Blue grapes on a vine

France: Sustainable Food Systems from Farm to Fork

  1. Program Details

    French cuisine is one of the most famous and imitated cuisines in 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 explain crop production and the agroecology of the region, sustainable livestock farming systems and agribusiness structures, and examine the importance of food to the French culture.

    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.

    Location Angers, Paris, Multiple locations, France
    Term May Session
    Housing Homestay
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students
    Student Year Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  2. About France: Sustainable Food Systems from Farm to Fork

    Paris, city of lights. The castles of the lush Loire Valley. The walled city of Saint Malo and the historic battlefields of northern France. You will visit these places while learning about sustainable food chains: crop production, agroecology, sustainable livestock farming systems and agribusiness structures, as well as oenology – the wine-making process. 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 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. Visits to vineyards, organic farms, a goat farm, a cattle breeding farm and a liquor distillery offer behind-the-scenes insights into French agricultural business. Students also have the opportunity to participate in an optional internship following the course.

    Click here to see captioned photos from last year!

    Farm Internship

    Want to extend your stay in France and experience French farm life first hand? Students participating in this program have the option to apply for a Farm Practice Internship in the Loire Region of France.

    Students with a desire to experience French agriculture in a hands-on environment are encouraged to apply. This internship aims to develop student's professional skills through hands-on experience working in agriculture, as well as language skills and cultural knowledge through through sharing in daily life with colleagues and a French host family.

    The internship can be a 4 week or 8 week program, beginning in either July or August. Duties of the student will vary from farm to farm, but every student will stay with a farming host family. Students are expected to continue improving their French speaking skills during this internship. Students are financially responsible for acquiring health insurance for the duration of their stay and for any time spent traveling prior to the beginning of the internship. There is no cost for completing the internship, and room and board are covered. For a full description please refer to this Internship Overview and Application.

    *If a U of M student wishes to receive credit for their internship, he or she must register for an internship course when registering for the study abroad program. Students need to discuss the internship requirements with their advisor.  

    An international internship offers you practical training or work experience. These experiences can be invaluable in shaping your education and career. Some benefits of participating in an international internship include:

    • gaining professional experience and skills
    • increasing your network
    • enriching your academic study
    • increasing your opportunities for graduate program admission and future employment
    • further developing your cultural knowledge, sensitivity, and skills

    Housing & Meals

    You will live with a French host family who will provide three meals daily. Most meals are included in the program fee, with the exception of 3 lunches while in Paris.

    Application Deadline

    February 1, 2020

    Program Dates

    Depart from Minneapolis-Saint Paul: May 27, 2020
    Arrive in France: May 28, 2020
    Depart from France: June 26, 2020


    Receive credit for CFAN 3502 (1 credit) and CFAN 3512 (3 credits). 

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

    Program Leader

    Vanessa Walton is a Program Director in the CFANS Office of International Programs and Learning Abroad Center. She holds a BA in French and studied abroad in France twice during her undergraduate studies, including a semester studying at l'Université catholique de l'Ouest in Angers, France. Throughout her career, she has worked with programs in France and Senegal and since her undergraduate studies, she has spent time in France, Senegal, and Québec. 


    Participate in the following cultural excursions:

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

    Program Fee

    Cost of Participation

    The program fee generally includes tuition, group flight airfare, airport transfers, in-country program related transportation, housing, some meals, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, program administration, and international health insurance. 

    The College of Food, Agricultural and 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

    Programs operated by the CFANS Office of International Programs follow the Learning Abroad Center Cancellation Policy. Before you apply to, or confirm your participation on this program, review the cancellation policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.

    More Information

    Contact the CFANS Office of International Programs at

  3. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term May Session 2020
    Program Name France: Sustainable Food Systems from Farm to Fork
    Track Name France: Sustainable Food Systems from Farm to Fork
    Country France


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.


    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.