What FoodAnthro is reading now, October 17, 2017

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.

National Geographic had an article about the Netherlands’ phenomenal agricultural outputs, which complicated some binaries for me: for example where Greenhouse grown doesn’t have to mean energy intensive or unsustainable, or even high-tech. Though sitting here on our little farm in South Africa, the approach still doesn’t ring as necessarily helpful:

But not every strategy is necessarily high-tech. Some tap the power of nature. To reduce the use of pesticides, many growers have turned to what’s known as “biocontrol” to protect their crops, using insects, mites, and microscopic worms to feed on damaging pests.

In The Guardian, there was another call for technology and modernisation in African farms. In South Africa, there was this article about the food sovereignty movement, who are not calling for technical solutions, but for:

the deep transformation of our food system by breaking the control of food corporations and repositioning the state to realise the constitutional right to food, and ensure the creation of conditions and space for the emergence of food sovereignty alternatives from below.

The Guardian tells us that we may not eat chicken again after we read this article. I think they don’t realise the many reasons people eat chicken.
On the subject of meat consumption, here in South Africa the low-carb Banting diet is a big deal amongst the middle-class, led by celebrity academic Tim Noakes, who has said that we need to be eating meat to save the planet. There was at least one response to this, entitled, What does Tim Noakes think cows eat? Not everyone is buying into the meat craze– check out this story about a Cape Town business based entirely out of spinach and spinach products. The spinach story seems to be a helpful contrast to the massive growth of supermarkets and fast food chains in South Africa.
The Lancet is joining the chorus focusing on food in 2018, after the FAO report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World recently came out. The intersections between hunger and conflict, between rapid increases in obesity and stunting, and between food security and climate change all seem very important points of research for food anthropologists; the human experience of these intersections is so difficult to capture in these (still very helpful) reports.
On a more hopeful note, check out this video from NPR about a biologist and master forager. And finally, on Saveur, this story of a cooperative, where growing crops on ex-mafia land represents:
 the tool of a movement against intimidation, an artisanally extruded counterpunch against corruption, a noodle in the eye of organized crime.

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