Tag Archives: food studies

What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, April 23, 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.

Today’s posting is a day late for Earth Day, which was yesterday, but we are going to get in on the celebrations (probably not the right word) anyhow. First, in case you did not see it, very famous anthropologist Jane Goodall was featured in the Earth Day Google Doodle, proving yet again just how important anthropology is. Here is some food advice from the earnest folks over at Food Tank. The overall message from both Food Tank and my Twitter feed seems to suggest that we are all eating too much, wasting too much, and using too much plastic. Which sounds about right. Definitely not a “celebration,” but hopefully not a commemoration either. Want more information? Visit the web site of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Great pictures too.

With the demise some time ago of Lucky Peach, you might be tempted to declare that the age of the really innovative food magazine is dead. But some folks are not having it, or so says Tejal Rao, in this article from the New York Times. From Dill (“a quarterly publication that honors the foodways of Asia and celebrates those who make a living sustaining the culinary traditions of this vast and diverse continent’) to Mouthfeel (“food from a Gay point of view”), and Whetstone (“a digital and print magazine on food origins and culture”), along with many (many!) others, this article proves that food media is still a lively genre.

There is also some serious and interesting food anthropology out there that you should be reading. We just ran across two excellent articles in Human Organization. The first, by David Griffith, focuses on individual fishery quota programs and policies that bring a kind of neoliberal perspective to Gulf of Mexico fisheries. The second, by Guang Tian, Jianhua Zhao, Laya Liu, Shulong Xie, and Yu Liu looks at the management of food brands in China in the post-socialist economy. Here are the full citations: David Griffith (2018) Enforced Economics: Individual Fishery Quota Programs and the Privileging of Economic Science in the Gulf of Mexico Grouper-Tilefish Fishery. Human Organization: Spring 2018, Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 42-51 and Guang Tian, Jianhua Zhao, Laya Liu, Shulong Xie, and Yu Liu (2018) Old Names Meet the New Market: An Ethnographic Study of Classic Brands in the Foodservice Industry in Shantou, China. Human Organization: Spring 2018, Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 52-63.

The oyster industry in the Gulf Coast region has suffered in recent years, for a variety of reasons. This remarkable article by Laura Reiley, writing in the Tampa Bay Times, documents the history of the oyster economy and the struggles of oystering families around Apalachicola, Florida. The folks at the Southern Foodways Alliance called our attention to this article in a recent blog entry, which includes additional resources that you may find useful on this topic.

There is controversy among the Jews of Italy. According to Simone Somekh, publishing in Tablet, the classic Jewish Italian dish carciofi alla giudia (apparently a deep fried artichoke) has been found to be treif (not kosher) by Israeli rabbinic authorities. There is a recipe and some interesting history of the dish in Joan Nathan’s recent book “King Solomon’s Table,” if you want to make it. The conflict in Italy is really about who has authority to define Jewish culture and has resonance far beyond food.

Homaro Cantu was the famous chef behind the Chicago restaurant Moto. He was one of the leaders of the molecular gastronomy movement. He was also, it turns out, an idealist that wanted to use his culinary inventions to save the world. Read this fascinating article about his life by Kieran Morris, from the Guardian. That cigar you see in the photo at the top? Not really a cigar. Also, you may want to listen to the associated podcast.

You need more food podcasts. Seriously. Don’t we all? The Oxford Symposium folks have put together a series of podcasts based on their annual program. Food historian Laura Shapiro leads off the series with a great story about the Pillsbury Bake Off, gender, “contest cooking,” and Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs. I suspect that this is what the Pillsbury Doughboy would taste like. Upcoming episodes promise tales of offal, colonialism, food and sound, liver, and barbecue. Listen!

The semester is coming to end, right? So you need something fun to read, but food-related. Here are some recommended food memoirs briefly reviewed by Daniela Galarza and her colleagues at Eater. I think the book on César Ritz and Auguste Escoffier looks like something I will want to read (“Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, The Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class,” by Luke Barr), but anything by Dave Eggers is likely to be interesting (“The Monk of Mokha”) and a new biography of Edna Lewis, by Sara B. Franklin, promises good reading as well (“Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original”). There is quite a bit more, so this will keep you busy and out of trouble for days.

For the sheer pleasure of very nice food writing, read this brief homage to dumplings from Eastern Europe. Writing in The New Yorker, Olia Hercules describes making and eating a wide range of delicious sounding dumplings from across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. You will either want to find them or learn to make them, or both. We all need more dumplings.

On a very light note, I cannot resist calling attention to a recent episode of The Simpsons, in which they visit and pay homage to New Orleans cuisine. I have personally consumed a disturbing number of the items on the list, but it has taken me years to do that. Homer does it rather more quickly (he has a big appetite, even for a cartoon). People in New Orleans are pleased, you may enjoy the show as well. Here is the relevant food clip. All the restaurants and foods really exist (although the perceptive writer Judy Walker, at the Times-Picayune, has noted that the foods are most notably available at JazzFest, rather than at the restaurants…which, the hungry may note, starts soon).

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CHNY Scholars Grant Awards 2018

From the Culinary Historians of New York, small grants of interest to SAFN readers who are engaged in current research projects. They do not have to focus on New York! May 24, 2018 deadline for submissions.

The Culinary Historians of New York Scholar’s Grant

The CHNY Scholar’s Grant promotes research and scholarship in the field of culinary history and is awarded annually to individuals seeking financial support for a current, well-developed project that will culminate in a book, article, paper, film, or other scholarly endeavor, including ephemera. The grants are unrestricted and can be used to defray research expenses, attend conferences, or engage in other activities related to the applicant’s project. The CHNY Scholar’s Grant is merit-based; financial need is not considered in making the award.

All recipients will present their findings to Culinary Historians of New York, either in an in-person program, as an article to be included in NYFoodStory: The Journal of the Culinary Historians of New York, or as another appropriate event. Further information is included in the Application and General Release Form.

Since 2012, the importance of the CHNY Scholar’s Grant has been recognized by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts and rewarded with generous financial support. We are pleased to announce that the support has been increased this year, allowing CHNY to award THREE grants in the amount of $3,500, $2500, and $1,500, respectively.

Details on how and when to apply are here: https://www.culinaryhistoriansny.org/awards-grants/the-scholars-grant/.

Here are some of the previous winners (a more complete list is on the web site):

2017: Clare Alsup, Elizabeth Zanoni, Tove Danovich

Claire Alsup, “Colatura di Alici: How One Town on the Amalfi Coast Preserved Ancient Roman Fish Sauce” ($3500)

Elizabeth Zanoni ,”Flight Fuel: Pan Am and the Creation of Inflight Cuisines, 1930-1980 ($2500)

Tove Danovich, “When Kosher Isn’t Kosher: 100 Years of Murder, Crime, and Fraud” ($1500)

2016: Stacy Williams, Anthony Buccini

Stacy Williams, “Recipes for Resistance: Culinary Writings from American Feminists, 1875-2005” ($3,500)

Anthony Buccini, “From Kongri to Diri ak Djondjon: Slavery, Creolization, and Culinary Genesis in Saint Domingue and Independent Haiti” ($1,500)

2015: Francis and Bronwen Percival, Emily Arendt

Francis and Bronwen Percival, “Every up-to-date cheesemaker knows: How starter cultures changed cheese, 1880-1930” ($3,500)

Professor Emily Arendt, “Making Politics Palatable: Food and Partisanship in the Early American Republic.” ($1,500)

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THE 1st BIANNUAL CONFERENCE ON FOOD AND COMMUNICATION

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!

THE 1st BIANNUAL CONFERENCE ON FOOD AND COMMUNICATION

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.

Themes

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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What FoodAnthropology Is Reading Now, December 22, 2017

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.

We have not written here (yet) about the movement against sexual misconduct currently sweeping through the restaurant world, along with many other industries. It has been striking, however, to observe how different writers have grappled with the complexities of power (and its abuse) as deployed in the food world. In this piece in the New Yorker, for instance, Helen Rosner takes on the discourses of sensuality, appetite, and gender that have framed the careers of chefs like Mario Batali. Julia Moskin and Kim Severson’s article in the New York Times provide insight into the working of raw power in the restaurant industry, this time in the case of Ken Friedman. This is, of course, not just a New York story, as this earlier piece by Brett Anderson at the Times-Picayune regarding the behavior of New Orleans chef John Besh demonstrates.

Women are not just victims in the restaurant world – they are also accomplished workers, leaders, and owners. This article from Southern Living provides brief vignettes about thirty women in the world of Southern food and their accomplishments. Helen Freund provides a New Orleans-focused analysis of women working in food here. As these women point out, there are a lot of gender related issues that need to be addressed in the industry.

Changing topics dramatically: Pen Vogler provides this article about the idea of “clean eating” in Dickens’ writing and time. Although a seasonal reference to Christmas dinner is included, this is not an article with which to work up an appetite. Consider this, from The Pickwick Paper: “’Weal pie,’ said Mr. Weller, soliloquising, as he arranged the eatables on the grass. ‘Wery good thing is weal pie, when you know the lady as made it, and is quite sure it ain’t kittens; and arter all though, where’s the odds, when they’re so like weal that the wery piemen themselves don’t know the difference?’” Look it up to consider the seasonality of kittens in pie. Ah, England.

More Dickens related material, but also more appetizing: Mayukh Sen makes the case for why “The Muppet Christmas Carol” is one of the best food movies ever made. There is certainly a lot of food in the movie. We will need to see it again to determine if this argument is persuasive.

At this time of the year, many people are compiling best-of lists for all kinds of things. From the Longreads web site, here is a short list of their favorite food writing from 2017. It includes a piece on the local food movement in post-coal Appalachia, an article about chef Angela Dimayuga, who brings together queer theory and restaurant management, a surprising take on Olive Garden, Christianity, Gaugin, and more from Helen Rosner, and more. The painting she refers to, Gaugin’s Christ in the Garden of Olives, seems to have very few breadsticks.

Everything has a history, including the chilled premade sandwich in the United Kingdom. It seems that before the 1980s, these ubiquitous convenience foods, available all over London (and beyond), were not something people there ate. Sam Knight, writing in The Guardian, presents this is amazing story, involving marketing, clever invention, changing eating habits, convenience, and, of course, the famous Earl himself. Sandwich factories, sandwich empires…it is all here.

Food writer and historian Adrian Miller wrote this article about gatekeepers in the world of food writing for NPR. He explains some of the very curious limitations encountered by writers of color in the world of food and proposes a few ways to address them. Miller’s view is complex and provides a useful addition to the ongoing debates about who speaks for different kinds of foods and the communities they may represent.

Fabio Parasecoli has written an additional critique of the world of foodies and food writing in this short piece on HuffPost. Maybe we can call this transnational cosmopolitanism in the service of a localist ideology? Or making the world safe for Brooklyn? There is a lot to think about in this article and it would make for a wonderful discussion starter in your next food studies class.

Restaurants, as we have often noted here, can be a kind of total social phenomenon, where many of the social concerns of society are brought together in one space. This includes the creation of new families in which people, workers, and customers alike, can create deep social bonds. This lovely article from Kara Baskin in the Boston Globe, illustrates the kinds of relations some older customers develop with restaurant workers and owners in Boston.

We have been meaning to call attention to SAFN VP Amy Trubek’s recent book “Making Modern Meals: How Americans Cook Today,” which was published by the University of California Press a few months ago. While you are at it, you might read this blog entry Amy wrote about home cooks for National Cooking day.

A few years old, but new to us: the story of Oedipus, told with vegetables. This is a short film by Jason Wishnow. Spoiler alert, it does not have a happy ending. Tragic. Be careful with potato peelers.

Happy holidays!

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Review: A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism

A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat, Eric Holt-Giménez, Monthly Review Press, 2017.

foodies guide to capitalism

Jo Hunter-Adams

Working in food studies often means grappling with inequity (and deciding where best to focus our own energies in light of inequity). Yet food systems exist on so many different scales, and connections to health, well-being, and nourishment seem infinite. In the face of this complexity, we become specialists in specific parts of the food system, and can easily lose sight of the broader context. A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism offers a key contextual primer for food researchers and activists. The book provides much-needed context for understanding of the consequences of treating food as a commodity. As such, it provides important tools for good, deep thinking on food systems. Here, the cliché “think global, act local” seems resonant: we become specialists in a particular space and a particular food niche, yet require understanding of broader trends (including capitalism) to work more effectively and avoid triggering a cascade of unintended consequences.

An overview of the book, in quotes (Loc refers to Kindle version)

Introduction: Do Foodies Need to Understand Capitalism?

Understandably, they [those working on food] concentrate their efforts on one or two issues rather than the system as a whole, such as healthy food access, urban agriculture, organic farming, community-supported agriculture, local food, farmworkers’ rights, animal welfare, pesticide contamination, seed sovereignty, GMO labelling…the list is long. (Loc 129 of 5123)

Critical knowledge of capitalism—vital to the struggles of social movements through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—largely disappeared from the lexicon of social change, precisely at a time when neoliberal capitalism was destroying the working class and relentlessly penetrating every aspect of nature and society on the planet. (Loc 172 of 5123)

Chapter 1: How Our Capitalist Food System Came to Be

By the end of the nineteenth century, mercantilism, colonialism, and industrialization had all combined a new form of global capitalism that spread powerfully, if unevenly, around the earth. … The flow of cheap raw materials from the colonies to the centers of imperial power transformed livelihoods, territories, and systems of governance as food, land, and labor became global commodities. (Loc 433)

Chapter 2: Food, a Special Commodity

Ever since peasants were pushed off the land and made dependent on wages, agricultural labor has been paid far less than its social value (what it costs to reproduce a farmworker’s capacity to work) much less what it adds to the price (exchange value) of food products. Today agriculture and food processing in the United States and Western Europe largely depend on undocumented labor. (Loc 963 of 5123)

Unless we change the underlying value relations of our food system—the contradiction between food as essential for human life and food as a commodity—we will be working on the margins of a system that is structurally designed for profit rather than need, speculation rather than equity, and extraction rather than resilience. This doesn’t mean that the many social innovations challenging the inequities and externalities of the corporate food regime around the world are not worth implementing. On the contrary, our food system needs innovation. But for these hopeful alternatives to have a chance of becoming the norm rather than the alternative within a food system that is structurally favourable to large-scale industrial agriculture, we will need to know what structural parts of the system need changing. (Loc 1044 of 5123)

Though we are not likely to lose the commodity form of products any time soon, we can work to change the relation between use and exchange values, and we can change the terms of socially necessary labor time (and working conditions) to make a more sustainable and equitable food system that reduces the exploitation of workers and does not pass off onto society the social costs (the externalities) that the producers ought to bear. (Loc 1065 of 5123).

When voting with our fork, we should remember that the freedom to buy food according to our values does not in and of itself change the power of commodities in our food system. If we want to change the power of commodities in the food system, we will have to change the way we value the labor in our food as well. (Loc 1103 of 5123).

The logic of capital—rather than the logic of fairness, compassion, ecology, conservation, or health—governs our food. Our attempts to transform the food system hinge on changing the social relation embedded in our food. Because food is both a commodity and an existential necessity, and because our food system impacts all other aspects of our social and economic system because we all eat, the social relation of food is pivotal in terms of human well-being. The firms controlling our food system understand this perfectly, exploiting the public use value of food to extract exchange values for corporate profit. Substantive changes to the food system will affect the entire economic system. Perhaps this is precisely what we need. (Loc 1103 of 5123)  

Chapter 3: Land and Property

Her (Elinor Ostrom’s) fieldwork with traditional societies convinced her that natural resources held in common could be sustainably managed without regulation from government. She also believed that collective action and reciprocity were critical components to human survival and for solving social dilemmas in which individual short-term self-interest undermines the greater good. (Loc 1371 of 5123)

Chapter 4: Capitalism, Food, and Agriculture

Peasants and smallholders still feed most people in the world, though they cultivate less than a quarter of the arable land. (Loc 1801 of 5123)

Subsidies are often criticized by some environmental groups, which claim that they drive overproduction of cheap food and are given primarily to large farmers. The reality is that low prices drive overproduction, which results in subsidies. Eliminating subsidies (without other major structural changes to supply and price) would likely drive small and midsize farmers out of business, thus contributing to further farm consolidation into larger and larger farms. (Loc 1819 of 5123)

Agroecology has been endorsed by the international agricultural assessment on science, knowledge and technology for Development and the former United Nations Rapporteur on the Right to Food as the best agricultural method to end hunger, eliminate poverty, and address climate change. Indeed, this is because agroecology is, in human and ecological terms, a “rational agriculture.” But agroecology is not part of the agricultural development programs of the U.S. development, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, or the plans for agricultural development of the African, Asian, or Inter-American Development banks. Funding for agroecological research in the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States represents less than 1 percent of the funding dedicated to conventional agriculture. (Loc 2149 of 5123)

Chapter 5: Power, Privilege in the Food System: Gender, Race and Class

Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed with be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed the attempt never goes beyond this…. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this “generosity,” which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. That is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source. (quoting Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Loc 2628 of 5123)

Industrial agriculture has taken the farmworker’s voice away, so we don’t hear them identifying as people of the earth. We have been identified as machines, as beasts of burden. It’s convenient for people to identify us that way because then it’s easy to exploit us. But if you’re talking about a human being who can express herself or himself as a person of the earth, with this intellect and wisdom about the right way to grow food, then it’s not as easy to exploit. A lot of the family farmers and growers know that the way they’re growing food and treating the earth is wrong. (Loc 2447 of 5123):

We can’t change the food system without transforming capitalism. Yet we can’t transform capitalism without changing the food system. And we can’t do either of these without ending patriarchy, racism, and classism. So, if we want a better food system, we have to change everything. Admittedly, this is a tall order for any social movement. The question for the food movement, however, is not, how do we change everything but “how is the food system strategically positioned to influence systemic change?” (Loc 2740 of 5123)

Chapter 6: Food, Capitalism, Crises, and Solutions

We should all feel sorry for ourselves for losing one of our most precious institutions, the family farm.” Farm depressions do not reverse farm consolidation; the land will continue to be farmed, but by some other farmer who pursues the inevitable (Loc 3204 of 5123)

We can use a lot more produce raised locally, but to think that a corn and soybean farmer could convert their land to fruits and vegetables is unrealistic. Midwestern farmers plant corn and soybeans fencerow-to-fencerow because there are really no alternatives in the capitalist commodity system. (Loc 3225 of 5123)

The challenge for our planet is not how to (over) produce food, but how to keep smallholders on the land while sustainably producing healthy food. The challenge is not to attempt to engineer “climate-smart” commodities for nutritionally fortified crops, but to build overall nutrition and resilience into the whole agroecosystem. This will take more—not fewer—highly skilled farmers. (Loc 3345 of 5123)

Conclusion

The challenge of building a public sphere for the twenty first century is not to re-create the past, but to build a new, transnational public sphere that has a critical analysis of capitalism, builds social legitimacy for movements for food justice and food sovereignty, and connects them with the broad environmental and social justice movements. It is not enough to build an apolitical public space in our food system. Creating alternative markets is not the same as shutting down capitalist markets. Both actions are needed for regime transformation. We need a movement that is able to forge a militantly democratic food system in favour of the poor and oppressed globally and locally, and that effectively rolls back the elite, neoliberal food regime. (Loc 3649 of 5123)

We also need to ask, who will transform the food regime, how will it be transformed, and in whose interests, and to what purpose? (Loc 3658 of 5123)

Understanding why, where, and how oppression manifests itself in the food system, recognizing it within our food movement and our organizations (and within ourselves), is not extra work for transforming our food system. It is the work. (Loc 3662 of 5123)

While not intended for an academic audience, this book provides a plain language, big picture understanding of the food system, and would be very well-suited to an undergraduate class. The book is U.S. centric, yet resonates and is applicable to a global audience.

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Eating for Change: Global and Local Perspectives on Food and Transformation

The Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Sociology UC Davis

Present the Academic Conference:

Eating for Change:

Global and Local Perspectives on Food and Transformation

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

University of California, Davis

Call for Papers:

Transformation is inherent in food as a material substance. Wheat, for instance, is transformed into flour and flour into bread, a process that is environmental, social, cultural, technological and political in essence. Likewise, food systems and eating habits have always been subject to transformation and change. In contemporary Western societies, processes such as the globalization of food production and the industrialization of agriculture significantly change both local and global food systems. However, social movements that encompass political, economic and cultural resistance to these changes and the inequities they incur emerge as a substantive force for transformative change.

This one-day conference will tackle the notions of change and transformation underpinning contemporary and historical processes of food production, consumption and distribution. We wish to bring together scholars to focus on the social dynamics driving changes in food movements, food cultures and food systems.

We ask what are the epistemological and the ontological presuppositions that underlie changes in food systems and food cultures? In what ways do food and foodways partake in social change? How are new culinary trends affected by contemporary cultural, economic, technological and political processes? What is the role of food in struggles for social justice and equity? How are interactions between states, markets, social movements and individuals shaping and re-shaping cultural, moral and political frameworks guiding food practices today?

Food Studies scholars – including graduate students – from Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, CRD, STS, Environmental Studies, Human Ecology, History, Cultural Studies, Food Science and Technology, International Agricultural Development or any related field, are invited to email Rafi Grosglik (rgrosglik@ucdavis.edu) with a paper proposal (abstract, 250-500 words). In order to encourage a comparative perspective, papers can focus on either the Global North or the Global South. Paper proposals are due Friday, December 29.

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AFHVS / ASFS 2018: The Agroecological Prospect

Call for abstracts for the best annual interdisciplinary Food Studies conference. SAFN members, it would be great to organize whole SAFN panels for this event. Start a discussion on the listserv!

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AFHVS / ASFS 2018: The Agroecological Prospect:

The Politics of Integrating Values, Food, and Farming

June 13 to 16, 2018.
Madison, Wisconsin.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) is pleased to host the Joint Annual Meeting of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS) and the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), June 13 to 16, 2018.

The conference theme, The Agroecological Prospect: The Politics of Integrating Values, Food, and Farming, is an invitation to engage with the political and governance issues that arise in agricultural and food systems. Agroecology links scientific inquiry, practical arts, and transformative social action to develop food systems that are fair and resilient. The conference program will highlight necessary changes to the design and management of our food systems so that we may adjust human systems to better function within the limits of natural systems, ensuring economic viability, food security, and the sovereignty of all people. The conference planning committee invites presentations and posters addressing this topic, as well as broader issues facing agriculture, food, values, human-environment interaction, and more.

Learn more about the conference at https://afhv2018.wiscweb.wisc.edu/.  Giving voice to these issues is fundamental to resolving them, so that we may better function in harmony with natural systems – while ensuring economic viability, food security, and the sovereignty of all people.

Abstract deadline has been extended to February 15, 2018. Submit abstracts for presentations and posters at https://easychair.org/cfp/AFHV-ASFS_2018.

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Filed under AFHVS, anthropology, ASFS, Food Studies