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

  • ESFL interns Nicole Hatfield ’21 and Annaliese Bush ’22 harvest chicory in the campus garden. The young leave...
    In the inaugural summer of the Eastern Shore Food Lab, student interns are researching wild foods, mastering culinary skills, growing produce, and rethinking the food system.
  • ESFL Intern Alaina Perdon has a talent for cooking perfect tortillas.
    The Eastern Shore Food Lab is working to revive the ancient tradition of nixtamalizing maize for tortilla production.
  • ESFL Interns Julia Portmann and Kelsey McNaul won top awards at Commencement.
    Julia Portmann ’19 and Kelsey McNaul ’19 were instrumental in the launch of the Eastern Shore Food Lab this past year, and their efforts were recognized at Commencement as they garnered two of the most prestigious awards for graduating seniors.
  • Lanning Tyrrel observes the Chester River at twilight.
    The Eastern Shore Food Lab is establishing an outdoor learning space at the River and Field Campus for the study and production of wild foods, primitive technology, and ecological landscape design.
  • Students traveled to the Atlantic Ocean to make salt.
    Students siphoned, filtered, and boiled seawater to form pure salt crystals on string.
  • 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!
  • Alaina Perdon '22, Bill Schindler, and Shane Brill '03 M'11 represented the Eastern Shore Food Lab and Washington College ...
    An ESFL contingent participated in the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Teen Summit to join leaders in the conversation about food sustainability.
  • Master Chef John Nocita at the ESFL.

    Washington College’s Eastern Shore Food Lab opens its doors for the first time with Italian Culinary Institute Master Chef John Nocita giving two presentations on no-waste traditional food preparation.

  • Medieval May Day Celebration
    What does a resilient local food system taste like? Permaculture interns and Chaucer students sought to find out.
  • 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.

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In the News

  • 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.
  • 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.”