What is Food Studies?

Food is at the heart of some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems. It is also at the core of some of the most promising innovations occurring in our world today.

About Food Studies

Food studies is a rapidly growing field of study in North America. Food studies scholars use a critical, interdisciplinary approach to examine food in all its dimensions, including culture, economy, health, policy, and the environment. Combining insights from several disciplines such as geography, history, anthropology, and sociology, we explore fascinating and wicked problems such as:

  • What is the relationship between food and culture?
  • Why do people still go hungry in the 21st century?
  • Why are farmworkers exploited?
  • How do our dietary choices relate to issues of health, social justice, and sustainability?

The Bachelor of Arts in Food Studies at the University of Arizona will prepare you to become a changemaker in our food system. You will learn about the many ways that food is connected to culture, society, policy, and the environment. You will examine urgent problems and explore strategies for creating change.

The degree offers opportunities for applied research experiences, internships with a range of local and regional partners, and study abroad in places such as Italy. Upon completing the program, you will be equipped to work in any number of food-related fields and contribute to food justice, environmental sustainability, cultural programs, and entrepreneurial endeavors.


"Every loop in our social fabric involves food... Food is an object through which humans construct the powerful imaginary of belonging, nostalgia, safety, pleasure, and loyalty, which in turn construct our fundamental ideas of home, family, nation, and community."

–Maribel Alvarez, "We Are What We Eat" from SBS Downtown Lecture Series


Why Study Food in Tucson?

Tucson has the longest agricultural history of any city in North America, extending back more than 4,000 years. As a result, the region has thriving food traditions and culinary distinctiveness (a unique blend of foods and traditions resulting from our multicultural history). The city also fosters local food culture through food business start-ups, urban agriculture, and an array of food festivals and organizations.

The city is the ideal place to study food due to its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, its designation as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, and the many opportunities to get involved in the local food scene through service learning, internships, and activism.