Loyola University New Orleans’ College of Arts and Sciences is rolling out a new interdisciplinary food studies program. Beginning this fall, Loyola students can pursue a major in food studies designed around food policy, commerce and culture. Food studies programs have been on the rise for the last two decades at American colleges and universities. Loyola’s program will be the first undergraduate food studies major in Louisiana.
The food studies major combines interdisciplinary food studies courses with classes from history, sociology, the natural sciences, environmental studies and other fields. The program aims to teach students about the complex web of relationships that bring food to the plate.
“So many different aspects of the world around us come together in a single dish: taste, culture, friendship, the global economy, the labor that brings ingredients from the field to the table,” says Dr. Daniel Mintz, director of the new program. “Food is an incredible teaching tool, and there is no better place to study it than New Orleans.”
Students in Loyola’s new program will examine the systems that govern food production, distribution and consumption. They also will explore the culture of food through a variety of cultural approaches to food studies. Through coursework in food policy, students will question how society should make decisions about the food system and will learn about how such decisions are made in practice. Food studies at Loyola will prepare students for careers in fields such as policymaking, food policy advocacy, food supply chain and distribution, food marketing and food research, food journalism, food criticism, food entrepreneurship and consulting.
Students in the program will delve into the rich culinary heritage of New Orleans and will engage critically with the challenges faced by the city’s food system. Through coursework and experiential learning, the new food studies program at Loyola will produce graduates attentive to the practical realities of food production, consumption and policy-making, and committed to producing a more just and equitable food system, according to the university.
Students in Loyola’s food studies program also will consider issues of hunger, abundance and food distribution and explore access to food as an urgent justice issue. Through the study of “foodways,” or food and its relationship with society, graduates can ultimately help to bring change, the university says.
As part of their education, students in the program will have opportunities to learn from New Orleans-based nonprofit and industry leaders, building on Loyola’s relationships with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Edible Schoolyard, Capstone Community Gardens, the NOLA food co-op, Hollygrove Market and Farm, Whole Foods Market, Dooky Chase Restaurant and others.
Loyola University New Orleans is a Catholic, Jesuit university located in the heart of the city’s Uptown neighborhood.