George Brown College in Ontario is launching a new first-of-its-kind bachelor’s food course, the Honours Bachelor of Food Studies program.
The program, hosted George Brown’s Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts, is Canada’s first four-year degree to combine culinary arts and a comprehensive food studies curriculum. It intends to opens doors to diverse career pathways in foodservice and related fields.
A George Brown press release notes COVID-19 has highlighted many challenges in the food system, including distribution, labour issues, cost of food, and food insecurity. It adds the constant changes and the pandemic have reinforced the need for a more holistic approach to culinary education.
The bachelor’s food course aims to prepare graduating leaders with the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle these challenges head on. Key aims of the program are to bring new focus on justice and equity, sustainability and health, and renewed awareness of how these societal issues can be analyzed and resolved.
“In the development of this degree, we spent a lot of time thinking through the diverse field of food studies to bring together the practical skills learned in the culinary arts with the most relevant knowledge of food sustainability, politics, history, and culture in a way that prepares students to become leading agents of change in the industry,” said Caitlin Scott, Professor of Food Studies, who was involved in co-developing the program.
The college says graduates will be positioned to succeed in a wide range of food-related occupations including roles in culinary, education, tourism, recreation, health sector, food security, food justice, sustainability, economic development, agriculture, public policy, and research.
“This Food Studies program provides students with an in-depth knowledge of our food system along with the skills, insights and knowledge to become leaders in a rapidly changing environment,” said Lorraine Trotter, Dean, Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, George Brown College. “It offers a broad range of career pathways, while providing all stakeholders in our food system with leaders who can thrive in both for-profit and non-profit organizations.”
The release adds that the program’s residency in Toronto will provide a unique setting, with the city’s broad range of multicultural and Indigenous food traditions. Students will also participate in a paid co-op placement focused on the application of culinary and food literacy, policy, or research skills, as well as partaking in community-engaged learning opportunities such as volunteer hours with a food non-profit to assist in the delivery of community food programs or time spent working with a municipal government on food policy.
The Honours Bachelor of Food Studies embraces experiential learning as a key component of the program delivery. Students will have numerous occasions to examine a broad range of activities in the community, take field trips in the surrounding area, and complete two 16-hour community-engaged learning placements as part of their coursework.