Skip To Content Skip To Menu Skip To Footer


Food Studies Movement at Dickinson

Background of food studies at Dickinson.

Shopping is a community experience at Farmers on the Square, a weekly, seasonal market located just blocks from campus, where foodies can snap up goodies from the College Farm and other local vendors. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

Dickinson College has for many years been actively cultivating campus awareness of food, academic study of food issues, and participation in the growing of food. The study of food has been part of the foreign language, anthropology and study abroad curricula for decades. Starting with the Student Garden Program in 1999, and greatly amplified since 2007 by the Dickinson College Farm, students have been engaged in hands on learning about food and food systems by growing crops, raising livestock, visiting the farm for class field trips, and conducting independent and supervised research at the farm. 

The rich learning opportunities at the farm, Dickinson’s sustainability across the curriculum initiative, and growing public attention to food issues have kindled student and faculty interest in food that has fed substantial growth in the number and diversity of courses that bring food into the classroom. This growth has been supported by the College Farm, the Center for Sustainability Education, the Community Studies Center, the Center for Global Study and Engagement, the Clarke Forum, dining services, and partnerships with Project SHARE, Farmers on the Square and other community organizations. In addition, Dickinson’s membership in the Eco-League will complement and support Food Studies by expanding opportunities for our students to study food systems, foodways and food culture through our exchange with EcoLeague partner schools.

College Farm staff, faculty, students, and administrators for the last few years have engaged in conversations about ways to draw on the rich and varied food activities at Dickinson to incorporate food into the curriculum in a more deliberate and structured way. The conversation intensified in spring 2014, resulting in the formation of a faculty study group to explore ideas for a food studies certificate. The study group, meeting from spring 2014 through summer 2015, brought together 38 faculty members from all three academic divisions to brain storm ideas, discuss readings, examine models of food studies programs at other institutions, and develop the proposal for a Food Studies Certificate at Dickinson. The certificate was established in February 2016.