The Door to Eden

This week, I have been given the assignment to write about my journey in arriving to Chatham University’s Food Studies Program.

It was about two years ago, June of 2011, that I sat in a computer lab at the University of New Hampshire shuffling around papers to print and sign for my acceptance into Teach for America. In two weeks, I was to board a plane to Chicago where I would interview with principals to teach high school social studies. Yes, I was a wee bit nervous, but mostly humbled by my acceptance; however, I kept having this “pit of the stomach” feeling that this journey may not exactly be meant for me.

While I was waiting for the printer to complete a job I paced the hallway to get some air from the computer lab. As I passed one office door, I stopped in my tracks and turned around. Stickers of all shapes, colors, and sizes decorated the door with quotes like, “No Farms, No Food, Mother Earth News Fair, and Slow Food.” I was intrigued, when suddenly a woman’s head popped out, “Can I help you?” she said. “Oh,” I gasped, “didn’t think you were there,” I replied.

She opened the door wider and asked me to come inside. Suddenly, I felt a rush of tranquility pass through my body. I sat down and asked her about “the door.” She told me about UNH’s new undergraduate program in Eco-Gastronomy, a word completely new to me. I told her about my journey and recent job acceptance, but I kept asking her more about her job. By the end of the conversation, we had exchanged email addresses and agreed to stay in touch.

Walking back to the computer lab I did not pace, I strode, and when I sat down I immediately opened up my email. Listed in front of me were a plethora of schools offering graduate programs in areas similar to Eco-Gastronomy, including Chatham University’s Food Studies Program. I forgot all about the stacks of papers still flowing out of the printer.

Well, you probably know how the rest of the story goes. I racked up the courage to resign from my position with Teach for America. I spent one year exploring the field of Food Studies, by working on farms, in restaurants, for a nutritionist, and also a vineyard and brewery. Then, I opened back up that email and applied to Chatham’s Food Studies program. If it weren’t for “that door” on that quite stressful day I would not be sitting here writing this blog to you. So, every time that someone hands you a sticker supporting Good Food, please grab it. You just never know how you can impact someone else in wherever you choose to place it.


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