I must admit, I am feeling a small pang of jealousy for those of you heading back to campus, back into the dorm and most importantly, back into classrooms, as I will not be for the first time since I entered kindergarten 17 years ago.  From my own recent experience in an academic environment that supported students as they melded different disciplines into a personalized course of study, and degree, I am excited to see the continuing development of food and agricultural studies in the United States.  As this fall begins, I have been particularly interested in the media coverage of environmental issues, particularly often those related to food, and the way they are being dealt with and addressed on by students, faculty, staff and administrations on campuses across the country.  A number of outlets including The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Sierra Club are already commenting on new endeavors campuses intend to take on during the 2008 – 2009 academic year.

I am particularly inspired by, and curious about, the interdisciplinary approach many campuses are taking to enhance food studies programs, coast to coast.  Hands on opportunities are one component of this method, encouraging students to literally experience the ideas and concepts from the classroom by working on farms or in gardens or cooking food for a potluck meal during the semester.  Universities are also reporting a significant boom in courses offered across the disciplines that enhance and compliment a variety of majors focusing on food issues.  And, many are attributing to the increased course offerings to a heightened awareness throughout the world leading to a wonderful array of books, publications, films, conferences and lecture opportunities from leading figures in the field. 

While many universities are increasing the classroom offerings, some are also reforming their physical spaces as well.  Many schools are acknowledging the relationship between climate change and agriculture.  As a result, many are making strides to curb campus emissions by converting fleets owned by the university to zero emission vehicles while also building new facilities with LEED certification standards in mind.  Dining halls are getting attention as well, bringing in biodegradable take out containers, choosing to support local, organic and seasonal food providers and considering the development of composting facilities.

Now, I invite all of you to use this blog as a medium to communicate with one another, and the Slow Food USA office, about what is happening on your campus to enhance your passion for Good, Clean and Fair food for all.

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