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Eastern Shore Food Lab

Eastern Shore Food Mandala

Most food eaten in the Western diet is transported, assembled, and frozen in a system that not only reduces nutrients, but also contributes to pollution and climate change.

The ESFL intends to promote a paradigm of seasonal food production and consumption encapsulated in a food mandala, an educational tool that can inspire a cultural shift toward nutrient dense and healthy food.


The ESFL will create a food mandala for the Eastern Shore bioregion, drawing inspiration from Masanobu Fukuoka’s food mandala for Japan. Like Fukuoka’s, our mandala will be composed of sustainable, local and healthy food options that will optimize human and environmental health. The mandala will help us to identify niches in which ancient and unconventional foods might take important roles in a sustainable diet. We will use the mandala as the basis for creating recipes appropriate for the modern palate and advocating for diversified food production to address bioregional food security.

Long-term Goals

  • Transition the Eastern Shore’s agriculture to be more sustainable
  • Find ways to maximize the potential of invasive and underutilized species
  • Introduce the foods and recipes to the local community and WC campus
  • Transition Washington College’s dining offerings to be based on the mandala
  • Update and refine the mandala with continued research and feedback
  • Contribute positively to the health of the Eastern Shore and its residents

First Steps

  • Research regional prehistoric and historic cuisine and the ingredients and approaches used
  • Investigate the current challenges to food security across the Eastern Shore
  • Find the seasons of food staples representative of a complete human diet
  • Create the first version of the mandala