Welcome to the New York University Global Food Cultures Puerto Rico Study Abroad Course! This blog will be used to share our student’s reactions and reflections on Puerto Rico’s food system.

Puerto Rico’s contemporary food system is the product of a complex history of colonial relations. Its food system first developed as part of the Spanish empire and then as a U.S. commonwealth. This week-long intensive study abroad course will examine the history of Puerto Rico’s food system and how colonial legacies are manifest in agricultural production, food processing and distribution, and diet and cuisine on the Island. Puerto Rico imports the vast majority of its food. Yet, some of the Island’s most pressing social problems are directly linked to its food and agriculture system: high rates of rural poverty and unemployment, elevated rural poverty rates, very high participation in the federally funded Nutritional Assistance Program, and the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and other conditions related to over-nutrition. At the same time, Puerto Rico’s agriculture and food industries have recently attracted an influx of young activists and entrepreneurs that view reviving local Puerto Rican agriculture as a social imperative, an economic opportunity, and a source of cultural and culinary heritage.

In the coming days, from March 15-21, 2015, our students will be sharing their experiences navigating, thinking and tasting through Puerto Rico’s food system, from production to consumption. In this assignment, students are tasked with bringing together their experiences along with course reading materials.

Please join us us here as we document our physical and intellectual journey!


Gustavo Setrini, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Food Studies
Melissa Fuster, Ph.D., Assistant Professor & Faculty Fellow of Food Studies
Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health
Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development
New York University


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