Biology & Ecology of Food in the Mediterranean: Italy and Greece. This study abroad will have a dual focus on the impacts of our food choices on human health and the sustainability of Earth’s ecosystems. The Mediterranean region is a compelling case study because of the well-documented health benefits of the Mediterranean diet common in rural village life (farm to table) in contrast to the western diet linked to poor health that is common in the larger cities. We will study gardening and cooking practices in rural villages in Italy, Greece, and the Greek Islands and compare them to industrial farming, food distribution, and eating culture and practices in Rome and Athens.
In our studies, we will link how the kinds of food we eat affect our biology: overall health, sleep patterns, immune system function, and digestion. Furthermore, we will examine how food choices and traditional versus modern farming practices impact the environment. In addition to studying traditional and modern farming practices on land, we will also compare traditional and contemporary fishing practices and seafood diets. This will be an active study abroad and will include hiking through rural village communities and snorkeling to study the food web of the Mediterranean Sea.