Where (You Might Think) There’s No Tienda

This fourth installment of the series, “Latinx Foodways in North America,” introduces the work of Teresa Mares, Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Vermont. Mares’s fascinating look at migrant farmworkers allows us to consider the intersections between labor and food security at the “other border” through interviews conducted with Latinx farmworkers in New England. If you would like to contribute to this collection, please contact series editor, Sarah Fouts, at saf817@lehigh.edu.

Mares Chiles

Born in New Mexico, raised in Colorado, and spending a good chunk of my adult life in Seattle, I had grown accustomed to having a ready supply of Mexican foods and ingredients close at hand. Whether it was the small tortilleria cranking out corn and wheat tortillas in the strip mall next to the Chuck E. Cheese’s in my hometown– or the taco truck in the shadows of the Amazon headquarters that I could walk to during a break from my dissertation — I never questioned the ease with which I could satisfy my own cravings. And then, in 2011, I moved to Vermont.

Sure, there’s the farm-to-table restaurant that slings delicious tacos and burritos filled with local pork, and based on the season, wildcrafted ramps and fiddlehead ferns. And yes, tucked in the bulk shelves of my local coop you might be lucky to find organic dried anchos and pasillas. There are even two tortilla factories (including one just down the road from my house) nixtamalizing, grinding, and pressing tortillas made from northern varieties of flint corn. Nearly seven years after making my way to this northern border state, these locavore offerings keep me somewhat satiated. And yet, my collection of Mexican cookbooks has swelled exponentially to guide my own attempts to reproduce meals that have that sabor that I often find myself missing, often using traveling foods that I purchase in urban locales of the U.S. and Mexico.

Here’s the thing though, I live fairly chose to Vermont’s largest city and I have the freedom to move around the landscape in search of these flavors. For farmworkers who have moved from Latin America to work in Vermont’s rural dairy farms, these advantages are not a given. Up to 95% of the migrant farmworker population in Vermont lacks personal transportation, even following the passage of legislation that allows state residents to secure a driver’s privilege cards regardless of citizenship status. Moreover, there is a realistic fear in Vermont’s border counties that visiting a food access point such as a local grocery store, farmers market, or food shelf could result in detention and ultimately deportation.

Vermont is home to an estimated 1000-1200 farmworkers, the majority of whom are men from central and southern Mexican states coming to secure year-round work in the milking barns of the state’s large industrial dairies. As of 2017, amidst the ongoing consolidation of the dairy industry, a significant number of Vermont’s dairies employed immigrant laborers. It is estimated that 68% of the state’s milk comes from farms that rely on immigrant workers (with a yearly sales of $320 million), and 43% of New England’s milk supply coming from these farms (Wolcott-MacCausland 2017). Despite contributing to the state’s economic wellbeing and the food security of millions, I have witnessed the repeated and continual disconnection between farmworkers and their foodways, a disconnection that, more often than not, began with the dispossession of rural lands and livelihoods back home. As I have discussed in my other writing, these disconnections are only exacerbated by a particular confluence of border hostilities and resulting fears that have worsened since the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

At the same time, I have also observed the resilient actions of farmworkers to remain connected to the foods that provide a tangible link to their families and their dinner tables south of the border, echoing what Meredith Abarca refers to as “culinary subjectivity.” These efforts include supporting the entrepreneurial efforts of Mexican women who have started home-based catering operations to deliver tamales, mole, and enchiladas out of the trailers they share with their husbands who labor upwards of 70-80 hours each week. It is seen in the kitchen gardens grown behind these same trailers with the support of Huertas, a shoestring project that I co-direct. It can also be observed in the deliveries that many farmworkers order and receive from mobile vendors who bring packaged and frozen foods from places as far away as New York City and Boston. These deliveries are the source of the Jumex juice cartons, half-empty bottles of Valentina hot sauce, and bags of chicharones that are often scattered on the countertops of farmworkers’ homes. Continue reading

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It may be a bit bold to declare a conference the 1st biannual (what if there never is a 2nd one?), but the organizers of this particular conference seem to be on to a hot topic, so their confidence may be warranted. Note the deadline (March 23) for submissions is coming up quite soon!


Centre for Communication, Culture and Media Studies
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

(supported by the Association for the Study of Food and Society)

20-21 September 2018

Call for abstracts

Food is one of the key aspects through which we represent ourselves individually and as a community. It is also located at the core of many social issues and interests (Lizie 2014), and the ways through which such relationships are constructed and communicated discursively speak of power, hegemony and ideology revealing the unequal and often problematic relationships within the food system. Food features as a powerful symbol in art, reminding us of associations it can acquire related to gender, class and ethnicity. Also, it is through food-related activities, such as restaurant spaces and eating manners, that most of us communicate with (and are being communicated to) throughout our daily lives.

Given such centrality of food, there has lately been an increasing scholarly interest in topics at the intersection of communication and food studies. While initially confined to private, often feminine and certainly not academic discussions, in the last decades, food has been embraced as a worthwhile topic of study across the humanities and social sciences, from history to political studies and beyond (e.g. Scholliers 2007), suggesting a need for an international platform related to food and communication to discuss current developments, new ideas and make scholarly connections.

This conference, which comes out of the FoodKom Research Network, established in 2015 in Örebro University (Sweden), and a Communicating Food symposium at the University of Chester (UK) in September 2017, aims to bring together researchers that work in the areas of food and communication, be it academically or non-academically. It aims to establish a regular, biannual platform which will offer scholars space to share and discuss research at the intersection of communication and food studies, but also at the intersection of academic scholarship and professionals that work in the areas concerned with communicating food. Apart from academic papers, we would therefore like to invite papers that share a non-academic perspective to the world of food communication but that speak to the current issues related to food communication in any capacity. Furthermore, in order to explore ways through which food can be communicated, we encourage participants to communicate their research findings or ideas via various (creative) forms of communication, possibly going beyond “classic” academic presentations.

While we hope to host scholars from around the world, we would particularly like to encourage scholars from geographical areas where research into food and communication is in its emerging developmental stages to apply; to this end, we are seeking funding to support their participation, although if successful, this will be currently limited to scholars travelling from Europe (for more details see below). New and early career scholars with work in progress papers are also welcomed.


All topics at the intersection of food and communication and communication-related disciplines of any methodology, are welcome, covering all geographical areas and historic periods, such as, but not limited to:

  • Food and the media (incl. film, newspapers, magazines, television etc.)
  • Food and art / food as art
  • Food and language
  • Food advice and cookbooks
  • Food and governmental discourse
  • Communicating food through education / food and teaching (including teaching in schools from practical perspective)
  • Professional communication related to food (e.g. chefs, restaurants)
  • Semiotics of food
  • Food and corporate discourse (advertising, marketing, etc.)

Keynote speakers

Professor Tania Lewis, RMIT University Melbourne

Tania Lewis is a world-renowned media and cultural studies scholar whose research broadly falls within two broad areas: green citizenship, ethical consumption and lifestyle politics; and global media formats and multiple media modernities, with a particular focus on South East Asia. Her publications include

Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise and Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia (with Fran Martin and Wanning Sun).

Dr Stephanie Chambers, University of Glasgow

Stephanie Chambers holds an MRC/University of Glasgow Research Fellowship focusing on improving diet and effects of advertising and marketing on children. Previously, she worked on investigating sustainable and healthy food chains and public opinions on the causes of obesity and support for policies to address it.

Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino, BBC Food programme

Sheila Dillon and Dan Saladino are best known as food journalist, producers, and presenters of the renowned Radio 4 BBC Food Programme through which they highlight and discusses a number of issues related to food in Britain and around the world, helping to establish food as a subject worth discussing critically. Dillon also received a number of awards for her work, including “100 Leading Influential Ladies” in 2010.

Abstract details

Abstracts should be submitted by the deadline stated below and must include an abstract (300 words without references) of the paper to be presented and a brief biographical note (50 words). If you would like to present in a non “traditional” format or your participation entirely depends on subsidy (see below under Travel and Accommodation) please let us know when you apply.

Deadline for abstracts: Friday, 16 March 2018  The deadline has now been extended to 23 March 2018 in solidarity with the striking colleagues at various British universities.

Authors notification: Friday, 6 April 2018

E-mail for submissions: foodcommunication@qmu.ac.uk

Associated costs Fee

Fee for conference attendance is £70 and will cover the cost of food and drink during the conference, including conference dinner on Thursday evening. If, however, you do not wish to attend the dinner, you will have a chance to opt out, and the cost will then be £50.

Travel and Accommodation

Travel and accommodation costs will need to be covered by participants themselves.

However, we managed to secure a grant from the Association for the Study of Food and Society to subsidise travel/accommodation/fee costs for scholars travelling from Europe for whom these costs would be an obstacle to attending the conference. We are currently able to support three scholars at the maximum value of 300 GBP each.

Priority will be given to scholars from countries that can demonstrate such circumstance, either due to lack of funding at home institutions, currency conversion issues or other relevant circumstance. Award will depend on quality of proposed abstract and individual circumstances.

An update on this will be sent at a later date to all those whose abstract have been accepted and they will have an opportunity to apply. The Committee’s decision will be final.

Local Organising Committee (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh)

Dr Ana Tominc

Dr Rebecca Finkel

Dr Isidoropaolo Casteltrione

Mhairi Barrett

Please send any queries related to the conference to Dr Ana Tominc at atominc@qmu.ac.uk.

International conference advisory committee

Prof Angela Smith (University of Sunderland, UK)

Prof Goran Ericsson (Örebro University, Sweden)

Prof Mike Goodman (University of Reading, UK)

Prof David Machin (Örebro University, Sweden)

Dr Ana Tominc (Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, UK)

Dr Andreja Vezovnik (Ljubljana University, Slovenia)

Dr Francesco Buscemi (University IUAV Venice, Italy)

Dr Helen Andersson (Örebro University, Sweden)

Dr Ian Rasmussen (University of Chester, UK)

Dr Joanne Hollows (UK)

Dr Simon Roberts (University of Chester, UK))

Dr Tanja Kamin (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Gwynne Mapes (University of Bern, Switzerland)

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Thomas Marchione Award

Announcement: Thomas Marchione Award

Deadline July 27, 2018

Eligibility: all MA, MS or PhD students

For research exploring “the best and more sustainable approaches to fulfill the right to food” in the words of Dr. Thomas Marchione, whom we honor in presenting this award.

This annual award will be granted to a student whose work addresses food as a human right, including a focus on food justice, food security and access, food sovereignty and other areas where social justice and food intersect. Students should apply, even if they have not fully completed their research, because work-in-progress, and proposed work will also be considered. The winner will be awarded a cash prize ($750) and a one -year membership to the AAA and SAFN. More award information


Submit applications to Dr. Ryan Adams (adamsr@lycoming.edu), Lycoming College

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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, March 12, 2018

David Beriss

A brief digest of food and nutrition-related items that caught our attention recently. Got items you think we should include? Send links and brief descriptions to dberiss@gmail.com or hunterjo@gmail.com.

It was only a matter of time before the question of sexual misconduct in restaurants intersected with the issue of tipping. Catrin Einhorn and Rachel Abrams investigate the often fraught relationship in this excellent article in the New York Times. The article includes useful videos. Is it time to end the degrading custom of tipping and just pay people properly?

Every social issue intersects with restaurants, as we have noted before. Here in New Orleans, chef Tunde Wey, working with Anjali Prasertong, a graduate student in Public Health at Tulane University, created an experiment designed to raise awareness of the wealth gap between white people and people of color in the United States. For a normally $12 lunch, people perceived as white were asked to pay $30, while everyone else was offered the regular price. Customers could choose to pay the higher price or not and everyone was interviewed about the experiment. Maria Godoy wrote about the whole thing on the NPR’s The Salt blog.

Have you been to the Spam festival in Isleton, California? This festival commemorates the miraculous survival of Spam cans after the town flooded in 1996. Read about the festival and listen to the Bite podcast, from Mother Jones, here. The latest episode includes additional stories about Tunde Wey’s experiment with food prices (see above) and about a member of Congress with an organic farm and a restaurant.

It is disturbing that Wey needs to remind us of the impact the racial wealth division has on Americans in 2018. This is, in fact, not a new story and we should have learned its lessons long ago. For a reminder of when Americans learned about this in an earlier era (even then, probably not for the first time), listen to this podcast, from the Southern Foodways Alliance program Gravy. Voting rights, along with public health and access to food in the American South in the early 1960s, examined by Sarah Reynolds, retells a story that still needs to be told. Use this in your classes. (The podcast coincides with the republication of the book Still Hungry in America, which you should take a look at too.)

From hunger to plenty: American fast food is notoriously stuffed with enormous amounts of cheese. Could this cheese tsunami be a result of a conspiracy, the work of the “Illuminati” of the dairy world? Writing for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott (who, to be fair, took the Illuminati idea from Bloomberg), says yes. He traces the cheese tide to overproduction and government policy to persuade you to eat more cheese. There is a disturbing cameo from President Trump too.

President Trump’s administration is working on rolling back the regulations put in place to prevent another oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Why is this about food? Because the Gulf of Mexico is where quite a lot of our seafood comes from and because many of the people who work in the oil industry also work in the fishing industry. As the article notes, the regulations were “written in human blood.” What is the price we will inevitably pay for rolling them back? Eric Lipton looks into this in this article from the New York Times.

What is the role of a seed library in Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation? Vivien Sansour, who founded the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library, explains the local and global implications of this kind of activism in an interview with Joshua Leifer, on the +972 Magazine blog.

While we are in the neighborhood, this article by Rafram Chaddad weighs in on the debates about Israeli food by calling attention to the relationship between Jews and the foods of the Arab countries where many of them lived (and some still live). You have probably already heard the debates around hummus, but where does shakshuka take us? What would happen, Chaddad asks, if we recognized the complexities of the real histories of migration and nationalism that surface through food debates? Share this with your students next time you teach about cultural appropriation, ethnicity, or nationalism.

Forget John Le Carré novels. If you want espionage, read this article by Jessica Sidman from the Washingtonian. She reveals some of the antics that go on behind the scenes as restaurants strive to identify and please critics. Also, Le Diplomate, in D.C., is indeed very French.

Did you know that the organic food advocate Jerome Rodale died on the Dick Cavett show, at the age of 74, moments after declaring that he would live to 100? What impact does the untimely death of longevity advocates have on their credibility? Readers of this blog will probably not be surprised to learn that many people do not understand science very well. For instance, nutrition research that provides results for populations is often misunderstood as advice for individuals. For useful perspective, read this article by Pagan Kennedy, from the New York Times. And remember, we make no claims concerning how long you will live if you read this blog.

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Southern Foodways Alliance 2018 Graduate Student Conference: Food Studies Across the Disciplines

Received from the Southern Foodways Alliance…this annual conference has proven to be very useful for graduate students with interests in food over the last few years.

Oxford, Mississippi
September 10-11, 2018

Call for Abstracts: DUE April 13, 2018

The Southern Foodways Alliance, along with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Graduate School at the University of Mississippi, announce a call for papers, multi-media projects, or short documentaries for a conference to be held on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, September 10-11.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Kyla Tompkins, Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at Pomona College, and author of Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the Nineteenth Century.

We welcome original research or projects that engage with the broad topic of Southern foodways or agriculture.  Suggested areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

■      Intersectional Southern identities (race, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, etc.) grounded in foodways and/or agriculture

■      The role of foodways in Southern art or literature

■      Food system labor in the U.S. South

■      Immigrant foodways of the U.S. South

■      Critical analyses of contemporary Southern foodways

■      Social, historical, or ecological studies of Southern agriculture

■      Methodological approaches to Southern food studies

By Friday, April 13, please submit:

■ an abstract that describes the paper or project in under 200 words

■ CV or resume

■ a short biographical statement

Please address any questions and send all materials to Afton Thomas at afton@southernfoodways.org.

Acceptance Notification and Conference Participation Fee:

Acceptances will be emailed by Friday, April 27.  At the time of acceptance, invited participants will have 10 days to make a non-refundable conference participation fee of $25. Accepted participants’ final drafts of work to be presented at the conference are due Friday, August 3 by 5p.m. CT.

Three meals during the conference are provided to each presenter at no additional cost. Travel to Oxford, Mississippi, and lodging costs are the responsibility of presenters.

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CFP for EASA2018 in Stockholm: Moving on: Food Futures and Reimagining Uncertainty

Does your research look at food practices, food supply chains, local
cuisines or agriculture in a changing environment? Does your work draw
broadly on the themes of temporality and orientations toward the future –
practices of anticipation, anxieties, food security, planning or
uncertainty? If yes, you are warmly invited to submit an abstract to our
panel ‘Moving on: Food Futures and Reimagining Uncertainty’ (P033) and come
meet us in Stockholm at the EASA’s Biannual Conference ‘Staying, Moving,
Settling’ from 14 to 17 August 2018.— Moving on: Food Futures and Reimagining Uncertainty (P033), a panel of the EASA Anthropology of Food network
This panel addresses how food ‘moves on’ across time and space, borders and
bodies. From everyday practices to overarching value systems, we consider
foodways as human contemplations of the future: as sources of uncertainty,
as cushions against it and as speculations in search of opportunities.
Continue reading

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SAFN @ AAA’s: Sessions, Papers, Lightning Talks, Roundtables, Mentoring Events, Retrospectives, Posters!

It is time to plan for AAA 2018 in San Jose! The submission portal is open, and we encourage you to begin organizing panels.

This year’s SAFN program chairs Ryan Adams, Jennifer Jo Thompson, and I are eager to work with you to create an exciting program for this meeting.

The deadline for all submissions to the AAA website is 3 PM EDT on Monday, April 16, 2017.

One of our goals is to create co-sponsored sessions with colleagues in our complementary societies. In order to do this, we need your help. Please let us know about your panels as soon as possible and make suggestions to us for co-sponsors (C&A, SMA, A&E, SAE, SLA, etc.). We will reach out to our counterparts in those organizations. Co-sponsorship will get us more visibility as well as a bigger and better audience!

Conference Details:

Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation

Wednesday, November 14 – Sunday, November 18

San Jose Convention Center 

Find out more about the meeting here: http://www.americananthro.org/AttendEvents/landing.aspx?ItemNumber=14722&navItemNumber=566

Submission Types: We at SAFN encourage you to think beyond the traditional individual paper session and consider installations, flash (5 minute) presentations, mentoring events and retrospectives, as a few examples. All of these take place in the allotted 1 hour and 45 minutes. Double sessions have been eliminated, fyi.

  • oral presentation sessions (standard and retrospective),
  • roundtables (standard and retrospective),
  • individually volunteered papers,
  • group gallery (poster) sessions,
  • individual galleries (posters),
  • group flash presentations,
  • installations,
  • workshops, and
  • mentoring events.

Individual Volunteered Papers and Volunteered Sessions:  We encourage you to organize or co-organize a volunteered session yourself with collaborators OR submit your paper to an organized session that fits your topic. Feel free to use the SAFN listserv to find additional participants for sessions, and we will post your CFP (call for papers) on the SAFN website as well. If you submit an individual volunteered paper, we will do our best to organize individually submitted abstracts into sessions based on the common themes we identify. These tend to be less cohesive, but we will do our best!

Invited Sessions: We will consider all sessions that are submitted to our section for invited status (Invited Sessions). If you’d like invited status or believe your session would be a strong candidate for invited status, please contact us ahead of time. We can usually sponsor two invited sessions or possibly more if we partner with another section. Again, this is why it’s important to tune us in ahead of time so that we can reach out to other sections to get more invited sessions.

Rules & Policies: Please see the Annual Meeting Participation Rules and Policies. Note that meeting participation is limited to AAA members (with some exceptions). Also, please note the One-Plus-One rule which mandates that participants may only: (1) present one paper/poster, or serve as a participant on a roundtable or installation and (2) accept no more than one discussant role elsewhere on the program. An individual may serve as organizer or chair of an unlimited number of sessions. This rule is strictly enforced by the AAA Program Committee. 

Use the online submission portal to submit your panels and papers.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.


Ryan Adams, Amanda Green, and Jennifer Jo Thompson


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