Food in Bloom

One of the best food conferences of the year promises to be even better in 2010.

The 12th annual joint conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society will be joined this year by the annual meeting (first, if I am not mistaken) of the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition.  The sponsors of this wonderful blog, in other words.

The conference itself is June 2 to June 5 in scenic Bloomington, Indiana.  The host institution, Indiana University, is home to some of the leading scholars in food studies and should make for a nice setting for people to think about food.  I have heard that there are some surprisingly good things to eat there too.  In my experience, Indiana is one of the best places in the country for sweet corn, but I suppose it is too early in the year for that.

Meanwhile, check out the conference program.  The panels and papers represent the cutting edge of food studies, across several disciplines.  There will be papers on sustainability, on food propaganda, on Big Food (Wal-Mart, for example), food education, nutrition, food coops, famine, social media, restaurants, farmer’s markets, cookbooks, national identity, etc.  SAFN has sponsored several panels, which we have listed below.

There are also a number of interesting side activities at the conference, including tours in the vicinity that explore food security, “grass” farms that take unusual approaches to raising dairy and meat, visits to artisanal breweries, and what looks like a pleasant opportunity to take a boat ride and eat BBQ.  You can go on a foraging tour, looking for seasonal eats in the surrounding wilderness (is there wilderness in Indiana?).  The heartland at its best.  There are museum tours, receptions, a banquet…and a workshop on how to teach culinary improvisation.

Finally, there will be a keynote address from Will Allen, 2008 winner of a MacArthur fellowship and innovative urban farmer.  This may be one of the keys to the future of food and I am really looking forward to his talk.

This promises to be a really great conference.  If you can get yourself to Bloomington, I think you will be rewarded with a lot to think about and a great time.

I’ve listed the SAFN-sponsored panels below.  There are other anthropologists participating in non-SAFN panels (we are everywhere!) and, of course, there is just a staggering amount of interesting work to hear at this conference.  Don’t miss it!

(Re)defining Food in an Era of Dietary Change

Black, Rachel  “Amaro: a boozy, bitter history of digestivi from the pharmacy to the bar”

Johnston, Susan L  “What is a vegetable?”

Yates-Doerr, Emily  “The complexity of reduction: perspectives on nourishment in the Guatemalan Highlands”

Zycherman, Ariela  “Indirect effects of regional development on diet: redefining food among the Tsimané”

Agriculture as education

Altshul,Katarina S.  “Life’s a garden…. dig it: Youth perspectives on crisis and food systems”

McCollum, Timothy J.  “Dirt in the Classroom, Thought in the Field: Civic Agriculture as Pedagogy in a Liberal Arts Context”

Niewolny, Kim L. , Susan F. Clark  “Restoring Community Foodsheds in Unlikely Places: Challenges and Possibilities of Civic Agriculture As a Concept For Higher Education Curriculum”

Food, Identity, and Place: Local production and cross-pollination

Fajans, Jane  “Açaí: from the Amazon to the world”

Hall, Olivia  “Preserving Plums, Preserving Place: Traditional Food Products in Poland and the Europe of Regions”

Haupt, Timothy  “Chinese food in Berlin – from both sides of the kitchen door”

From Global to Local and Back Again: Pan-American Perspectives on Rice and Beans

Beriss, David  “Red Beans and Rebuilding:  An Iconic Dish, Memory and Culture in New Orleans”

Berleant, Riva  “Rice and Beans in the Eastern Caribbean”

Montero, Carla Guerron  “All in One Pot: The Place of Rice and Beans in Panama’s Regional and National Cuisine”

Preston-Werner, Theresa  “Defending National Foodways: Laying Claim to Tradition in Costa Rica”

Wilk, Richard, Discussant

Family nutrition

Benyshek, Daniel C.  “Human Placenta: From Biohazard to Food and Medicine for Mom”

Namie, Joylin  “Public Displays of Affection:  Mothers and Requests for Junk Food from Children”

Sellen, Daniel W.  “Complementary feeding, evolution and baby food marketing”

Food and meaning: Taste, ethnicity, memory

Pérez, Ramona Lee  “Seeing with Sabor: Flavor in/of Latino New York”

Valora, Amanda  “Plates in Hand and Mind– Food and Memory in Copacabana, Bolivia”

Weinreb, Alice  “‘Native foods’ and ‘authentic recipes’ in postwar West Germany: The racial politics of gustatory authenticity after the Third Reich”

Yamin-Pasternak, Sveta  “The Rotten Renaissance: Aged Foods and the Importance of Their (Re)Acquired Taste in post-Soviet Chukotka”

Eating on the Edges while Farming in the Center: Alternative Agriculture in Postsocialist Societies

Caldwell, Melissa L.  “Growing the Nation: Fresh Food, Organic Capitalism, and Community Organizing in Russian Gardens”

Jung, Yuson  “Ambivalent Consumers and Niche Producers: Organic Food Movement in Postsocialist Bulgaria”

Klein, Jakob “Reconnecting with the Countryside? ‘Alternative’ Food Networks with Chinese Characteristics”

Watson, James L.  “Discussant”

Social Constructions of Prenatal Nutrition

Chrzan, Janet  ““My baby doesn’t like pork, because her dad is Muslim”: Beliefs about food intake, digestion and infant outcomes among African American teen gravidas”

Moreno-Black, Geraldine and Melissa Cheyney “Food is More than Nutrition: Nutritional Counseling and the Language of Prenatal Diet in Midwifery and Obstetric Practice”

Vallianatos, Helen “Feeding Our Babies, Feeding Our Selves:  Food, Reproduction and Identity among Immigrant Women”

SAFN ROUNDTABLE: Just Food? How Louisville Kentucky organized for food justice for all.

Moskowitz, Karyn; Lisa Markowitz, Yvonne Jones, Jenrose Fitzgerald, Joshua Jennings


Feltault, Kelly  “Dark Skin, Safe Seafood & Entrepreneurial Citizens: Racializing HACCP and Development Policy in Thailand.”

Katz, Esther  “Threatened sustainability of the Rio Negro food system (Brazilian Amazon)”

Richard, Analiese  ““Trasgénicos, ¡Ni Maiz!”: Genetic Risk and the Body Politic in Mexico’s Food Sovereignty Movement”

Rosing, Howard  “Ataca el ácido úrico (Uric Acid Attack): Nutritional Beliefs, Imported Pinto Bean Sales and the Political Economy of Domestic Bean Avoidance in the Dominican Republic”

Reconstructing Local Food Systems to Provide for All

Bomba, Megan  “Ya no está sufriendose por la comida (No longer suffering for food): How Can Home Food Production Improve Food Security and Nutrition in Rural, Coastal Ecuador”

Cunningham, Sarah  “So You Want to Start a Campus Food Pantry?  Local food for food security”

Daye, Rebecka  “Canastas Comunitarias in Ilaló, Ecuador”

Gross, Joan E.  “Discursive Tensions in the Development of a Local Food Movement”

Posted by David Beriss

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