman, an exploration of the history and growth of community gardens in Syracuse, as well as across New York State. A growing interest in where food comes from and how to cook it, along with many other factors, has spurred urban garden movements locally. Some local community gardens date back 20 years, and many new ones are sprouting up today. Watch the segment entitled, ‘Urban Roots’ with Professor Weissman

Mark Bittman with Student

New Course Offerings for Spring 2015

FST 300: Emergency Food Systems
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00pm – 3:20pm

One in six persons in the United States lives in a household that cannot afford adequate food. Of the 50 million food-insecure persons, roughly 17 million are children. From the student food pantry in Hendricks Chapel to national public policy efforts on hunger, FST 312—Emergency Food Systems introduces the subject of emergency food systems, with emphasis on experience in the United States.

MFT 706: Gender, Food, Rights
Wednesdays, 5:15pm – 8:00pm

When so many call for inclusion of women into food and nutrition programs and policy making, why do women and girls continue to experience hunger and malnutrition at greater rates than men across diverse demographic groups experiencing right to food violations? FST 706—Gender, Food, Rights explores this question in detail from a human rights-based approach.

Mark Bittman with Student

New York Times food columnist offers advice to Falk students on food production, consumption and activism

A standing-room-only audience of students, faculty and staff had the chance to hear the insights of Mark Bittman, one of the country's best-known, most widely respected food writers. Bittman, who was in Syracuse as the featured speaker at the Rosamond Gifford Lecture on November 5, made a special trip to campus to meet with students in Falk College’s food studies and nutrition programs.

Syracuse Grows Benefit Dinner

Food studies professor Evan Weissman cultivates food justice

Syracuse Grows recently celebrated another successful growing season and hosted its first-ever Farm-to-Table Benefit dinner. Funds raised at the event will support the Syracuse Grows network of community gardens and farms and also contribute to its annual resource drive in the spring. Syracuse Grows is a grassroots coalition of individuals, gardens, and community collaborators working to cultivate a just foodscape in the city of Syracuse. The group provides advocacy, programming, education, and resources to support food justice and community development through community gardening and urban agriculture.

Students working on Syracuse urban farm

FST 406: Philosophy & Practice of Locavorism

Wednesdays 8:25 - 11:30am, 226 Lyman Hall Cafe

The growing fascination with provisioning food locally has spawned renewed interest in adopting year-round diets based solely, or primarily, on locally produced and processed foods. What are the social, economic, environmental, and cultural implications of locavorism? How do we translate the philosophy of locavorism into the daily practice of our lives?

This course examines the philosophy, politics, and practice of eating locally produced food year-round with an emphasis placed on understanding the societal ramifications and practical procedures involved in, preserving-processing, and preparing locally available fruits, vegetables, and meat and non-meat proteins.

Students will gain valuable understanding into the practice of food knowledge and study local food economies and labor, food miles and energy efficiency, and local and seasonal diets, geography, culture and food. This knowledge will be put into practice by learning about kitchen safety and sanitation, pickling and preserving fresh produce and processing diverse proteins.

Students working on Syracuse urban farm

Falk College’s new bachelor’s degree in food studies now enrolling majors for Fall 2014

The Falk College is pleased to announce a new bachelor of science degree in food studies. The program is currently accepting students for this new major, which will be offered starting in Fall 2014. The B.S in food studies takes a multilevel, holistic approach to food—from production through consumption. In addition to its core program, the curriculum offers two concentrations: 1) Food Politics and Governance; and; 2) Community Food Systems and Gastronomy. The 120-credit major includes five areas of study: Falk College requirements, a liberal arts core, a food studies core, a food studies area of concentration, and electives. The liberal arts core is left open purposefully to allow students to sample broadly from the Arts & Science offerings. Such a liberal approach is appropriate for students majoring in food studies since it has emerged as a multidisciplinary field. The major concludes with a senior-level experience requirement where students choose to complete a research project or a practicum.

The bachelor of science degree in food studies provides students a thorough understanding of food systems and economies, from production to consumption locally, nationally and globally. This approach allows students to develop marketable skills, such as data management and for research and program development; understanding factors of economy and policy that shape diverse conventional, alternative and emergency food systems; as well as basic theory and skills of food production, procurement and preparation.

Rick Welsh Portrait

Falk Professor to Study Anaerobic Digesters for Small-scale Dairy Farms

Falk College professor of Food Studies, Rick Welsh, and Stefan Grimberg and Shane Rogers, two environmental engineers from Clarkson University, have received a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute for Food and Agriculture to develop educational and outreach materials related to smaller-scale anaerobic digesters.

In the U.S., anaerobic digesters have been seen as larger farm technologies since the more manure produced on a farm, the greater the amount of biogas produced too. This biogas is captured and burned to produce heat that can be used to keep parlors warm or to produce steam to turn a turbine and produce electricity. Excess electricity can be sold.

Falk students, faculty advocate for women's human rights to adequate food, nutrition at United Nations meetings

Students in the Falk College’s new graduate course, FST 700—Gender, Food, and Rights attended the United Nations’ (UN) annual Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) meetings over Spring Break. Led by food studies professor, Anne Bellows, three students, Melanie Shaffer-Cutillo, Karen Cordano, and Stacia Martelli canvassed official meetings on issues related to women’s human right to adequate food and nutrition as official delegates of the non-governmental organization, Food First Information Action Network (FIAN) International. Bellows is an editorial board member and contributor to the FIAN worldwide publication, “The Right to Food and Nutrition Watch.”

The Gender, Food and Rights course the students are enrolled in advances inquiry introduced in another Falk food studies course, FST 403/603—Right to Food and Nutrition and foregrounds a focus on the relationship between the human right to adequate food and nutrition and women’s rights. The class operates from an investigation into the question, when so many call for the inclusion of women into food and nutrition programs and policy making, why do women and girls continue to experience hunger and malnutrition at greater rates than do men across diverse demographic groups experiencing right to food violations?

Students working on Syracuse urban farm

FST 202 Agroecology Maymester 2014

This course explores the biological processes that undergird the food production system on which we all depend. Course topics include soil fertility and quality, pest ecology, nutrient cycling and socioeconomic and policy aspects of agricultural production. The course will address questions like:

  • What is Agroecology?
  • How important is soil health and quality for the food we eat?
  • What can we do to control insect and week pests and plant pathogens?
  • How can we build a sustainable agricultural system?

The class meets Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm in CH 003 and is open to all majors and non-majors. For more information contact Professor Rick Welsh at

African women carrying water on their heads

FST 300-M001- Gender and Agriculture: International Perspectives

This course investigates gendered roles in food, agriculture, and forestry as well as women’s transformative potential towards peace, economic security, and environmental sustainability, in part through participation in civil society movements.

The objectives of this course are to:

    • Analyze the different social and cultural roles of women and men in agricultural practices spanning the food system (production, storage and processing, marketing, financing, household food preparation, family nutrition, community and eco-system sustainability, etc.).

    • Discuss how gender relations and gender disparities affect agricultural innovations, productivity, and sustainability.

New Food Studies Minor

The Falk College’s Food Studies minor is an interdisciplinary approach to examining U.S. and global food systems from production through consumption using a multi-level and holistic approach. Students take courses covering production, consumption, distribution, gastronomy, and food policy. The minor in Food Studies requires completion of six courses, two that are mandatory and four electives. Sign up for these Spring 2014 courses today. For more specific information on declaring the minor, contact Evan Weissman, Ph.D. Food Studies minor coordinator, 443-4295 or e-mail

dual nutition major Sam Rodgers in Haiti

Falk College Participates in Global Efforts to Educate, Engage Grassroots Efforts to Alleviate Hunger

SU’s Falk College is a worldwide launch site for the 2013 edition of the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch, an international publication in English, Spanish and French, that explores global issues surrounding the right to food and nutrition. Unveiled Oct. 8 across the world, the Watch provides grassroots organizations confronted by violations to the right to adequate food and nutrition examples of how civil society groups have taken action at the local, regional, and international levels. “This year’s Watch launch marks an ongoing, six-year effort to bring the human rights framework alive by providing a platform for public interest civil society voices--as rights holders to hold national states--as duty bearers accountable to realize progressively the right to adequate food and nutrition,” says Anne C. Bellows, Ph.D., Watch editorial board member, contributor, and professor of food studies in the Falk College at Syracuse University.

Falk College Professor Rick Welsh receives 2013 Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award

The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) honored Rick Welsh, Ph.D., professor of food studies in the Falk College’s Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, for exceptional contributions to the field of rural sociology with the 2013 Fred Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award. This distinguished honor recognizes excellence in scholarly work in the same spirit exemplified by the late Fred Buttel, a prominent scholar of the sociology of agriculture and environmental sociology. In addition to 2013 Buttel Scholarly Achievement Award, Welsh recently received a grant from the University of Michigan’s Water Center for the project, “Wetlands for Wildlife: Understanding Drivers of Public-Private Partnership Restoration Success.” This project is one of six projects led by multidisciplinary teams that received funding from the Water Center to support and enhance restoration and protection efforts of the Great Lakes basin.

Kimberly Johnson Portrait

Kimberly Johnson authors chapter exploring trans fat social policy, environmental externalities

Senior part-time instructor, Kimberly Johnson, has authored a chapter in the publication, Environmental Policy is Social Policy-Social Policy is Environmental Policy: Toward Sustainability Policy. The chapter is entitled, “Living Off the Fat of Another Land: Trans Fat Social Policy andEnvironmental Externalities,” and explores efforts in replacing trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the food supply while looking more broadly at the intersection of food, health, and environmental policy.

Karen Kirkhart, Ph.D.

Bellows’ UN presentation explores gender, nutrition and adequate food

The barriers to women’s access to adequate food and nutrition were the focus of a presentation by Anne C. Bellows, Ph.D., Falk College professor of food studies, at the United Nation’s forum series: The Future of Global Food Policy this spring. Bellows’ presentation entitled, “Eating, Feeding, Being Fed: Gender, Nutrition and the Human Right to Adequate Food,” explored why the food and nutrition status of women and girls is not improving despite a global call for the inclusion of women and an international gender perspective.

Course spotlight: FST 300--Farm to Fork

In the Farm to Fork course, students explore key features of the food system, from farm to fork. Using both in-class learning and hands-on engagement students will interrogate industrial food and develop a better understanding and appreciation of efforts to build community-based food systems. The class includes a cooking laboratory where students learn basic culinary skills. Students also participate in a variety of field trips.

Welcome to the Food Studies Program

Rick Welsh serves as the department chair of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition

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