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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.

Campus Activity

  • Bone broth demonstration with Dr. Bill Schindler
    Dr. Bill Schindler demonstrates how to make nourishing bone broth at home.
  • Food Tip - Get Restorative Rest - Finish eating 3 hours before bed to get a solid night’s sleep
    To support the Food Lab’s mission of promoting nourishing food for humans, the ESFL team researches food and lifestyle practices to optimize health.
  • Fish and wild greens dinner cooked over a campfire during spring break.
    Students camped, cooked, and built infrastructure at the ESFL’s Wild Foods Outpost over spring break.
  • All suited up!

    A spring Beekeeping 101 course in the Eastern Shore Food Lab offers a bee’s-eye view into the inextricable relationship between human health and environmental resilience.

  • Students create a new 18-day compost pile at the campus garden.
    The Eastern Shore Food Lab is leading the expansion of Washington College’s zero waste initiatives with the launch of a student Compost Team.
  • Join Dr. Bill Schindler for a summer experience in Ireland.
    Join Dr. Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab, for an incredible experience in Ireland.
  • A '50s-inspired diner placemat
    Dr. Schindler’s Food, People, and the Planet course recreated 1950s diner fare inspired by the film “Back to the Future” with a nutrient-dense and bioavailable twist.
  • Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College
    One year after launching the Eastern Shore Food Lab, Dr. Schindler shares a video message describing its trajectory as a new signature center at Washington College.
  • Students collaborate to mix chopped vegetables into sauerkraut.
    The Eastern Shore Food Lab helped students from Garnet Elementary School prepare jars of fermented food for families in need.
  • Melissa DeFrancesco and Alaina Perdon brought their ESFL sensibilities along the Chesapeake Semester.
    In Fall 2019, three of our interns took a hiatus from their research, teaching, and production in the Eastern Shore Food Lab to broaden their worldviews and hone their environmental perspectives during the intensive Chesapeake Semester.
  • Naturalist Kathy Thornton discusses ecology along the Sassafras River during the ESFL's Permaculture Orientation program.
    During Permaculture Orientation with the ESFL, students in the Class of 2023 explored how an understanding of nutrition and diet can lead toward ecological harmony.
  • Students in the Horizons program learned how to ferment foods in a special workshop led by ESFL interns.

    ESFL Interns Analiese Bush ’22 and Nicole Hatfield ’21 hosted students in the Horizons of Kent & Queen Anne’s County summer program for a workshop in making butter for freshly baked sourdough bread, and learning how to chop vegetables for sauerkraut to increase nutrient bioavailability in their food.

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In the News

  • Bill Schindler demonstrates fire technology for Wired
    Dr. Bill Schindler demonstrates how to start a fire with your bare hands in the wilderness for Wired.
  • Bill Schindler speaks at FRUTO
    Dr. Bill Schindler reports on his experience addressing an international consortium of food experts at FRUTO in São Paulo.
  • Dr. Schindler and ESFL Intern Nicole Hatfield '21 appeared on Maryland Public Television's State Circle program.
    Dr. Schindler and ESFL Intern Nicole Hatfield ’21 appeared on the State Circle broadcast segment produced by Maryland Public Television.
  • Dr. Schindler was interviewed via Skype in the Food Lab.
    CNN Newsroom consulted Dr. Schindler for insight into a story of human survival.
  • Edible Delmarva story on the ESFL
    06/01/19 Edible Delmarva
    Edible Delmarva’s feature story on the Eastern Shore Food Lab does a terrific job making the link between the lab’s academic and community missions, highlighting WC students and the work of lab Director Bill Schindler.
  • Chestertown Spy
    04/10/19 The Chestertown Spy

    Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab, is interviewed by The Chestertown Spy. In this 10-minute video interview, he talks about why what the Food Lab has to teach students and the public is so critical to our health, diets, and the future of our food systems.

  • "You were what you ate" podcast on Foodie and the Beast
    Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab, was interviewed by Nycci Nellis of “Foodie and the Beast” on a live broadcast from Washington, D.C., for the program’s “Industry Night” segment. Nellis called it “a mind-blowing interview.”
  • Article appearing in My Eastern Shore MD.
    “It’s about balance. It’s about connections. It’s about learning to live and eat like humans again,” say the Schindlers, Bill and Christina.
  • 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.