Author Archives: foodanthro

CFP: Dystopian Underbellies of Food Utopias

With visions of Soylent (or the original, here) in the news these days, who can resist the following call for papers for a panel at the upcoming International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) conference in Zagreb, June 21-25, 2015.

Here is the panel description:

THE DYSTOPIAN UNDERBELLY OF FOOD UTOPIAS
Meltem Türköz (Işık University), António Medeiros (ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon)

This panel aims to bring together papers that explore the moral, aesthetic and philosophical axises around which food utopias are invoked, practiced and performed. Alan Warde’s insight that “the structural anxieties about our age are made manifest in discourses about food” invites us to explore the dystopian underbellies of food utopias. Whether they appeal to authenticity, peace, safety, equality, or plenty, food utopias inherently imply their physical, moral or aesthetic dystopian inverse: of industrial process, adulteration or contamination, distasteful palates, and of unshared bounty. In a cross-cultural parable about the difference between paradise and hell, people sit around a great pot of delicious food, holding spoons too long and large to feed themselves, only to be able to eat when they feed each other. Food-related responses to the industrial food complex, neoliberal globalization and militarization invoke the reciprocity and interconnectedness implied in this parable. The imaginary of un-alienated labor informs the marketing of otherwise industrially prepared foods. In the discourse of purity in extra virgin olive, of authenticity in heirloom fruits and vegetables, food imaginaries in film or literature, the spectacle of hospitality in tourism, or the practice of gift economies in social movements, actors highlight various stages of production, consumption and preparation. We hope to explore the following questions, among others: How are food utopias acquired or cultivated and manifested in daily life? What aspects of food production, exchange, or consumption do these practices and performances reify and make visible—and across which temporal, geographic and spatial boundaries?

The deadline for submissions on the conference web site is January 14th, 2015.

Send inquiries about the panel to Meltem Türköz (fmturkoz@gmail.com) or António Medeiros (antonio.medeiros@iscte.pt).

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Filed under anthropology, Call for Papers, food politics, food security, Food Studies

What’s happening with the Washington Metro Food System?

Star Gazing Farm, Boyds, Maryland, photo by Sheila Crye

Star Gazing Farm, Boyds, Maryland, photo by Sheila Crye

Sheila Crye
Young Chefs, Inc.

The National Capital area is home to more than 6.52 million socioeconomically and culturally diverse people. Urban areas are surrounded by a rich agricultural community that comprises 28 percent of the region’s land mass and contributes about $1 billion per year to its economy. Because the much of population is relatively well-educated and affluent, there is an increasing demand for locally-sourced foods.

The food movement provides both an opportunity and a dilemma for regional farmers and producers of value-added products. There are growing numbers of new farmers and food entrepreneurs ready to expand small-scale, local food production. Local governments support the training of more table food producers to meet the growing demand for local, sustainable food, because they see it as a long-lasting element of their economy.

Farming is only sustainable if it is profitable. The dilemma for the prospective farmers comes from agriculture’s many challenges, particularly the high cost of land, labor and housing. Because the average cost of an acre of land in the Washington region is more than $75,000, prospective farmers often rent or lease land.

In an effort to control nutrient runoff that continues to foul the Chesapeake Bay, farmers must deal with extensive Federal, State and County regulations. Small-scale farming yields a low return on investment, and many farmers must seek off-farm income to make ends meet. Farming is hard physical labor. Unirrigated farmland is a high-risk endeavor, but water access can be difficult. There are comparatively few new farmers. In Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, the average farmer is 60 years old.

Much of the Chesapeake region’s 1.5 million acres of agriculture is dedicated to growing corn and soybeans for animal feed. Most of this goes to the Eastern Shore poultry industry, ranked sixth among the nation’s poultry producing areas. Delmarva chickens consumed over 104.3 million bushels of corn and soybean feed in 2013.

Some counties, such as Loudoun in Virginia, have begun developing a food hub to aggregate local produce and work out the logistics of implementing farm to school programs. The D.C. Central Kitchen is the only USDA-recognized food hub in the District of Columbia, aggregating and redistributing more than 200,000 pounds of local produce each year. In northern Virginia, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture includes a farm, mobile market, food hub and new farmer education program.

Without a doubt, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), affiliated with the Bloomberg School of Public Health, is the region’s leader in educating food policy councils and coalitions as well as high school and college students.

On October 5-8, 2014, the CLF hosted the Chesapeake Food Policy Leadership Institute. The goal was to build a network of food policy leaders who can more effectively lead food policy groups and better understand food policy actions.

“Teaching the Food System” curriculum, created by CLF, is free and downloadable. It includes topics like food history, food and animal production, processing, and distribution, food marketing, and food security. The curriculum is geared toward high school and college students and aims to give them a big-picture understanding of agriculture today.

“Introduction to the US Food System: Public Health, Environment, and Equity,” edited by Roni Neff, PhD, CLF Research and Policy Director, was published last month, October, 2014. The textbook looks at a variety of food system issues and focuses attention on connections to public health and other fields.

Silver Spring Fresh Farm Market, Silver Spring,  Maryland

Silver Spring Fresh Farm Market, Silver Spring, Maryland. Photo by Sheila Crye.

In 2012, CLF published a Baltimore City Food Environment map of businesses where residents could buy food, along with neighborhood demographic data. The map pinpointed where healthy food choices were and weren’t available. It was the precursor of CLF’s Maryland Food System Map, an interactive mapping tool and database to investigate Maryland’s food system, including how food is grown, processed, sold and consumed.

Currently CLF is working with Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture to develop a foodshed plan for the mid-Atlantic region. They’ve partnered with the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission to better understand what food deserts mean in rural areas and how to map them accurately. And they’re working with the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative, which approved use of the map for city programs and policy development.

Sheila Crye is a founding member of the Montgomery County Food Council, where she chairs the Food Literacy Working Group. Her business, Young Chefs, teaches healthful home cooking skills to disadvantaged middle school youths through a grant-funded after-school program called Excel Beyond the Bell.

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Filed under AAA 2014 Washington DC, farmers market, food policy, Food Studies

SAFN at AAA 2014 in DC

The annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association is nearly upon us. The conference program is huge and overwhelming, as usual. However, your trusted team at FoodAnthropology has found a way for those interested in food and nutrition to pare down the selections to what may be essential. You might, for instance, decide to only attend sessions that have been reviewed, sponsored, or invited by the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. You could hardly go wrong doing that and, in case that is your desire, click here to see a list of those very sessions. You can review the sessions and the papers, although you must sign in as a registered participant to read the abstracts.

There are a few very important things to note.

SAFN will be holding its annual business meeting on Saturday, December 6, from 6:30-8:15. It will take place in Roosevelt Room 5 (Marriott Wardman Park) and includes presentations of the Christine Wilson Award recipients and the Thomas Marchione Food-as-a-Human-Right Award recipient. Instead of a distinguished lecture this year, we will have an open forum on the future of food and nutrition studies in anthropology…and a catered reception! All are welcome. This is your chance to get involved in the association. We need you.

SAFN is also the sponsor of a few invited sessions this year. These are especially worth noting, so here they are:

3-0265 CULTURING NUTRIENTS

Sponsored By: AAA Executive Program Committee and Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

Thursday, December 4, 2014: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM

Organizers:  Line Hillersdal (Copenhagen University) and Tenna Jensen (University of Oxford/University of Copenhagen)

Chairs:  Tenna Jensen (University of Oxford/University of Copenhagen)

 

Food Allergy and Intolerance: Nutrition (re)Defined

Meghan Lee Cridland (Lund University)

 

Lemon Mousse for the Aging Body: Food Laboratories and the Making of Edible Solutions

Signe Dahl Skjoldborg (University of Copenhagen)

 

Food Security Among People with Disabilities in the U.S:  the Role of Cultural Attitudes in Creating Barriers to Healthy Eating

Elaine G Gerber (Montclair State University)

 

Fats: Cultivating Cooking Engaging with Nutrition

Rebeca Ibañez-Martin (CCHS-CSIC)

 

Eating Ad Libitum – Scientific Meal Tests in Practice

Line Hillersdal (Copenhagen University)

 

Calculation or Nourishment? the ‘others’ of Nutrients in Obesity Interventions

Else Vogel (University of Amsterdam)

 

Changing Constituents of Food: Perceptions of the Macronutrients in Western Science 1900-1945

Tenna Jensen (University of Oxford/University of Copenhagen)

 

3-0290 THEORIZING LOCAL FOOD: FROM ENVISIONING NEW REALITIES TO MORAL ECONOMY

 

Sponsored By: Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition and Culture and Agriculture

 

Thursday, December 4, 2014: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM

Organizers:  John Brett (University of Colorado Denver)

Chairs:  John Brett (University of Colorado Denver)

Discussants:  Lisa B Markowitz (University of Louisville)

 

Urban Agriculture: Meaning, Form and Dialectics

John Brett (University of Colorado Denver)

 

Morally Entitled Producers:  Farmers As Ambivalent and Ambiguous Heroes

Dorothy C Holland (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Jennifer Walker (Poiesis Design and Planning)

 

Constructing Local: Situated Knowledge in a Local Food Economy

Rebecca Kathryn Blystone (University of Colorado Denver)

 

Anthropological Reflections on a Fast Food Learning Garden in Orlando, Florida

Ty S Matejowsky (University of Central Florida)

 

Discussant

Lisa B Markowitz (University of Louisville)

 

Local Food As Antidote to What Ails Us

Susan D Blum (University of Notre Dame)

 

From “Lost” to Local:  How Bolivian Quinoa Became “Good to Think” for North Atlantic Consumers

Clare Sammells (Bucknell University)

 

3-0940 RECONSIDERING VISUAL METHODS IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF CHILD FEEDING

Sponsored By: Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition and Society for Visual Anthropology

Thursday, December 4, 2014: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM

Organizers:  Chelsea Wentworth (University of Pittsburgh) and Lisa R Garibaldi (University of California, Riverside)

Chairs:  Chelsea Wentworth (University of Pittsburgh)

Discussants:  Carole M Counihan (Millersville University)

 

“Mai! Kana!” Negotiating children’s Preferences and caregiver’s Values and Constraints in Feeding Children

Lisa R Garibaldi (University of California, Riverside)

 

“Good” and “Bad” Food Revealed: Understanding Categorizations in Child Feeding Via Visual Methods

Chelsea Wentworth (University of Pittsburgh)

 

The Politics and Polemics of Feeding Children in Santiago De Cuba

Hanna Garth (University of California Los Angeles)

 

Responsive Feeding By Immigrant Bangladeshi Mothers in Melbourne, Australia: A Child Feeding Observation Study

Bithika Das (The University of Melbourne) and Cathy Vaughan (The University of Melbourne)

 

Children in Transition:  Photo Voice for Documenting Vulnerabilities in Food Security and Health Among Children Living in a Homeless Family Shelter in New York City

Preety Gadhoke (St. John’s University) and Barrett P Brenton (St. John’s University)

 

Discussant

Carole M Counihan (Millersville University)

 

4-0170 FOOD ACTIVISM IN EUROPE: NETWORKS, ALLIANCES, STRATEGIES

Sponsored By: Society for the Anthropology of Europe and Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

Friday, December 5, 2014: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM

Organizers:  Carole M Counihan (Millersville University) and Valeria Siniscalchi (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)

Chairs:  Valeria Siniscalchi (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and Carole M Counihan (Millersville University)

 

Activism without Mobilizing Power? Food Practices and Social Trust in Postsocialist Bulgaria

Yuson Jung (Wayne State University)

 

Sewing the Social Net through Food Activism in Sardinia

Carole M Counihan (Millersville University)

 

“Inclusive Agriculture”: Creating and Sustaining Transversal Alliances Among Urban Gardeners in Lisbon, Portugal

Ana Isabel Neto Antunes Afonso (FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa) and Krista Harper (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

 

The Crisis from below: The Food Distribution “Solidarity Economy” in Greece

Theodoros Rakopoulos (Human Economy Program, University of Pretoria)

 

Pastoral Products on the Vips Table: Anti-Politics, Entrepreneurialism, and the Commoditization of Social Struggle in Sardinia

Filippo M Zerilli (University of Cagliari) and Marco Pitzalis (University of Cagliari)

 

Coping with Ambiguity. Changing Strategies and Networks of Slow Food in Italy and Europe

Valeria Siniscalchi (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)

 

Coalescing Struggles and Local Initiatives for Alternative Agri-Food Systems in Europe: From European farmers’ Unions Coordination to the “Nyéléni European Forum for Food Sovereignty”

Delphine Thivet (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)

 

4-0325 LESS PALATABLE, STILL VALUABLE: TASTE, AGROBIODIVERSITY, AND CULINARY HERITAGE

Sponsored By: Society for the Anthropology of Food and the National Association of Student Anthropologists

Friday, December 5, 2014: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM

Organizers: Greg de St. Maurice (University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh) and Theresa L Miller (University of Oxford)

Chairs: Theresa L Miller (University of Oxford)

Discussants: Richard R Wilk (Indiana University)

 

Eating “monte”: Nutrition, Food Security and Taste in El Salvador

Melissa Fuster (New York University)

 

Sago: A Disparaged but Essential Food

Richard Scaglion (University of Pittsburgh)

 

The Bad and the Ugly: Less Delicious Yams and Varietal Diversity in the Canela Indigenous Society

Theresa L Miller (University of Oxford)

 

Millet Madness: Health in Heritage or Food to Leave in the Past?

Madeline A Chera (Indiana University)

 

Diet, Food Preferences, Food Access and Agrobiodiversity Among Smallholder Conventional and Permaculture Farmers in Central Malawi

Abigail E Conrad (American University)

 

Everything but the Taste: Celebrating Kyoto’s Shishigatani Squash As Culinary Heritage

Greg de St. Maurice (University of Pittsburgh)

 

Discussant

Richard R Wilk (Indiana University)

 

4-0395THE “HIDDEN INTELLIGENCE” OF KITCHENS: TECHNIQUES AND TRADITIONS OF MAKING MEALS

 

Sponsored By: Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition and Archaeology Division

Friday, December 5, 2014: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM

Organizers:  Chantel E. White (University of Notre Dame) and Sheena A Ketchum (University of Notre Dame)

Chairs:  Sheena A Ketchum (Indiana University) and Chantel E. White (University of Notre Dame)

Discussants:  Christine A Hastorf (University of California Berkeley)

 

Cooking up a Storm: A Reconsideration of Cooks and Kitchens in Prehistory

Chantel E. White (University of Notre Dame) and Sheena A Ketchum (Indiana University)

 

Puebloan Vessels for Puebloan Foods: Cooking and Serving at the Scott County Pueblo, Western Kansas

Margaret E Beck (University of Iowa) and Matthew E Hill Jr. (University of Iowa)

 

Where Are the Female Chefs? Reproducing and Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Lyon’s Professional Kitchens

Rachel E Black (Collegium de Lyon – ENS)

 

Boil, Roast or Bake? Examining Pluralistic Cooking Practices at a Spanish Mission in Alta California

Emily Dylla (University of Texas at Austin)

 

Brewing Beer in Mesopotamia: Technology, Technique, and Tradition

Tate Paulette (University of Chicago) and Michael Fisher (University of Chicago)

 

Local Garnishing: Chefs’ Discourse and Display of Local Foods in Restaurants

Zachary Schrank (Indiana University South Bend)

 

Discussant

Christine A Hastorf (University of California Berkeley)

 

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Filed under AAA 2014 Washington DC, anthropology, Christine Wilson, Food Studies, Thomas Marchione

Wandering Washington: Food Journeys

Beer and Welding’s sandwich board outside Oasis grocery, Washington, DC.

Beer and Welding’s sandwich board outside Oasis grocery, Washington, DC.

Joel Denker
Washington D.C.

The country’s largest Ethiopian community. The second largest concentration of Salvadorans in the U.S. The demographic details about the Washington metro area don’t square with the popular image. Washington had always attracted immigrants, but in the past, the settlers were small in number, relatively select, and barely visible. Foreigners were mostly students, embassy retainers, and affluent professionals. Now, Washington has not only become an immigrant city, but also a distinctive one. Unlike old immigrant towns, such as New York and Chicago, with their neighborhoods of people from Southern and Eastern European backgrounds, Washington is strikingly a haven for Third World newcomers. Metro Washington may not have a Hungarian restaurant, but it does have a score of Peruvian ones.

When I first arrived in Washington in 1967, after a year teaching in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I was struck by the city’s small town qualities. Its sweltering summer heat and southern folkways were unsettling for this northeasterner. I soon realized how apt was John Kennedy’s barbed description of the capital as a “city of northern charm and southern efficiency.”

The food mirrored the atmosphere. A few swank, French outlets like the Sans Souci catered to Washington’s political and social classes. The sports crowd and city insiders congregated at the Connecticut Avenue restaurant, Duke Zeibert’s, which my father, an inveterate New Yorker, called a “poor man’s Toots Shor’s.” Baskets of onion rolls on the tables reflected the owner’s Jewish origins. The kitchen turned out chicken in the pot and, sometimes, matzoh ball soup. However, Washington could not boast a Lindy’s, Nathan’s, or a Luchow’s, culinary monuments of my father’s days in the Empire City.

More typical were southern-style lunchrooms and cafeterias. Sholl’s was a chain of cafeterias where ordinary government and office workers were offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals at rock bottom prices. The business, whose K Street location I frequented when I taught evening classes across the street, was founded by Evan H. Sholl, who grew up on a Pennsylvania farm. The entrepreneur, a man of strong religious conviction, established his first eatery in the late twenties, at the end of the Coolidge administration. Sholl’s shops served up hearty comfort food, daily specials like veal cutlet with tomato sauce and liver with onions. The dining tables were adorned with prayer cards. Its breakfasts were popular with Harry Truman, a country boy like Mr. Sholl.

In this “white bread” era, unusual ethnic restaurants stood out. Going with friends to the Omega, a Cuban restaurant on Columbia Road, had all the elements of an exotic excursion. The menu highlighted such Spanish specialties as paella and mariscada (seafood stew), along with such Cuban standards as ropa viella (“old clothes”), shredded beef. Like many such early Latin places, its dishes spanned the Americas. I hungered for their chicken enchiladas with a large helping of black beans and rice. The legend that the Bay of Pigs invasion was plotted there accentuated the Omega’s appeal.

The Omega was the first in a parade of Hispanic restaurants that opened their doors to curious Washingtonians. The El Caribe and El Dorado, both pan-Latin spots, also set up on Columbia Road. Not far away, in 1973, the Churreria Madrid began selling churros, Spain’s popular twisted crullers, and making gazpacho on weekends. Other Latin outposts are etched in my memory: Pancho’s, a Mount Pleasant night club with a rollicking mariachi band; Carlos Gardel, a bar owned by an Argentinian, where you ate empanadas in the balconies and reveled in the dance music pounded out by the band below. A nearby Cuban luncheonette, whose name I have forgotten, served media noche, the crusty sandwich of pork and melted cheese, and batidos, drinks made from soursop, mango, and other tropical fruits. A visit to the Calvert Café, a pioneering Middle Eastern eatery, was another adventure. Mama Ayesha, a Palestinian woman who was the room’s guiding spirit, prepared grape leaves at a corner table. Before it became a full-fledged restaurant, the café’s bar enticed drinkers with what were then unusual appetizers—hummus and baba ghanouj.

There were few ethnic food groceries in the early days. Skenderis, a Greek grocery near Dupont Circle, was a haunt of mine. In the cluttered upstairs space, Dino Skenderis started a gift shop which rode the Greek shoulder bag craze during the sixties. It blossomed into a purveyor of feta cheese, olives, nuts, dried fruit, and similar items. Dino carried what was then an unfamiliar product, Colombo Yogurt. I was to learn later and to write about the story of this product. Colombo, the country’s first commercial yogurt, was begun by an Armenian family in Massachusetts, the Colombosians.

As the years passed, I uncovered other hidden eateries. The Islander was one of the most memorable. The Trinidadian restaurant, then mostly a carryout near Georgia Avenue, was presided over by Addie Green, a proud, voluble woman. On special occasions, she wore a colorful turban. Addie initiated me into the culture and lore of her land and her food, a mixture of Indian, African, French, and Spanish influences. I tucked into many a curry with rice and peas and savored drinks like mauby, a slightly bitter drink made from the bark of a Caribbean tree. The Islander was one of the most colorful of the many Caribbean restaurants in the 1980s that the Washington Post Magazine highlighted in a cover article.

Salvadoran restaurants began to emerge as Central Americans flocked to Washington, lured by the magnet of the “capital” city and a host of laboring jobs in hotels, restaurants, and office buildings. Many of the early arrivals hailed from a single town, the small community of Intipuca, which flourished with funds sent back by the newcomers. Visitors to a Salvadoran restaurant encountered such revelations as the pupusa, the country’s variation on the tortilla, and marañon, a drink made from the cashew fruit.

Washington was gradually transforming from a sleepy southern town to a polyglot capital. I searched out novel eateries and wrote stories about my discoveries in a column for the Washington newspaper, The InTowner. One of the early pieces I did in my column, “The Ethnic Bazaar,” was about the Happy Inn, an Indonesian-Chinese eatery in the Cleveland Park neighborhood. It was owned by Eric C.C. Lin, a man of Chinese ancestry who grew up in Indonesia and studied atmospheric physics at Peking University. My wife Peggy and I spent many an evening there. Oseng-oseng, a dish of tiny shrimp stir fried with tempe and green beans in a heavy soy-based sauce ignited with chilis, was a passion of ours. I loved the ring of Indonesia’s culinary language, of words like nasi goreng, gado gado, and rendang.

Immigrant communities, which might have first arisen in the city, now began taking root in the suburbs. Restaurants serving these groups followed. My forays in quest of ethnic food soon required Metro rides from my home in the Adams-Morgan area to far-flung neighborhoods. I was excited by Jamaica Joe, a lunch room in a small Silver Spring, Maryland shopping center, which served up “curry goat,” one of the country’s national dishes. A long train ride to Ballston, an Arlington neighborhood, took me to the Pakistani café, Ravi Kabob, one of the many kebab joints that would mushroom in the suburbs. I was drawn by chicken tikka, nicely charred on the outside and moist on the inside and served with a spicy stew of chickpeas, nan, a piping hot thick bread, and coriander chutney. I washed the meal down with a creamy lassi, the traditional yogurt refreshment.

Photo courtesy of Bistro Bohem, Washington, DC.

Photo courtesy of Bistro Bohem, Washington, DC.

The explosion of ethnic restaurants in the suburbs has rewarded Washingtonians with a wide

array of choices: Afghani, Persian, Yemeni, Egyptian, Guatemalan. Because of the large influx of Bolivians to northern Virginia, Washington can claim America’s largest enclave of these ethnics. Meanwhile, in the city, dining rooms have sprung up to serve once uncommon cuisines. Domku in the Petworth neighborhood near Georgia Avenue features Polish and Scandinavian dishes. A Czech bistro (Bistro Bohem) in the once unfashionable northwest Bloomingdale section has won a strong following.

Photo courtesy of Bistro Bohem, Washington, DC.

Photo courtesy of Bistro Bohem, Washington, DC.

Near Dupont Circle, a long-standing convenience store, the Oasis, is now selling sandwiches created by the operators of a food truck. A young, very affable Salvadoran woman prepares the food in the back of the shop owned by a Persian gentleman. One sunny afternoon at an outside table I enjoyed an El Porco sandwich from the intriguingly named Beer and Welding operation. The sandwich brought together pork shoulder flavored with garlic aioli, pickled spring onions, and ramps with swiss cheese and mixed greens. A Brazilian woman, who worked at a salon next door, sat next to me. We compared notes. I savored the food and mused about Washington’s changing ethnic landscape.

Peppers grilling at Beer and Welding sandwich shop, Washington, DC.

Peppers grilling at Beer and Welding sandwich shop, Washington, DC.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog posting from Joel Denker, a historian of ethnic foodways in the United States who has lived in and written about the changing ethnic foods in Washington D.C. He is author of, among many other things, “The World on a Plate: A Tour through the History of America’s Ethnic Cuisine,” (2003, Westview). Denker’s food writings appear on his website, www.foodpassages.com. This is the first in what we hope is a series of postings about the foodways of the D.C. area in anticipation of the upcoming AAA annual meetings. We would love to hear from more scholars with reflections on food and the D.C. area in coming weeks.

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Filed under AAA 2014 Washington DC, ethnicity, Food Studies, foodways, history

ASFS Student Paper Awards

The Association for the Study of Food and Society announces its student paper award competition!

Deadline for Annual Submission: February 1. Electronic submissions ONLY!

The ASFS invites current undergraduate and graduate (single authors only) to submit a paper for the William Whit (undergraduate) and Alex McIntosh (graduate) prizes, respectively. These awards recognize students’ contributions to the field of food studies. There will be one award each for an undergraduate student paper and a graduate student paper. ASFS welcomes submissions on a wide range of issues relating to food, society and culture, and from the diverse disciplinary and trans-disciplinary fields that ASFS encompasses. The author of each award-winning paper will receive:

  • $500
  • payment of annual membership and conference fees to be applied to the following year if student is not attending in the current year
  • a free banquet ticket for the coming year’s annual meeting or the following year’s if a ticket has already been purchased or the student is not attending the conference in the current year; and
  • the opportunity to present prize-winning papers at an ASFS/AFHVS conference. Winners who wish to present the year they receive their award must have submitted a conference abstract in that same year.

For further details, please visit the ASFS web site (www.food-culture.org/asfs-student-paper-award/) for the award.

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Filed under anthropology, ASFS, awards, Food Studies, students

A Summary of Food Movements @Trent University

Prof and Student, Farm Manager and Project Coordinator tending the fields.

Prof and Student, Farm Manager and Project Coordinator tending the fields.

 

Helen McCarthy
Trent University

Student and faculty involvement in food issues at Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario has been long standing, and there are many new exciting initiatives under development.

To begin, the Trent Vegetable Gardens for student research on campus were initiated by a number of students and faculty and they collaborate heavily with the campus vegetarian/vegan student run café, the Seasoned Spoon. These projects and enterprises are not-for–profit, student initiated, and have been running for about a decade.

More recently, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program was born. This is, a 4-year honours degree program with an Arts stream and a Science stream. This program is one for students to challenge and think about the dominant global food and agricultural systems that we are all embedded in.

35lbs of chilis harvested from the Experimental Farm, Purchased by Chartwells Sept. 2014

35lbs of chilis harvested from the Experimental Farm, Purchased by Chartwells Sept. 2014

This year, there have been many more projects in development that are proving to have a great potential to create positive change surrounding food services at Trent. These include a newly founded student organization, the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Society, a Trent Apiary, a Campus Food Sustainability Working Group, a new contract with Compass Group campus food service providers (Chartwells), and an undergoing campus Experimental Farm and Greenhouse project.

The SAFS Society is an inclusive student group that mandates to increase student engagement and community awareness in food and agricultural sustainability issues.

The Sustainability Working Group aims to be involved in all matters concerning sustainability in the expectations from Chartwells (Compass Group), specifically these include monitoring the progress of projects that aim to procure local food, reduce food waste, increase energy efficiency and follow up on goals surrounding food quality, affordability, diversity and special food needs (vegetarian/vegan, gluten/dairy intolerance, religious restrictions).

Trent Farm Table

Experimental Farm Table at first ever Campus Farmers Market (Chartwells organized)

The Experimental Farm is a very exciting enterprise that has become Chartwells Key Focus Initiative for 2015 at Trent. So far, the 33 acres Trent has allocated has grown 1/3rd of an acre of vegetables as part of a organic amendments research project; vegetables were sold to the Seasoned Spoon, local Restaurants, and to Chartwells, 1 acre of quinoa, and a research project on reducing inputs in common Ontario grain rotations. The expansion and breadth for the following season are being planned presently.

The KFI means that the new food services provider is committed to supporting Trent in creating an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable food production enterprise on campus that would directly provide marketable produce for Chartwells to purchase and use in campus meals as well as student engagement, and program collaboration. They have also committed to providing capital specifically to invest in a campus greenhouse.

These recent projects are what I personally find most exciting about food issues at Trent. I feel that there is potential for real, forthcoming and positive change; creating real awareness and community engagement around broader food and agriculture concerns.

Trent Bees!

Trent Bees!

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Filed under anthropology, farming, food activism, Food Studies, gardening, students, sustainability

Workshop on Feeding Cities: Ethical and Policy Issues in Urban Food Systems

Call for Abstracts!

Workshop on Feeding Cities: Ethical and Policy Issues in Urban Food Systems

Northeastern University, Boston, MA

March 27-28, 2015

Food defines cultures, is at the heart of religious and ethnic traditions, is central to familial and social gatherings, gives us joy (and sometimes pain), and shapes the rhythms of daily life. Of course, food is also about survival. Societies thrive – or collapse – based on ready, reliable, and equitable access to food. There is currently rising demand for food due to population growth and spreading affluence, as well as increasing production and distribution challenges, such as water and land scarcity, climate change, depletion in seafood stocks, and dependency on global food chains. All of this takes place amidst accelerating urbanization; over half the world’s population now lives in cities. Together these trends make studying urban food systems – and developing practices and policies for improving them – crucial to building socially just and ecologically sustainable societies.

This workshop aims to foster cross-disciplinary inquiry on topics relevant to urban food system sustainability, health, and equity. We invite abstracts of no more than 750 words from researchers working on social, ecological, political and ethical issues associated with urban food systems. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether local or global food systems are better positioned to promote food availability, food security, resilience and food justice in cities
  • Opportunities and limits of urban agriculture and community-based food systems
  • Relationship between urban food systems and other urban issues, such as affordable housing, land use and environmental justice
  • Evaluation of particular technological and system innovations within urban food systems, with respect to such things as increasing food production, improving tracking/monitoring, promoting food access, and reducing wastage and improving waste management
  • Historical perspectives on food systems and cities
  • Strategies for developing climate change resilience within urban food systems
  • Studies of the structure and efficacy of alternative food advocacy groups or movements, as well as assessment of concerns raised regarding them
  • Whether the concept of ‘food miles’ is useful and, if so, for what end or in what contexts
  • Studies of the economics of urban food systems
  • The role of cultural identify in urban food practices and the construction of urban food systems
  • Issues related to food system workers, particularly in urban contexts
  • Evaluation of food security programs in cities – federal, state, local and non-governmental
  • The extent to which cities ought to be able to regulate foods to promote public health
  • Challenges of democratic governance related to urban food system

The abstract submission deadline is December 15th, 2014. Please email submissions (and questions) to Christopher Bosso (c.bosso@neu.edu) or Ron Sandler (r.sandler@neu.edu). Those accepted will be asked to submit papers one month prior to the workshop, and papers will be made available to other workshop participants. Papers can be of any length and may be stand alone articles or chapters/sections of larger projects, but speakers will be limited to twenty-five minutes to present their ideas, followed by thirty minutes of discussion. For more information go to http://www.northeastern.edu/foodsystems/.

This workshop is sponsored by the Consortium on Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity and the Ethics Institute at Northeastern University, with financial and logistic support by the NU Humanities Center, College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

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Filed under CFP, urban, food systems