Food Systems and Sustainability

“Good food should be a right, not a privilege.”
– Alice Waters, Chef and Founder of Chez Panisse

The GUSTOLAB FOOD SYSTEMS & SUSTAINABILITY (GLI) cluster investigates fields which simultaneously involve the physical place (which produces food), the people and cities (which consume the food) and the technology (used in its production, processing and distribution). We also address international laws and regulations and the cross-pollination between numerous and diverse cultures.


Since our first program in Food and Culture in Italy was launched in 2005 this field of study has increased in importance and become fundamentally interdisciplinary. Our food studies abroad programs are flourishing more than ever as a response to Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being).

Courses from the Catalog

  • GLI 201 Italian Food & Culture
  • GLI 202 Nutrition in the Mediterranean World
  • GLI 299 Food Production: Olive Oil, Wine
  • GLI 401 Critical Studies on Food: from Production to Waste
  • INT 101 Academic Internship

SERVICE LEARNING AND INTERNSHIPS in Food Studies and Agriculture

Students may take part in workshops and field experience involving urban agriculture, food aid, environmental policy and community service. Our internships are curricular, followed closely by our faculty who coordinate public symposia and publications.

Students interested in enrolling in an academic internship while abroad will receive individual advising as our staff works to find the best customized internship placements for our students. As part of Gustolab, you could have the chance to intern with an organic farm and historical initiative of sustainable urban agriculture. This community partner has been active in Rome since the 1970s and began as a project to recover abandoned public lands and to actively promote sustainable and alternative ways of living and active citizenship.

Meet Food Studies Coordinator Elizabeth Simari

Elizabeth Simari holds an MA in Italian Literature from Middlebury College in Florence (2010). At Middlebury, she studied the intersection of Italian literature and food history. From 2010-2016, she worked as a journalist, translator, and graphic designer for the English edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. In 2013, she earned a sommelier certificate from the Italian Sommelier Association and began developing courses on wine for university students in Rome. She has taught the JFRC’s Summer Fusion course “Discovering Italy: Food, Wine & Photography of Rome and Abruzzo” for four summers. She gives private wine tastings and food tours around Rome and has worked as a translator for Mark Bittman and as a food writer for The New York Times. Most recently, she researched Nancy Pelosi’s Italian heritage for the forthcoming book Madam Speaker by Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief. She also teaches at Gustolab International Food Systems and Sustainability.


  • Sustainable Service Learning

    Sustainable Service Learning

    Our students love to get involved in environmental projects in their adopted city, Rome. Whether this be helping fight climate change through conscientious shopping and recycling, joining in with Retake Rome to clean up public areas, or participating in internships supporting urban agricultural or welcoming immigrants, there are always ways for the study abroad student…

  • Open House Roma

    Open House Roma

    It’s always a thrill to be in Rome when Open House comes around. This non-profit organization has been opening up special sites and properties to the public for over a decade and has become a true annual institution. A wide range of destinations, from tiny modern apartments to huge churches and archaeological sites make up…

  • Borromini in Boston

    Borromini in Boston

    Several members of the Borromini Team will be present at the Forum for Education Abroad annual meeting in Boston later this month, on March 20-22. We hope those of you attending will drop in and say hi. Founder Pier Alberto Merli, Visual Media Manager Lu Yuan, and Program Coordinator Lindsay Maldari will be on hand…

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Fill out the form below to receive our quarterly newsletter.