An Italian Food Experience

Written by: Madison Hire

One of the ultimate college experiences a student can have is studying abroad. This past May eight students had the opportunity to travel Italy’s countryside and experience their food industry from production to marketing. Mason Gordon, a Junior studying Applied Agricultural Economics, learned so many things from wine production to the production of organic products to sell in their grocery stores. 

The students found throughout their trip many different things that surprised them about the Italian agriculture industry. They found that almost all growers there grew their crops organically, but when they visited grocery stores they found very minimal items that were labeled organic or NON-GMO. Gordon said, “Italian farmers were not growing crops organically so that they could take advantage of marketing tactics; instead, they were growing crops organically because that is the way that they believed it should be done.”

Many of the students also had professional takeaways from the trip as well. Gordon said, “My biggest professional takeaway from the program was the importance of community and regions to the Italian people. Everywhere we went, folks were incredibly proud to be from their respective region.” They learned a lot from the small thriving communities in Italy, from how they have grown throughout time and how they are continuing to hold their own in today’s market. 

The students that participated in The Italian Food Experience trip all came back with new knowledge and an appreciation for Italian agriculture. “I would highly recommend this study abroad program for future students. The sights were incredibly beautiful. The farmers that we visited were incredibly intelligent and excited to share their beliefs and practices with our group. The authentic Italian experiences were amazing and memories from those experiences will last a lifetime. I cannot speak more highly of Dr. Gunderson, the regions of Italy that we visited, or my peers that accompanied me on the trip. I could not have asked for a better study abroad experience,” said Gordon. 

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