Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our Food Community Enjoys a Fruitful Exchange

Matteo B., Paulo T., Christine M. and Edo S. (in the tree)
     Exchange – trade, swap, switch, give-and-take; change, really, when it comes right down to it.  Our UNH EcoGastronomy students visit another country and the University of Gastronomic Sciences(UNISG) in Pollenzo, Italy students visit our country.  No student is left unchanged.   When you return to your own country you may have a greater sense of independence and confidence, an increased world view, and hopefully, a new love of another culture.  Students bring back new ideas and longings to return, and so they make the world a little closer.
     The EcoGastronomy program at the University of New Hampshire hosted 10 Italian students this summer from UNISG. These students are pursuing their two-year graduate degree in Gastronomy and Food Communications.  The program in Italy is designed to develop specialized skills in food-and-wine tourism management and high-quality foods marketing.   
     Their EcoGastronomy field study class at UNH allows the students the opportunity of a hands-on curriculum tracing New England food chains and bringing them face to face with the land and  people in charge of our food.  Dan Winans, Director of the EcoGastronomy program, leads the class.  
     Sarah Breen, 2011 UNH graduate in Tourism and Planning and EcoGastronomy dual major, began the plans during her senior year capstone project for this year’s New England field study class. The course looked at Production, Marketing and Distribution, and Preparation and Culture.   Students immersed themselves in the production of maple syrup, microbrew, specialty foods, heritage poultry, cheese, and lobster fishery.   
Marketing and communication experts from Stonyfield, Dole and Baily, and visits to Fore Street and pane e salute restaurants marked examples of the best food and wine tourism and high-quality foods marketing. 
Outings to an Inn for lunch and its local suppliers, Strawbery Banke, Harvard Medical School’s Healthy Kitchen project, food entrepreneurship in Hardwick, Vermont, and a lecture on American food culture and history helped the students consider our rich New England food culture.
      The students also took classes in Food Science, Advertising as Social Communication, and Economics of Travel and Tourism to complete their summer studies.  Despite having English as their second language, the students brought with them a smart and engaging exchange, and it has been a pleasure to integrate them with EcoGastronomy and UNH students alike while they were here.  In turn, 22 EcoGastronomy dual major students at UNH will spend the fall semester at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.  
      Two of the summer students are returning to New Hampshire to do their final work experience completing their degrees for the University of Gastronomic Sciences.   Michela Bunino will do design work for Re.Root.Ed, http://rerooted.org/ a non-profit organization that works towards a future of healthy food and vibrant communities, and Matteo Breda will help coordinate and execute events the organization is planning.  The food community enjoys a fruitful exchange.

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