Learning Abroad Center

From Farm to Fork: Terroir, Food Systems, & Value Chains of France


"Terroir" is the French term used to describe the conditions related to the production of foods and wine based on the soils and special characteristics found in the region. It is one of the reasons why French food products and cuisine are valued so highly and imitated around the world, but did you know that Western France is the most important region in Europe for agriculture and agribusiness? This study abroad program will learn about crop production and the agroecology of the region; sustainable food systems and agribusiness structures; and examine the value these food products and their production have in relation to French culture, health, business, and environment. 

This program is administered by the College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences' Office of International Programs. Applications are processed by the Learning Abroad Center.

Program Details

Angers, Paris, Multiple locations, France
May Session
Languages Taught In
Languages Taught In
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year


On this 4-week program, you will explore how a terroir-driven food system can have a positive impact on ecological, cultural, social, and economic resources while also benefiting local and regional stakeholders. You will study France's regional food systems and the concept of "terroir" – the conditions related to the production of foods and wine based on the soils and special characteristics found in the region. You will also consider how agricultural and food system value chains can impact not only the marketing of these food products but also the ecology where they are produced; the health and well-being of the consumers and growers; and the impact on business. Other topics that will be focused on include viticulture, food sciences and technology, international marketing, sensory analysis, and consumer behavior in the French context.

You will visit Paris, Normandy, Brittany, and the Loire Valley. The program also includes visits to sites such as vineyards, distilleries, organic farms, bakeries, and cheesemakers, to offer behind-the-scenes insights into French agricultural business.

Click here to see captioned photos from previous years. 

COVID-19 Modifications 

The program will comply with local public health recommendations as well as recommended standards of the University of Minnesota. This may include modifications to the program calendar, weekly schedule, classroom environment, course delivery, housing arrangements, transportation policies, and/or in-country travel restrictions.  Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and booster are required in order to participate in the program.

Program Model

Experiential Learning

Housing & Meals

In Angers, you will live with a French host family who will provide you with breakfast and dinner. You will also have lunch provided Monday through Friday while in Angers. You will stay at a hostel while in Paris, Normandy, Brittany, and in the Loire. Breakfast will be provided at the hostel.

Application Deadline

February 1, 2023

Program Dates

Depart from Minneapolis-Saint Paul: May 30, 2023
Arrive in France: May 31, 2023
Depart from France: Anytime between June 29, 2023 - July 3, 2023


You will receive credit for CFAN 3505: French Language and Culture (1 credit) and CFAN 3512: Value Chains of a Terroir-drive Food System (3 credits). 

This program fulfills the following Liberal Education requirements: Social Sciences core, Global Perspectives, and Environment theme.

Program Leader

Vanessa Walton, Program Director in the Learning Abroad Center and CFANS Office of International Programs, will be leading this program. Vanessa holds a BA in French and International Studies and a MS in Heritage Conservation and Preservation. She is Hennepin County Master Gardener who focuses on urban agriculture and food sovereignty in BIPOC communities. She studied abroad in Angers, Paris, and Basque Country in France while in college and since then has had the opportunity to travel to other parts of the Francophone world, including Quebec, Canada and Dakar, Senegal. 


You will participate in the following cultural excursions:

  • 2 days in Paris;
  • 2 days exploring chateaus in the Loire Valley;
  • 3 days in Normandy and Brittany;
  • Multiple farm and company visits.

More Information

Contact Vanessa Walton from the CFANS Office of International Programs at [email protected] with your questions.

Program Fee

Program Fee Forthcoming

Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, airfare, and program inclusions. The program fee generally includes tuition, in-country program-related transportation, housing, most meals, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, program administration, and international health insurance. Generally, the program fee ranges from $5,500-$7,500. You must also budget for passport and passport photos, airfare, airport transfers, some meals, textbooks, independent travel, and miscellaneous living expenses.

If a student is required to isolate during the program dates, due to Covid-19, there may be an additional cost for the isolation period. Additional housing costs might also be covered by the onsite partner's insurance plan. In some cases, with agreement by students and prior approval from the university, roommates, apartment-mates or students who are in close contact with each other and who both test positive, may share a room in quarantine housing, in accordance with local regulations. This information is subject to change and will be updated accordingly.

Billing & Payments

The application fee, deposit, and program fee are charged to the student's UMN account. 

Financial Aid & Scholarships

The College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences offers grants for study abroad programs; learn more here. Students can learn about financial aid and scholarships through the Learning Abroad Center here.

Cancellation Policy

All applicants are charged a $50 non-refundable application fee by the Learning Abroad Center. Students who confirm their participation in the program will have charged to their student account a $750 non-refundable deposit. Confirmed students who cancel their application before February 15  are responsible for the non-refundable deposit. Confirmed students who cancel their application on February 15 or later are responsible for the non-refundable deposit and any non-recoverable fees. 

In the event that the CFANS Office of International Programs (OIP) is forced to cancel this entire program, meaning both the on-campus portion and abroad portion, accepted and confirmed students will receive a full refund of their application fee and deposit. In the event that students have started the on-campus portion of the program, but international conditions do not allow students to travel, as per University of Minnesota policy, students will be provided with the ability to complete the course and recoverable fees will be returned to students. 

Students have the option to appeal the CFANS OIP cancellation policy when canceling from a program for extenuating circumstances. Please refer to the Learning Abroad Center's refund appeal process for details and the form to submit. The review and decision will be made by CFANS OIP, not the LAC refund appeal committee.

Please note: In the near future COVID vaccine requirements may be instituted by specific countries and/or airlines without advance notice. Vaccination gives you the best chance for participation in a program and will keep open the most travel options. 

The inability to participate in a program because of local, national, or airline restrictions if you are not vaccinated but are eligible to be vaccinated will not be considered a valid reason for a refund.

May 2022

Cost of Participation Forthcoming


Complete pre-application advising.




When you submit your online application, you will be assigned an application checklist that includes:

  • First Step session
  • University of Minnesota Student Release and Waiver Form

Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist.

Next Steps

  1. You will receive an automated email message indicating your application was received.
  2. Follow the instructions on your application checklist to submit the Student Release and Waiver Form.
  3. Your application is not considered complete until the form has been received and you have completed the First Step module. Your completed application will be forwarded to the program leader in the sponsoring college/department for review.
  4. The program leader will notify the Learning Abroad Center of acceptance decisions. If accepted, you will be notified via email and assigned a confirmation checklist, which includes:
    • Health Information Form
    • Confirmation and Payment Agreement
    • Online Health & Safety Orientation
  5. Login to the online application to review the confirmation checklist and submit the required items.
  6. Once you submit all items, your participation will be confirmed and your student account will be billed for the program deposit.
  7. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application and submit a Cancel Request. You must also notify your program leader of your cancellation.