Eastern Shore Food Lab

Rethinking Food

The Eastern Shore Food Lab (ESFL) is an interdisciplinary research, teaching, and production laboratory dedicated to studying and experimenting with sustainable food systems, using the Eastern Shore food-shed as its primary context.

By researching the resources unique to the region based on weather, climate, soil chemistry, and microbial biology—and fusing historical foodways with modern technologies—faculty, students, community members, and collaborative researchers re-envision our food system, from how we define food to how we grow it and prepare it.


** Register to attend “The Day After” with Chef John Nocita on November 20 **

Campus Activity

  • Medieval May Day Celebration
    What does a resilient local food system taste like? Permaculture interns and Chaucer students sought to find out.
  • A site design concept by Emily Castle '18 includes spaces for people, wildlife, and food production.
    A new permaculture internship is helping students understand this multidisciplinary approach to ecological design, deepen their relationship with the natural world, and learn how they can cultivate harmony for people and wildlife.
  • Mastering the air flow of the earth oven was important to keep the fire going strong.
    From starting sourdough cultures in their dorm rooms to baking pizza in the Campus Garden’s earth oven, Washington College’s student gardeners are learning how permaculture helps grow a resilient society.
  • A jar of honey harvested from the Campus Garden apiary.
    The Campus Garden is abuzz with excitement. Students harvested honey from campus for the first time in Washington College history—and not one sting!
  • Students enjoyed aronia berries in homemade yogurt smoothies they made while camping.

    Students foraged for meals and fermented foods as part of the permaculture pre-orientation trip, which focused on how to build ecological resilience within the modern human landscape.

  • Bill Schindler, inaugural director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College, explains some of the charcuterie, ...

    Washington College’s innovative new Eastern Shore Food Lab will be based in the heart of Chestertown in a renovated restaurant space.

  • Washington College students thrive in specialized classrooms and outdoor spaces that facilitate hands-on learning.
  • Delectable cricket tacos will be on the menu during the cooking event on Feb. 17.
    On Feb. 15-17, Washington College presents “The New Face of Farm to Table: Insects on the Menu” with documentary film screenings, cooking contests, and lectures from leaders in the field.
  • Students learn how to forage for autumn olives.
    This collection of photos highlights Dr. Bill Schindler’s work on campus.
  • Students established an apiary on campus to support local food production.

In the News

  • Learn True Health interview with Dr. Schindler.
    Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab Bill Schindler discusses his journey to learn about ancestral diets.
  • Shane Brill's foraging at Adkins Arboretum appears in Shore Home and Garden magazine.
    Assistant Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab Shane Brill ’03 M’11 on wild edible plants.
  • Bill Schindler interviewed on Peak Human podcast.
    Dr. Bill Schindler on food, our ancestors, and how we became human.
  • Inside Higher Ed interviewed Bill Schindler for The Academic Minute.
    Professor Bill Schindler is interviewed for Inside Higher Ed’s “The Academic Minute.”
  • Best Possible Taste
    Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab and Associate Professor of anthropology, is interviewed on Ireland’s radio program “The Best Possible Taste” hosted by Sharon Noonan.
  • Test Tube Burgers
    04/11/18 RTE “Big Week on the Farm”

    Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab and Associate Professor of Anthropology, is featured on RTE’s “Big Week on the Farm,” discussing his take on the latest in the “test-tube hamburger.” This line of research uses stem cells from an animal’s muscle tissue to “grow” meat in a laboratory. Some see this research as a more sustainable and ethical way to produce enough meat for the growing human population. 

  • Nose to Tail Eating

    04/11/18 RTE’s “Big Week on the Farm”
    Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab and Associate Professor of Anthropology, is featured in this segment of RTE’s “Big Week on the Farm.” He explains the most nutrient-dense parts of an animal—such as the brains, liver, and even intestines—as well as how often those are thrown away, and how a nose-to-tail approach to eating an animal is more ethical as well as better for your health. 

  • Dr. Bill Schindler speaking with Philip Boucher-Hayes on What Are You Eating?
    Bill Schindler appeared on the show “What Are You Eating” with his former Washington College students Maggie Kobik ’11 and Mike Whisenant ’16.
  • Bill Schindler forages in Ireland.
    The Eastern Shore Food Lab gets a running start by building on research with top experts around the world.
  • 11/07/17 The Irish Times

    Bill Schindler, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab, is interviewed for this story in The Irish Times about his collaboration with University College Dublin, Ireland’s Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture, and the Food Evolutions project. The story discusses his Food, People, and the Planet class at Washington College and how it is related to his study of what he calls “immersive food acquisition.”