Food Security & Nutrition

Delve into sustainable agriculture on a Tuscan estate and explore how experts in the international community are confronting challenges of food security, nutrition, and health.

At a Glance





Courses taught in



Jun 15 ‎– Jul 26

Program Countries


Program Base

Montespertoli, Tuscany

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon


Why Study Food Security in Italy?

Examine the intersecting issues of food security, health, and sustainable development while exploring the rich and varied culinary traditions of Tuscany and Italy. While on the program you will live at Castello Sonnino, an historic estate dating back to the 13th century, located within walking distance of the village of Montespertoli and 20 minutes from Florence. The castello lies at the heart of a 150-hectare farm that produces high-quality olive oil and wine, including Chianti Montespertoli D.O.C.G.

In addition to your time at Castello Sonnino, you will also gain hands-on experience with some of Tuscany’s historic sustainable agricultural practices through a practicum on a local farm. While there, you will also explore how communities are addressing health and nutritional needs.

On an excursion to Rome you will have the opportunity to engage with experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and gain an in-depth look at how the international community is addressing today’s challenges of food security, nutrition, and health around the world. Throughout the program you will also have the chance to enjoy Tuscany’s rich culinary traditions and explore the rapid development of the slow food movement, which originated in Italy.


  • Live in the 13th-century Castello Sonnino and engage in a unique historic-cultural experience.  
  • Gain hands on experience with practicum at a local farm and learn about ancient farming in Tuscany. 
  • Network with professionals at major international organizations.
  • Uncover sustainable agriculture’s role in fostering food security and public health.
  • Explore the cultural diversity and rich culinary traditions of Tuscany and Italy.





On a three-day excursion to Rome, you will visit The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and achieve food security for all. You will meet with experts and learn about the FAO’s efforts to combat famine and ensure that everyone has regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. While in Rome, you will also explore the magnificent monuments and art of the “Eternal City,” including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Sistine Chapel, and Vatican City.


During your program, you will have an opportunity to visit Florence, which Mark Twain described as a “city of dreams.” Located about 25 miles from Castello Sonnino, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance and is world renowned for its art and architecture. The city is home to masterpieces including Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, as well as impressive structures like the Duomo (officially the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore) and Palazzo Vecchio.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.



The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Impact of climate change on food sovereignty and global health
  • Ancient farming and sustainability
  • Obesity, under-nutrition, and inadequate nutrition
  • Infant and child feeding
  • Slow food culture in Italy

Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development

Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development – syllabus
(IBPH 3000 / 3 credits)

This seminar examines food security and nutrition in the perspective of sustainable development and social stability, taking into account the role of financial markets, agri-business industries and international food, land, and commodity trading, while connecting these factors to broader global challenges such as food sovereignty, public health, climate change, complex emergencies, and forced migration.

Practicum on Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development

Practicum on Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development – syllabus
(IBPH 3060 / 3 credits)

The Practicum on Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development offers students a unique opportunity to identify, connect, analyze, and apply useful theories and concepts highlighted in their coursework on, and their experiences related to, sustainable agriculture, food security, and food systems. It also leads to enhanced capacity for life-long reflection, reflective practice, and professional development. In this practicum, students will intern with a farmer, experience sustainable farming practices in Tuscany, and learn directly about the challenges that local farmers face in a growing international agri-business market dominated by multinational companies.


Experience Life on a 13th Century Estate

You will live in apartments on the 13th-century estate of Castello Sonnino, near Montespertoli in Tuscany. This unique cultural experience will provide insights into the life of the gentry in medieval Europe. You will have a private room in a two- or three-bedroom apartment, which will be shared with other students on the program and equipped with its own bathroom and kitchen. Your meals will be provided on site at the estate’s Enoteca, which offers ample indoor and outdoor eating space to respect social distancing needs. You will also have an opportunity to engage in a weekly “English for Pasta” activity in which you provide an English lesson in exchange for a home-cooked meal with a local family. You will also benefit from the insights and passion of the de Renzis Sonnino family, who run the estate and have years of experience in the agricultural industries, farming, and viniculture. Living on Castello Sonnino’s working farm and winery offers a one-of-a-kind experiential learning environment where you can fully immerse yourself in the program’s central themes.

Other Accommodations

You will stay in a hostel while on excursion.

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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