August 15, 2018
A gourmet meal led to a food-for-thought opportunity for a handful of Arizona State University students this summer.
As a result of discussions sparked at Dinner 2040 — a meal-tasting-turned-panel-talk in Phoenix — between a local organic farmer, an ASU professor and a former project coordinator in the School of Sustainability, five students added a comparative farming practicum to their coursework for the Italian Language and Culture in San Severino Marche study-abroad program coordinated by the ASU Study Abroad Office. A longstanding program led by Associate Professor of Italian Juliann Vitullo, students take immersive Italian language courses in a 13,000-inhabitant Italian town, San Severino Marche.
“Students got an inside look at co-op produce. They saw 10 farms and got to witness infrastructure developing with CSA (community-supported agriculture), the business and the lack of infrastructure for farming in Phoenix,” Vitullo said.
Comparative programs like this one allow students to experience the challenges of our local system, such as food waste and lack of infrastructure for small-scale organic farmers, and address a need to bring successful practices from elsewhere back to the metro Phoenix area.