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First Group of Italian EcoGastronomy Students on Campus

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
July 22, 2009

Fourteen students from University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG ) in Pollenzo, Italy, pictured here with their UNH professors, are spending the summer at UNH as part of the university's new EcoGastronomy program.

UNH is hosting a group of Italian students this summer who are the first foreign exchange students to participate in the university’s new EcoGastronomy dual major, the first such program at any U.S. university.

Fourteen students from the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) in Pollenzo, Italy, are spending the summer living on campus and learning about the science of food and eating, ecotourism, and advertising. They also are participating in a number of field studies, including those focused on organic gardening, maple syrup production, historic gardens and food preparation, and aquaculture.

In the fall, a group of UNH students will spend the semester at the University of Gastronomic Sciences as part of the joint student exchange program. While in Italy, the students will complete a series of upper level core courses such as history of cuisine and gastronomy, food communication, aesthetics, food and wine tourism, food business economics, and sensory analysis.

“This link to the EgoGastronomy program gives our students the benefit of UNH's strengths in sustainability, nutrition, and ecology, not to mention a unique chance to see, smell, and taste the great food being produced locally in New England. Similarly, UNISG will be able to show UNH students the history, heritage, and pleasure of Italian gastronomy when they visit our Pollenzo campus in September of this year. Since our initial contact with UNH three years ago, there has been a special connection, one that we look forward to continuing in the years to come,” Carlo Catani, director of the University of Gastronomic Sciences.

Founded by Carlo Petrini, UNISG is a unique university with a mission "...to create an international research and training center, working to renew farming methods, protect biodiversity and maintain an organic relationship between gastronomy and agricultural science.".

A one-of-a-kind learning experience that links the fields of sustainable agriculture, hospitality, and nutrition, the EcoGastronomy program is a partnership of the  Whittemore School of Business and Economics and College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, in collaboration with the University Office of Sustainability. EcoGastronomy - the word connects "gastronomy," meaning "the art and appreciation of food," with agriculture and the environment, connoted by "eco" - came about after Slow Food International founder Carlo Petrini came to UNH to receive an honorary degree in 2006. Petrini is founder of the University of Gastronomic Sciences.

"Today’s hospitality students are interested in food and sustainability and how it connects with the local, regional and global food systems. The EcoGastronomy program gives them an advantage in the job market because it sets them apart in a competitive industry that is becoming more sustainably aware," says Dan Winans, faculty coordinator of the dual major and an adjunct professor in hospitality management at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics.

Depending on their primary majors, EcoGastronomy graduates might work within food service, catering or the restaurant industry; manage or own a farm, greenhouse or nursery; teach or write about food-related issues; or be involved in wholesale and retail marketing, food policy, or nutrition and health assessment.

More information about the dual major in EcoGastronomy is available at http://www.unh.edu/ecogastronomy/.

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