Food Studies Overview
Director: Michael Hillard (Economics)
Assistant Professors: Matthew Hoffman; Jamie Picardy
Food Studies is the interdisciplinary study of the social, economic, political, and environmental factors that affect our food system. From farm to table, and table to mouth, food production and consumption is a lynchpin for economic systems and people’s daily life and health. Food is also central to culture – our identities, the way we connect socially, and how families and communities function. The USM Food Studies Program joins a nationwide movement to elevate the study of food systems, to critically evaluate key food-related issues including food insecurity, environmental sustainability, and racial and labor justice, and develop in its students applicable real world skills ranging from hospitality and entrepreneurship to social justice policy and activism. Through active mentorship, engaged learning both in the classroom and the community, powerful collaborations with food system activists, business people and professionals, and well placed internships, USM Food Studies students are well prepared for food-related careers in the business, nonprofit/community, and government sectors.
Why USM Food Studies?
- Study with Great Faculty. USM Food Studies Faculty are successful food studies scholars, dedicated to innovative and welcoming classroom instruction that features experiential learning and applied research, and are well connected to leaders in the Maine, New England and national food system movements. Our faculty introduce students to highly engaged instruction in a wide range of key food studies topics.
- Robust Paid Internships with Leading Maine Food Organizations and Businesses. The USM Food Studies Program has built strong collaborations with leaders in the Maine food system, including innovative entrepreneurs, anti-hunger professionals and activists, sustainable farming practitioners and experts, and leading policy makers. Food Studies students have access to a wide array of placements that will jump start their careers in the world of food.
- Study Abroad. USM Food Studies is committed to developing meaningful short and medium length exchanges abroad, including in Italy, the home of the international Slow Food movement, and in Iceland. The program is also working to build opportunities for its students in nearby colleges and universities.
- Become a Systems Thinker with Practical Skills. USM Food Studies prepares students with a strong foundation in the economics, environmental impact, sociology, politics and policy of food systems, studying issues deeply relevant to the region, from sustainability to social justice. Through classes featuring research and service learning projects, and career tracks and internships, USM students match big picture understanding with specific food-related career skills.
- Round Out Your USM Education. Through our undergraduate minor and graduate coursework, students in a variety of majors and programs can complement their existing course of study with the benefits of the USM Food Studies Program. If you are in a career-focused major like nursing or business, take advantage of Food Studies’ liberal arts instruction in the field that complements your chosen major and personal interests in food. If you are a liberal arts major, extend your knowledge to the world of food systems and while gaining access to career training and placement in career building internships.