College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Nutrition & Food Science

Agriculture in Angers, France: Students Study Abroad

Five AGNR students selected to attend four week living-learning program.
Students visit to Clos Cristal, a vineyard that they visited while in Angers, France.
Image Credit: 
Rachel Lipman

Five upperclassmen from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources spent a month this summer studying abroad in Angers, France in a unique living-learning experience. At the Ecole Superieure d’Agriculture, students were able to immerse themselves in French culture and customs while also taking courses on French and European civilization, sustainable agriculture, and wine and regional food product development.

The intense experience allowed students to compare food systems in France with those here in the United States.

“Visits to local farms and markets provided me with insight into the differences between the American and the French approach to food,” said Dan Hyde, a senior food science major. “While both nations have substantial industrial systems in place to sustain the food supply, France is definitely stronger in terms of the connections between local agriculture, farmer's markets, and consumers. The tendency to overproduce and maximize profits was not as strong as it is here at home.”

For the trip’s duration, each student lived with a host family, providing them with the first-hand opportunity to witness the role that food plays in French homes. Specifically, some students enjoyed two-and-a-half-hour meals, while others learned how to make cheese, bread, and wine.

“France is known for their production in old-world wine, and with my plan to become a winemaker, France was the best place to study and learn,” said Rachel Lipman, senior plant science and communications double major.

Lipman remained in France for an additional four weeks to complete an internship in Les Verchers Sur Lyon in the Loire Valley, residing at winemaker Jacky Ripoche’s home.

“I learned about organic viticulture and oenology through the vineyard I interned at,” Lipman recalled. “It was interesting to find the difference between not only old-world styled wine in France, but organic as well.”

In the future, Lipman hopes to bring the wine-making techniques she learned in France to American soil, wanting to start organic viticulture in Maryland.

France also left a lasting impact on Jennifer Shapp, junior animal science major, who aims to live and work with animals there. “The contacts that I made in France could help me further explore these interests, and possibly open new doors,” Shapp said.

While some of those contacts were, indeed, French, AGNR students such as Heather Wheatley made connections with students across the United States, as well; particularly students from Wisconsin, Texas, and Wyoming.

“My time in France widened my perspective to include the immediate importance of a sustainable approach to food production as well as emphasizing quality over quantity,” Hyde said. “I would encourage as many Terps to go next summer as the program can handle.”

Nick Stavely, May graduate in agriculture and resource economics, echoed Hyde’s thoughts: “France has a very specific and storied history with food and agriculture, which makes it a perfect place for students

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