This program will be led by Dr. Donna Senese.
This experiential seminar explores the historic and contemporary connections between local food and wine and the tourism industry in the rural countryside of Tuscany. Within a framework of sustainability students participate in local food and wine production and agritourism consumption. This program fits with UBC’s growing focus on sustainability and the international transferability of those concepts. Lessons from Tuscany, where traditional and typical food and wine systems have combined with tourism to sustain the rural countryside can inform local sustainability efforts in British Columbia.
Students are housed at historic Castello Sonnino, a 13th century estate of 150 hectares including olive orchards, market garden, vineyard and winery just outside of Firenze, near the village of Montespertoli. Our hosts, the de Renzis Sonnino family are dedicated to preservation of cultural and environmental heritage and their estate is the only operating farm, winery and historic site in Tuscany to offer university students on site experiential learning opportunities. Students will live and work within the castle at the winery, orchards, gardens and vineyards experiencing first hand the tenants of the slow food, and sustainable practices of vineyard management, food production, olive oil and winemaking. Students will have their own traditional Tuscan kitchens and are offered cooking classes and workshops on traditional markets and food and wine culture and consumption. Field excursions, tours and tastings at wineries, vineyards and farms that practice sustainable methods of production and encourage sustainable consumption through out Tuscany are also included. Guest lectures in sustainable practices of tourism, wine and food production from scholars at the Universities of Firenze, Siena, Torino and Roma Sapienza are also provided.