Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First Post by Tom Morris

Hello from Florence, Italy.

This blog will provide information from students enrolled in the Sustainable Food and Environmental Systems Program (SFESP). The SFESP is a 14-credit study abroad semester offered by the International Studies Institute (ISI) in Florence in cooperation with the University of Connecticut, Rutgers University, Penn State University and the University of Virginia.

This semester the students will learn about sustainable food production in Tuscany, Italy, the US and the world through experiential learning by working at the food market and soup kitchen in Florence, and by visiting farms and food processors in northern Italy. But the highlight of the semester will be a visit to the World Expo in Milan whose theme is sustainable food production across the world.

Classes started on August 31 and the 12 students enrolled in the program are learning their way around Florence, and ISI. The weather is a bit hot - 92-95 degrees F - and most apartments in Florence do not have air conditioning, so sleeping has been less than ideal. Fans are also scarce due to a heat wave in the high 90s a few weeks ago that seems to have caused a run on fan purchases with nary a fan currently available in the market.

But the food is excellent, the wine inexpensive and delicious, and the people friendly and interested to engage in discussion.  And then there is the city of Florence, which is like a enormous museum with statues and frescoes scattered throughout the city.  

Students will be posting their thoughts about Florence, studying abroad, sustainable agriculture, the food culture of Florence, or any topic they chose.

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