Serving Up the Truth

Food Writers of UMass Amherst showcases the work of UMass Journalism students enrolled in Food Writing.

The course is designed for writers to engage with each other as editorial peers, soliciting feedback on story ideas and sharing drafts of their writing through revision.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of these students’ labors as much as I do! This is a piece I wrote about teaching the class in 2022.

—Carol Connare, May 2022
Instructor, Department of Journalism
UMass Amherst/Food Writing

That’s me, Carol Connare, off to the left, talking to poet and food writer Xinyuan Xu, on our forage at the UMass Farm in the spring of 2022. Around a dozen of us ambled around its edges guided by Dan Bensonoff, at right, shown with a handful of delicious chickweed he just hacked off of the edge of a compost pile. Dan is the campus’s permaculture guru and avid forager. Photo by Chelsea Staub ’22.

Food Writing 391J

The course approaches food writing from a news reporting perspective. The Pioneer Valley is home to a network of food producers, from farmers and cheesemakers to brewers and beekeepers. Students will travel into the field to meet people who make and grow what we eat, conducting interviews and collecting information to synthesize into multimedia stories for publication around themes such as health, history, travel, ecology, animal welfare, social change, nutrition, and home cooking. Students will experience the full spectrum of food writing, from profiles and reviews to recipes, memoir, and narrative journalism, and create stories in a variety of these forms.

Course Description, Department of Journalism, UMass Amherst

Food Writing Learning Objectives 

  • Generate story ideas through critical reading and personal experience 
  • Conduct research and evaluate information using primary and secondary texts 
  • Communicate effectively through writing and multimedia storytelling 
  • Apply and improve descriptive and narrative writing 
  • Critically evaluate one’s own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness through group critique. 

Foraging Spring 2022: Food Writer Cole Fanning ’23 is reaching in for a sprouted onion tip, while other students look on. That’s Wafi Habib ’22 all the way to the right, about to pluck a handful of chickweed from the earth. Photo by Chelsea Staub ’22.