Food Studies is an interdisciplinary area of study that integrates environmental, social, health, economic and cultural issues stemming from food systems activities (food production, distribution, access, consumption, waste management) in a systems framework.

Middlebury students can minor in Food Studies, or submit an Independent Scholar proposal if they want to go more deeply into Food Studies than the minor or another department’s major will allow. For the Independent Scholar process, please check the Degree Program and Projects section of the Middlebury Handbook and talk with the Food Studies Program Director.

Minor Requirements

The minor requires completion of 5 courses, distributed as indicated below, and an immersive learning experience.

1)  Two introductory courses, selected from the following (noting that some courses have prerequisites):

  • ENVS 0112 Natural Science & the Environment
  • FOOD 0280  Middlebury’s Foodprint: Introduction to Food Systems Issues
  • FOOD 0281 Food Power & Justice
  • ANTH 0211 Environmental Anthropology
  • SOCI 0236 Sociology of Food (not taught at present, but still listed)
  • ANTH 0345 Anthropology of Food (NB: Although not an introductory course for an ANTH student, this course would introduce students to anthropological perspectives on Food Studies and typically has no prerequisites.)
  • GEOG 0208 Land & Livelihoods

2)  Two elective courses related to food, from any department:


  • BIOL 140 Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL 203 Biology of Plants
  • BIOL 323 Plant Community Ecology
  • BIOL 0392 Conservation Biology
  • CHEM 270 Environmental Chemistry
  • ECON 0228 Economics of Agricultural Transitions
  • ENVS 0215 Contested Grounds
  • ENVS 0245 Human Environment: Middle East
  • ENVS 0385 Global Political Ecology
  • FOOD 0310 Agroecology
  • FOOD 0380 Hunger, Food Security & Food Sovereignty
  • GSFS 0430 Queering Food
  • GEOG 0216 Rural Geography
  • GEOG 208 Land and Livelihoods
  • GEOG 0225 Environmental Change in Latin America
  • GHLT 0267 Global Health
  • GEOL 0255 Surface & Ground Water
  • GEOL 0257 Soils, Geology & Environment
  • HIST 0352 Food in the Middle East: History, Culture, and Identity
  • CMLT/ITAL 0299 Literary Feasts: Representations of Food in Modern Narrative
  • ITAL 0356 A Culinary History of Italy
  • PGSE 0321 With Flavor: Food and Brazilian Culture

3)   One upper-level seminar or course (i.e., 300 or 400 level) focused on Food Studies, selected from the following (noting that some courses have prerequisites):

  • INTD 0426 Health, Food, and Poverty: Critical Frameworks for Social Change. (Note: This course was developed by faculty from Global Health, Food Studies and Privilege & Poverty, as a capstone for students from our programs. Each student will design and plan their own social change project.  This is the preferred option for an upper-level seminar.)
  • FOOD 310 Agroecology 
  • FOOD 312 Food Policy
  • FOOD 380 Hunger, Food Security & Food Sovereignty
  • ANTH/IGST 0460 Global Consumptions: Food, Eating, and Power in Comparative Perspective

OR an Independent Study (500- or 700-level) on a topic selected by the student and supervised by a Food Studies affiliated faculty member, integrating issues relevant to Food Studies

NB: Depending on the courses available in the student’s final year, other upper-level seminars or courses may be substituted for the ones listed above with approval of the Food Studies Director.

4)  Immersive learning experience. This may be an internship (through the FoodWorks or Shepherd Fellowship Program, one of the Food Tracks offered through Study Abroad, or independent); service-learning associated with a course; or an independent study connected with a community-based organization. When declaring the minor, the student should explain the immersive learning experience s/he intends to do.

Independent Research

If courses allow students to do independent research, students are expected to use the opportunity to explore food or agricultural issues. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of international study, and to take courses relevant to the Food Studies minor while abroad. Note that Middlebury has Food Studies tracks in Italy, Spain and Chile.

Course Substitutions

Courses may be substituted for the introductory or elective courses with the approval of the program director. Approval requires submission of a petition form. Approval of a course for minor credit requires the student to show that they made connections between the course material and their study of Food Studies, for example by writing a final paper on a food systems or agricultural topic. Students must turn in this paper or other approved course material for review for credit.

Declaring a Minor

To declare the minor, submit the following to the Program Director: (1) a minor declaration form and (2) a 500-750 word statement explaining how the classes you chose fit together and further your educational goals within Food Studies, and how your immersive learning experience contributes. To declare the minor, these materials must be submitted at least two weeks before the end of the add period of your seventh semester at Middlebury.