Tag Archives: SAFN

Necessary Knowledge: Where Denver Anthropologists Drink and Eat

John Brett
University of Colorado Denver

As a Denver native and passionate eater of foods, what follows is my personal, if a bit quirky, list of places I would send my friends and colleagues to eat and drink while visiting Denver.  There’s no easy way to organize something of this nature but I’ve added some headings to provide some idea of where things are.  I suppose as a Coloradoan, I should include something on our recently legalized intoxicant but I can’t for lack of experience, but I would refer you to the Cannabist, developed by the Denver Post which has a lot of news and reviews and the number of shops rivals Starbucks in their density (the basics: you have to be over 21 to purchase, can’t consume it in public spaces, and can’t take it with you…).

The Denver food scene is big, complex, a bit weird, but really fun so find some time to explore.  Most of the restaurants are walking or short taxi ride from the convention center but I’ve included some stellar neighborhood restaurants as well.

Where to begin? Beer. Asheville, NC claims to have more microbreweries per capita than anywhere else in the country and I have no reason to dispute that but Denver surely ranges near the top for sheer number of excellent breweries. Microbreweries seem to pop up on a weekly basis so I’ll only mention the ones that always seem to find me at a table.  Most of them have a food truck outside, or are in districts with easy access to food, so it’s easy to “do dinner” around some tasty beer. One of the oldest and still finest breweries in Denver is Great Divide.  The Denver Beer Company actively partners with other brewers and in addition to their solid regular lineup, they often produce some creative new styles.  A long standing Denver institution, My Brother’s Bar (home of the Ralphie buffalo burger), the REI flagship store and Wilderness Exchange are all within a few blocks which can make this an afternoon bored-with-the-meeting excursion.  A small brewer that has made a big name for itself is River North Brewery; their specialty is barrel conditioned ales which to the glass are excellent.  Do the tasting flight to get the full range of options.  In the same neighborhood Epic Brewing Company (actually based out of Salt Lake City) is big and noisy but has plenty of tasty beer.  For those who like their beers sour, the Crooked Stave is the place to go.  For those with a desire for German style lagers, Proust Brewing will take good care of you.  These are my usual haunts; for more suggestions and reviews go to the Denver Post Beer Blog which has been running for several years.

Colorado has also become one of the hotspots for artisanal distilling (yes, some of us are sober some of the time) but I’ll mention only one.  Leopold Brothers produces an interesting line of whisky, gin, vodka and various cordials.  If you’ve got three hours and your Uber app, they do a great three hour tour and tasting.

Onto the food; for lack of a better strategy, I’ll organize restaurants by neighborhood:

Lower Downtown (LoDo): walking, biking, short hop from Convention Center

Any of the James Beard awarded restaurants by Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch will make you happy.  Their two flagship concepts, both in Larimer Square (two blocks from the convention center) are the Spanish inspired Rioja and the classic French joint, Bistro Vendome, across the street from one another.  Around the corner is their upscale pub, Euclid Hall with a great mix of local and imported beer and not-your-average pub fare.  A little further afield, but still within walking distance is their take on fish, Stoic and Genuine in Union Station.  If you’re in that neighborhood, or love books, be sure to drop into the Tattered Cover, a highly successful and widely known independent bookstore that evokes passionate loyalty among its many supporters (great coffee too).  Also in this area is the newly revitalized Union Station which is a beautiful example of urban renewal and in-fill.

Larimer Square has a host of eateries but I’ll just quickly mention a couple: The Market Deli is a locally owned institution and a great place for a quick breakfast or lunch (check out the salads) and fine coffee; everything is baked in house and their pastries are huge.  Osteria Marco is Italian inspired with good salads, charcuterie and pizza; Tamayo is upscale, modern Mexican with a huge tequila list.

Tucked into a former warehouse district (most of which have been knocked down) you’ll find Domo which serves Japanese country fare and is consistently good.  Their specialty is the wide range of noodle dishes from the Japanese tradition, with seasonal features.

THE HIGHLANDS

Little manA former working class, ethnic neighborhood that has felt the full brunt of gentrification over the last 20 years or so but in consequence has some excellent restaurants.  An early entrant and current mainstay in the neighborhood is Z Cuisine and the next door absinthe bar A Coté.  This is a classic French bistro space, intimate (read, tiny) with a beautiful menu.  A key point: this is not the place to go if you’re in a hurry; they don’t take reservations for parties of fewer than 6 so the routine is to wait (or eat) in the bar until a table opens up.  Two sister restaurants, Root Down, and Linger both feature locally sourced ingredients and innovative menus.  For those interested in “nose to tail” farmhouse cuisine, Old Major is worth a visit—they do all their processing in-house and occasionally feature a pig to pork workshop.  If ice cream helps you get up in the morning, you’ll want to make a stop at Little Man Ice Cream; you can’t miss it; just look for the 28 foot tall cream can…

RIVER NORTH

This mixed warehouse, light manufacturing district is a rapidly urbanizing mix of upscale condo housing, apartments and conversions with the funkiness of a transitional neighborhood, and, of course, a lot of interesting food.  Two restaurants back to back to one Cart Driveranother and always packed are Cart Driver Pizza and Work and Class.  Again, both tend to be noisy and crowded so don’t go if you have serious business to conduct or you’re in a hurry; if neither of those apply, it won’t be time wasted.  If you find yourself at the Crooked Stave for a beer, two restaurants in the same building are worth the effort: Acorn is a small/shared plate place featuring highly creative (but expensive) dishes.  The other option in this space is Comida serves reasonably priced, updated “Mexican street food.”

Not neighborhood specific but fine eating places within 5-10 minutes of the convention center and well worth considering include Satchels on Sixth, Beast and Bottle (nice wine list), and Charcoal; all offer interesting creative menus.  WaterCourse Foods is Denver’s flagship vegan restaurant; you won’t find anything here that pretends to be meat; flavors are unique and you won’t leave hungry; great juice bar.

The Mercury Café is a Denver institution serving locally raised, organic food in a community setting.  There’s almost always somethin’ happenin’ at The Merc—poetry reading, live music, dance…

SAME (So All May Eat) Café is a pay what you can/will with a different menu daily, depending on what’s available—soul satisfying food prepared in a social justice practice.

Three neighborhood restaurants twenty minutes or so from downtown but absolutely worth the trek are Bistro Barbès which is a north African/French inspired place (very small and very popular so make reservations well in advance); The Plimoth is another neighborhood restaurant that is generally reserved full 2-3 weeks out, because it’s really good.

There are dozens of lunch joints, both local and chain, within blocks of the meetings: the 16th Street Mall, Larimer, Market, Blake and Curtis Streets are rich with options as is Writers Square and the Tabor Center.  Although November is not the best season, Denver hosts a lot of food trucks (http://roaminghunger.com/den/vendors/; http://foodtruckrow.com/) though they are not always obvious downtown.

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Filed under AAA 2015 Denver, anthropology of food, restaurants

Christine Wilson Award 2015

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is pleased to announce the 2015 Christine Wilson Award.

The award recognizes outstanding student research examining topics in nutrition, food studies and anthropology. Papers that propose new conceptual framework or outline novel research designs are especially welcome.

Guidelines for Submission of Your Entry:

  • Paper must present original, empirical research (literature reviews not eligible) undertaken in whole or in part by the author.
  • Primary focus must be on anthropological approach to food and/or nutrition.
  • Author (or first author for co-authored papers) must be currently enrolled as a student (undergraduate or graduate), or enrolled during the past academic year.
  • Papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced, and follow American Anthropological Association style guidelines.

Winners of the graduate and undergraduate awards receive a cash prize + a year’s membership in SAFN

DEADLINE: 31 OCTOBER 2015

Submit your paper to Amy Trubek via email (atrubek@uvm.edu).

Submission is open to AAA and non-AAA members. For more information, visit www.foodanthro.com/christine-wilson-award/.

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“Would you put oregano on your posole?” Lois Stanford on teaching “Food and Culture Around the World” and using New Mexico’s diversity in the classroom

Lauren Moore
University of Kentucky

This month, we hear from Lois Stanford, Associate Professor of Anthropology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Dr. Stanford teaches a popular upper-level undergraduate course titled “Food and Culture Around the World.” In our interview, she describes how she uses New Mexico’s rich ethnic and culinary diversity to engage her students, the three-project structure of the class, and her film recommendations for the classroom.

If you would like to participate, or would like to nominate an excellent instructor for the interview series, please email LaurenRMoore@uky.edu.

Lauren R. Moore: Before talking about teaching, can you tell me a little about your research? I attended your presentation at the AAAs last year, in the food sovereignty session put on by Culture & Agriculture, I really am interested in some of the work you’re doing with seed saving.

Dr. Lois Stanford: Yeah, I’ve gotten really interested in it. I’ve done a couple of workshops with Native Seeds and I have a colleague here at NMSU who is a plant breeder. He works in traditional open-pollinated varieties of corn. I’m really interested in working with him, and with Native Seeds, to work with farmers and how they use [seeds]. I think there’s a lot of possibility for working with [farmers] in a way that would be useful to them. One of the things Native Seeds does is keep really good records on the seeds they are reproducing, but not enough from the farmers’ perspective. They don’t have the resources to look at how communities respond to them—you know, what kind of food they’re making, and what people prefer. I think there’s some potential there.

LRM: Tell me a little about this class, ANT 360: Food and Culture Around the World.

LS: Most universities have courses that are general education, because they want students to broaden their perspectives. At NMSU, we have classes that are general education at the freshman level, but we also have classes at the junior/senior level. These juniors and seniors are required to take at least one class outside of their college. It regularly draws from all over the college, and outside of Arts and Sciences. This class is also an elective for several of the majors in dietetics and nutrition and the College of Health and Human Services. Many students are studying dietetics or nutrition. They often go on to work in issues in public health or social work or dietetics. I just hope the class will get them thinking about these things more broadly, and will affect how they work and how they think about things, as well.

I try and get [students] to think about the relationship between food and culture, the way our culture shapes how we look at food, and how we use food to communicate and create social bonds—to really think about food differently.

Since this is a Hispanic-serving institution, I’d say easily half of the class is Hispanic. So, a lot of what we talk about is how much food has been an important part of their lives, their families, their identities. That’s something that I think really helps them look at food differently, too.

It’s a class I teach once a year; it fills within 24 hours after the registration opens up. It’s students who haven’t had anthropology; they’re also not students who are used to reading a lot of material, and they’re not students that have lots of experience writing. So, it’s kind of a class where I have to do a lot of teasing and cajoling. I’m using a new textbook, Gillian Crowther’s Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food.

Crowther coverIn the past, I’ve used Counihan and Van Esterick’s Food and Culture: A Reader, which I really like. When I teach anthropology students and graduate students, it’s a really, really good book. But the students in this class… Counihan and Van Esterick sent them right over the edge. They can’t read the articles and put it all together in a framework, so I’m using a different text for that reason. I have to structure things much more than I would with anthropology students or with graduate students.

LRM: Syllabi are such a great resource, but one of the hard things about consulting syllabi is that you don’t always have a sense for how the classes function day-to-day. I wonder if you could give us a picture of what one day in your class looks like?

LS:  I tend to be very structured. The class is run in a lab, so there are tables, and everyone is sitting in order. And then, it depends on what we’re doing in class… over the course of a week, I would do a lecture and would do a PowerPoint (I can’t lecture without PowerPoint). I have lots of pictures, and I tend to lecture standing in front of the slides and then asking questions and drawing people into the conversation. And then, those days are interspersed with films. When we have films, I usually give students a list of questions for stuff that they’re supposed to watch, and we then have a discussion after we a watch the film. We tend to alternate between something that’s more structured, like lecture with discussion and participation, and films that are followed by group discussions.

LRM: How do you have the course organized?

LS: First, I’m a cultural anthropologist. I know a lot of scholars may teach food from a biocultural perspective. I have the biocultural for one week at the beginning of the semester, and then we talk about subsistence and hunting and gathering lifestyles. Then, I domesticate food, and we talk about the fact that food is cultural, because most of what we eat is food that was domesticated. Then, I talk about food and history, followed by food and social relations.

Towards the end of the semester I move into talking about the transformation of traditional food systems. So, talking about globalization and the industrialization of food and the impact that has on us and on our health. We talk about some of the movements that can be looked at as forms of resistance to that industrial food system. So, talking about food and borders and identity, and then talking about local food systems.

LM: How does the New Mexican context shape the course?

LS: Because of where we are, [there are issues with] trying to revive the local food system and improve food security. It isn’t really food studies like Indiana University…we’re in a very poor state, in a Hispanic-serving institution, we’re in a public land grant institution, and we are in the middle of a drought. We have food production issues, we have a very low income and very ethnically diverse population… the context makes food studies much more applied.

I think a lot of people don’t really realize how important food is to them and to their own identity. In many other areas of the country, they might look at New Mexico and say, “Well, they eat Mexican food.” But, here in New Mexico, food is a really important marker of the geography of the region and your identity. When people start talking about those issues toward the end of the semester, they’re starting to loosen up a little, and they start realizing how important these things really are.

People who come from northern New Mexico think the food’s really different down here. We use more chile, it’s spicier, we use more oil; we’re influenced by Mexican food. Northern New Mexico is very “comida la ranchera,” it’s more peasant food, stews, and they just use red chile. The Mexicans who immigrate across the border, they make their enchilada sauce with red chiles but also with mulatos, anchos [dried poblanos], güeros [banana peppers] and different kinds of chiles.

All these kids recognize that the tastes are different. So the minute you start talking about ethnicities and boundaries and borders, you start asking, “do you use yellow cheese or white cheese?” “What kind of chile do you use?” “Would you put oregano on your posole, or would you put cilantro?” They realize how we use these things to create boundaries and differences, and it really is important to them. It’s a lot of fun.

WhitePozoleDF

White pozole with oregano.

Also, because here in New Mexico… I don’t mean any disrespect, but it’s not Vermont! We have kids that are Hispanic from northern New Mexico, who never considered themselves Mexican. They’re Chicanos, they’re descendants of Spanish. We have New Mexican border culture down here. We have immigrants, people from El Paso who are Hispanic and have grown up on the border, and have immigrants from Mexico. And I’ll often have Navajo or Mescalero [students], or students from the Pueblos. All of a sudden people start talking about their own experiences.

I think it’s really interesting for the white kids, too, because we have a tradition of farming in New Mexico, and many of them… they don’t have to go back far before they start realizing their own ancestry and their own foodways. They may be third or fourth generation immigrants. They don’t speak the language, they don’t have any ties, but often times food is that last thing that you kind of hold on to a sense of your family and who you are. They never really thought about it that way. They have a culture, too. I like to tell them, “those of us from the South, we have culture too!”

LRM: This sounds like it gets to be a really lively point in the course. Do you have particular activities that get these kinds of discussions going?

LS: One of the things we do at the end of the semester, when we’re talking about ethnicity and borders, is I have a PowerPoint slideshow, and we go through and talk about “What is a burrito? What do you put in a burrito?” Because in California, where I grew up, we have “California burritos,” where you put the rice and all of this stuff in them. And the students are like, “Oh, god! That’s disgusting!”

california burrito

California Burrito

Then I talk about posole, and ask, “Your posole, is it white or is it red?” They get into these arguments about what kind of cheese you’re supposed to use. Are you supposed to sauté the rice before you put the tomato sauce in it or after? At that point, they really realize how important these little tiny differences are, and it’s because we make them important. We assign value and importance to them.

They also do a series of projects in class. The first project they do is to write a history of a food, they have to pick a food and write a short history of it. The second project they do is an observation at a meal. They have to document how the food is used, what kinds of social values are being reinforced through the sharing of food and how it’s organized. The last assignment is an interview with someone with a list of questions I provide that focuses on someone either from their family or somebody from another ethnic group, someone who is an immigrant or who has grown up in a different food culture. It’s a narrative interview to look at how that individual uses food as a way of maintaining their ethnicity.

LRM: What kinds of questions you have students ask in that interview?

LS: Well, if somebody’s immigrated, students ask what kind of foods they ate while growing up? What kinds of challenges did they have trying to maintain those foods when they came to the United States? How did they find them, how did they learn how to fix the foods, who taught them? Do they still eat these foods? When do they eat them?

What we find a lot here is that when people assimilate, they don’t fix traditional foods on a daily basis. But for feast days, for Día de Los Muertos, there are tamales all over town. Everybody has to have tamales for Christmas, and it’s a really big deal whether you make them yourself, or if you go buy them…that’s considered cheating. That’s a really big deal.

A lot of times, the kids don’t realize how much of those foods are still a part of their cycle. It’s part of the seasonal cycle, not what they eat everyday. But when it’s somebody’s birthday, when it’s Lent, it’s really important that those foods are served.

LRM: Is there one assignment or one section of the class that students seem to enjoy the most?

LS: I think it’s probably the interview. I think that it’s often an interview they do with someone who’s a member of their family. So it’s often educational and also more rewarding. But it’s also towards the end of the semester, and I think that we all get a little loosened up moving ahead.

LRM: Is there anything that you have kept consistent throughout the years of teaching the course that really seems to go well every time?

LS: The three projects have worked fairly well. With the history of a food, they don’t have to go out and talk to people. There are so many websites now. I post a link to the food timeline, and the Smithsonian’s got a lot. They can get their feet wet, you know… start thinking about these things, but they don’t have to go out and interview somebody or do something that engages. So, I think that’s a good start. Then, the other two projects involve them in doing a little anthropology… one is an observation, and one is an interview.

LRM: Is there anything that you have tried and jettisoned?

LS: When I first started teaching the class, I moved very quickly into local foods and organics and alternatives. And, this is a generation of kids that have grown up at McDonalds, and most everybody shops at Wal-Mart. You know, and some of them are gardeners, and some of them have a very different relationship with food, but I feel like it’s very important to not be too judgmental, to not be too dogmatic, to lead people into thinking about these things as opposed to beating them over the head with it.

I also like to talk about the contradictions and the realities of our lives. We can’t all be pounding corn and making tortillas every day; we’ve got to do something else. And they may occasionally see me at Wal-Mart, picking up laundry detergent. I think that trying to get people to think critically and reflect on it, and to not be too heavy into the organic kind of stuff. That’s definitely improved my teaching evaluations.

And the text reading, too. I loved Food and Culture: A Reader, but it just didn’t work for that audience. I’m hoping that this one works better!

LRM: Do you feel like there’s anything you do differently with this group? While they aren’t anthropology majors, they are juniors and seniors. Does that change your approach at all?

LS: Yeah, in the sense that they’re older, they’re more mature. We often have students who are returning students, so they often have families, they’re parents. We have a lot of veterans, we have a long tradition of military service with students coming back to finish their degrees. So I feel like maybe one of the reasons I like the class is that although they may not be aware of the concepts and may not have had the anthropology, a lot of them have had world experiences. They’re raising kids, and thinking about these kinds of things in their own lives. They served in the Middle East and they’ve been exposed to other cultures… so they’re not anthropology students, but they’re grown ups. That experience is nice.

LRM: You mentioned that you use films. Do you have particular films that you’d recommend?

LS: I really like the… they are dated now, but the PBS series that was done on food, The Meaning of Food, that Marcus Samuelsson interviews and narrates. They’ve got three parts: Food and Life, Food and Family, Food and Culture. They do these short vignettes, so they’re thematically organized then you get to see these different cases.

I’ve shown Food, Inc. before, and thought that was a little “rhhm-rhhm-rhhm-rhhm” (heavy handed).

I really like an ABC News special that Peter Jennings did (it’s really old now [aired in 2003]) called How to Get Fat Without Really Trying. It’s about the industrialization of the food system. Very Marion Nestle-ish—how they convince you to eat more and you don’t even realize it. They’ve got some great quotes, where some of these advertising people are talking about how they changed the formula of cranberry juice so there’s no cranberry juice in it, but people can’t tell the difference! And they just say these things…. it really gets the students going.

A really nice film that’s on the Center for Urban Pedagogy website that’s called Bodega Down Bronx. It’s nice, because we’re so Mexican and rural and border here, it’s a nice cultural difference.

And there’s also a really nice film called Ingredients about local food systems. It’s organized around the whole annual cycle, with local production coming full circle. It’s very nicely done, and it really focuses on CSAs, locals, and organics. And it’s in Washington state, with white people in Birkenstocks and stuff. So we watch that and everybody really likes it, and then I say, “What’s not in here? What’s missing?” and they’re like, “There’s no Mexicans in here!” There’s no desert, except for maybe a short five-minute clip in Tucson. So people have the sense that it’s not… it’s really good, but how does it get extended? How do other people participate in it? But it’s a really nice film, I like it.

And, I use a series of films that… well, I’ve done work in Mexico on food as cultural patrimony, and so there’s a short film that Mexico’s tourism department did and then presented to UNESCO as part of their food as their heritage. And then France did one, and France presented it. And so we watch the two of them, and they’re very different because Mexico is presenting its indigenous heritage, the farming, and the land. And then France…well, it’s all Paris, it’s French and Parisian, it’s urbane and cosmopolitan, so they’re presenting a different national image. It’s a nice contrast.

LRM: For instructors who are developing a food-related course for the first time, do you have any thoughts or suggestions for things to consider?

LS: I think the syllabi that have been provided by SAFN are a really good place to start because you can really see how different instructors have approached the same topic. Somebody who has a background in nutrition or who has more of a biocultural background, there would be different elements that they would include, and the course would be organized in a totally different way. I think it would help somebody who’s starting out to see what the different options are. Play with the syllabus, and make it yours.

LRM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

LS: In addition to the undergraduate program, we have a Master’s degree, and we have a graduate level minor in food studies. New Mexico is a really neat place because there’s so much really interesting fieldwork that the students can do right here. Some students have done stuff that is food security related, designing curriculum for a school or something like that, others have done projects that have been more like food studies. I had a students who did a MA project on an ethnography of the matanzas, which is the tradition of the ritual slaughter and roasting of pigs for a feast. I had another student do an ethnography of an old, Hispanic, border restaurant, interviewing and cooking with the sisters who are behind the restaurant. We’re in a really culturally diverse area, where there’s a lot of opportunity for students to do really neat research, even at the beginning graduate level.

LRM: Thank you so much for your time!

 

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Christine Wilson Award

Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition
2013 Christine Wilson Student Paper Award

DEADLINE OCT 4!

The Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) is pleased to invite students to submit papers in competition for the 2013 Christine Wilson Awards presented to outstanding undergraduate and graduate student research papers that examine topics within the perspectives in nutrition, food studies and anthropology.

Papers may report on research undertaken in whole or in part by the author. Co –authored work is acceptable, provided that submitting student is first author. Papers must have as their primary focus an anthropological approach to the study of food and/or nutrition and must present original, empirical research; literature reviews are not eligible. Papers that propose a new conceptual framework or outline novel research designs or methodological approaches are especially welcome. Winners will be recognized and presented with an award at the 2013 AAA meeting in Chicago, IL and receive a year’s membership in SAFN.

Students (undergraduate or graduate) must be currently enrolled or enrolled during in the past academic year (Fall 2012 to present). The text of papers should be no longer than 25 pages, double-spaced and follow AAA style guidelines.  For application details please the Christine Wilson Award page here.

Deadline: October 4, 2013

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Filed under AAA 2013 Chicago, Announcements, anthropology, awards, Call for Papers, CFP, Christine Wilson, Food Studies

AAA Panel CFP! Eating in the City: Foodways, Publics, and Urban Transformation

2013-Logo-154x200

Eating has become a provocative and political element of urban contestation.  Through food, publics are effectively (re)defined and urban futures popularly (re)imagined.  As cities transform, the ways that people eat and procure food also change, along with the sociocultural meanings of food itself.  This panel will explore the relationships between these contemporary urban processes and changing food habits.  These shifting patterns of consumption and production can be linked to a variety of intertwined processes at global and urban scales — from cycles of de-industrialization and gentrification in the global north to the rapidly urbanizing megacities of the developing world.  Food studies scholars have noted the impact of such urban transformations on diets, from the (post)Fordist homogenization of industrially produced food to the highly differentiated food landscapes of today’s gentrified cities.

In response, urban publics and counterpublics are reimagining — and being reimagined through — the circulation of food and dietary discourse that draws upon a range of sources from urban agriculture and farmer’s markets to the role of grocery stores and restaurants.  Food also provides a significant public idiom for policies that address or entrench urban inequality, from “food deserts” to feeding prohibitions.  Food even renders the contemporary city’s global connections “good to think” for urban dwellers: dependent on producers they do not know and rarely see, fearful about how and where their food is produced — and where it will come from in the future – consumers circulate a host of new discourses about whole, local, organic and sustainable foods.

Panelists will pursue several questions in order to understand how food remakes the city and vice-versa: Who has access to food and who does not?  How do people come to understand their place in the urban social order through their food practices — particularly amid the urban manifestations of global political-economic restructuring and cultural change?  How do the politics of food figure in the transformation of urban spaces?  What roles do immigration and migratory foodways play in shaping modern urban life?  What of the proliferation of ever more extravagant restaurants and eating experiences for the wealthy alongside ever worsening rates of poverty, hunger and ill-health for the poor?  Above all, we ask, how are processes related to eating and urban transformation intertwined?

Abstracts should be submitted by March 1 to Maggie Dickinson (mdickinson@gc.cuny.edu).

Note from the editor: If you are organizing a food/nutrition related panel for the AAA meetings this year–or, really, for any conference–we would be happy to post it here at FoodAnthropology. Just send it along to foodanthro@gmail.comand we will take care of it.

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Filed under AAA 2013 Chicago, anthropology, Call for Papers, CFP, city, food policy, food security, Food Studies, urban

CFP: Toward Sustainable Foodscapes and Landscapes

Sustainable Foodscapes Conf logo

Call for Participation

Due Date February 1, 2013

Joint annual meetings of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS), the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) and the Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN)

Toward Sustainable Foodscapes and Landscapes
June 19 to 22, 2013
Hosted by Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Conference theme:

The concepts of “foodscapes” and “landscapes” invite us to consider the broader conditions, connections and consequences of food and agricultural issues. Food is more than a simple problem of consumer behavior, just as land use involves more than farmer or policy decisions. Foodscape and landscape perspectives situate the producing, distributing, acquiring and eating of food within a richer and more complex understanding of social, cultural, economic and political processes. As well, foodscape and landscape perspectives take serious account of the context and significance of the ecological systems in which food and agriculture are embedded. Instead of being removed from or in opposition to pressing concerns such as climate change and water availability, food and agriculture are deeply entangled in many of the most critical environmental and ethical issues of our time. Charting, analyzing and interrogating sustainable pathways through this complex terrain are important work for academics, practitioners, activists, policymakers and citizens. This year’s conference will engage these concepts of foodscapes and landscapes with the aim of creating a lively, generative space for people of diverse disciplines and dispositions to explore and advance thinking and practice related to agriculture and food.

Submissions are strongly encouraged in the following three formats:

Lightning talk* (five minutes maximum, similar to Pecha Kucha, Ignite, talk20, etc.; these sessions will be videostreamed live online!)

Posters (eligible for awards, including a student category)

Pre-organized sessions (panels, roundtables, workshops, etc.)

*5 minute presentations, particularly when they include 15-20 highly visual slides, may be more effective in generating interest in your full paper than longer presentations, because they are dynamic, force a tight focus, and are likely to draw larger audiences than a conventional session. See: http://www.speakerconfessions.com/2009/06/how-to-give-a-great-ignite-talk/

Submissions are also accepted for 15 minute conventional paper presentations to be grouped with 2 to 3 other papers by members of the program committee. Note there is a possibility that these submissions will be placed in Saturday morning sessions.

We strongly encourage practitioners, activists, government staff, and those with other practical knowledges of food and agricultural systems to participate, in addition to academics. We ask submitters formulating panels, roundtables and workshops to consider including participants whose orientation goes beyond the narrowly academic.

We especially encourage submissions that speak directly to the theme, but also welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

  • Art, Media, & Literary Analyses
  • Change & Development
  • Culture & Cultural Geography
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Agroecology & Conservation
  • Ethics & Philosophy
  • Food Safety & Risk
  • Gender & Ethnicity
  • Globalization
  • History
  • Inequality, Access, Security & Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Local Food Systems
  • Pedagogy
  • Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts
  • Research Methods
  • Practices & Issues
  • Social Action & Social Movements
  • Sustainability
  • Science & Technologies

Please note: Due to strong increases in the number of abstract submissions for this conference in recent years, in 2013, only one submission per person as lead author or submitter will be accepted (in any format).

Abstracts should be submitted online via EasyChair (signing up for an account required) http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=afhvsasfs2013 and include the following information:

  • Submitter’s name, e-mail address and organizational affiliation, and if applicable, those of co-authors
  • For organized sessions: names, e-mails and affiliations for moderator, panelists and/or roundtable participants
  • Title
  • Abstract (150 words or less). For panels, please include an abstract for the panel as a whole, and an individual abstract for each individual paper.
  • Category of submission (e.g. 5 min. lightning talk; poster; pre-organized session— specify in the abstract whether a panel, roundtable or workshop; 15 min. conventional paper presentation)
  • Keywords (3 or more)

Full papers may be submitted in pdf format, but this is not required.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance on March 1, 2013 via email.

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Food Stamped, The Documentary

by Janet Chrzan

A few days ago I provided a shout-out about Food Stamped to several listserves (including SAFN). In that email I wrote:

“I’d like to provide a big shout-out for the recent documentary “Food Stamped.”

It’s a movie made by a couple in Berkeley about trying to live on a food stamp budget. She teaches food education and healthy eating in elementary schools. In the movie they interview quite a lot of folks about food stamp use, from people reliant upon them to members of congress. It’s 1 hour long, which makes it do-able for many classrooms.

I particularly liked their relatively non-judgmental attitude about food choice, especially since they live in Berkeley (epicenter of foodie-ism) and were shopping at the Berkeley Bowl and Adronico’s, my old stomping grounds. In other words, they come from an area that in my experience is very, very judgmental about food choice, yet much of that is left out or reflected upon in a meaningful manner by the filmmakers. They discussed the issues of ‘healthy choice’ within the context of budget constraints in a way that was very accessible and allows for a great deal of classroom discussion, especially since they lay out their own biases verbally so that the viewer can understand how they are thinking through the issues.

A particularly strong scene involved trying to feed a Shabbat guest on a budget, since they made the comment that all people like to have guests and be social, and so it’s important to think about how food poverty affects social opportunities.”

The responses to my post have been interesting, from emails from people who have seen the film (and like it) to a spirited discussion initiated by a fellow who, having seen the short trailer (and only the short trailer), wrote a couple of long emails about how the filmmakers had essentially gotten it all wrong, although bully for the effort. This prompted a civil response from the filmmakers (delivered by an intermediary) to which our fellow responded yet again, with the same basic message. He did mean well, but his response demonstrated just how contentious food issues can be, even for people who more-or-less agree with each other.

The bottom line? This film uses the idea of a low budget (in this case, one derived from food stamp benefits) to explore eating healthy on a small and fixed income. The filmmakers use themselves as guinea pigs and rely on realistic cinema techniques to demonstrate to the viewer how they think through and act upon trying to eat on a restricted budget. They discuss the process with people from the community, lawmakers, and those reliant on food stamps.  Of particular interest to them is how people can eat a healthy diet and remain healthy on such a restricted budget, and they focus on the ugly fact that cheap food is often unhealthy, yet within the budgets of the poor. With this frame they examine school food and the decisions made by school administrators about how to feed children. They are refreshingly free of anger, judgmental attitudes, and smugness throughout the film which is yet another reason that I think it’s an effective teaching tool.

A few of the discussion points that I intend to raise in class after showing this film include:

  • What is a healthy diet? Is their ‘healthy diet’ your ‘healthy diet’?
  • How much do we each spend on food weekly/monthly?
  • How and why is healthy food more expensive than unhealthy food, according to the movie?
  • Do you find that to be the case when you shop?
  • What are the aims of the Food Stamp program?
  • Are families meant to survive on a Food Stamp budget, or are there assumptions built into the calculations that posit other food income as well?
  • Do we as a society, acting through our government, have an ethical responsibility to make sure people can eat? Why or why not?
  • If you were a nutritionist and were advising a diabetic client on Food Stamps what would you suggest he/she eat and why? How would you work out a budget with that client?
  • Do you have the skills to shop and cook as wisely and carefully as Shira and Yoav did?
  • Do you know enough about food and cooking to live on a diet of beans and rice?
  • What kind of knowledge do you need to acquire in order to feel comfortable about planning meals on a small budget?

Obviously, these are just my first thoughts and jottings about how to use the film in teaching. But part of the reason that I think it’s such a valuable film is that I realized that I have NO IDEA what I spend on a weekly or monthly basis for food for my husband and myself. I have a big freezer and tend to plan and buy so that my larder (protein and grains/beans) can feed us for several weeks without shopping; only vegetables and dairy are purchased on a weekly basis (and at a pretty reasonable farmers’ market). My meat is all pastured, as are eggs and dairy, so I know I spend more per pound than most Americans. However, we also eat less meat/dairy than most carnivores so I figure it evens out. And I like rice and beans, and eat that way by preference, while I know that most Americans prefer meat to beans and prepared carbs to simple grains. I do know how to budget, I do know how to cook and I never waste food (because I am really, really cheap), but I am quite sure that eating on a food stamp budget would be difficult indeed.

The other discussion point – and I’m not yet sure how to frame these questions – is tied to the assumptions and contentions about food choice, knowledge and capacities. I am often gobsmacked by the tendency of food people to insist that their way – and only their way – is the good way to eat. Obviously, I like this movie because the filmmakers don’t do that… but the Listserve response has had a wee tinge of that sentiment. Food is so personal and intimate, and choice so tied to identity (especially in our capitalistic society) that people are naturally heavily invested in justifying their choices as ‘good better BEST!’ to themselves and others. But seriously, the vehemence that many bring to this issue baffles me. Somehow, I suspect that this film – and the student response to it – will allow us to discuss this difficult issue in the classroom. And I hope by doing so the students are able to begin to glimpse how their biases channel their beliefs about food and nutriture.

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Filed under anthropology, economics, film, food policy, food security, Food Studies, nutrition, reviews

New York in June! Save the Date!

Global Gateways and Local Connections:

Cities, Agriculture, and the Future of Food Systems

Join us for the Joint 2012 Annual Meetings & Conference of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS), Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), & Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN).

June 20 – 24, 2012

New York University and The New School and – New York City

As increasingly greater portions of the global population shifts towards urban environments, and cities position themselves as crucial hubs not only for food consumption, but also for its production and distribution, it becomes urgent for agriculture to reposition and reaffirm its strategic role in ensuring food security, access to governance, and acceptable livelihoods for all the actors involved. The theme of the conference highlights the need for more equitable and sustainable distribution of power and resources among various stakeholders, including those without a strong voice on the world’s stage, such as the urban and rural poor, farmers, and migrants. In line with the call for sustainable development and green economies at the core of the Rio +20 United Nations gathering, the conference offers an opportunity for scholars, students, activists, farmers, practitioners, and concerned citizens to come together and explore innovative solutions and alternative models for creative, culturally viable, and environmentally sound integration of urban and rural food systems.

New York University and The New School have been at the forefront of the research, methodologies, and pedagogies that have shaped Food Studies, and have explored creative venues of public engagement to establish vital connections and a constructive dialogue between academia, the local communities, and the larger debates at the national and global level. We welcome not only scholarly sessions, but also encourage activists, government staff, farmers, and practitioners in food and agricultural systems to participate. Organizations, businesses, agencies, and publishers may also participate as exhibitors.

The conference website will be available soon, with more information, registration, and online submission of abstracts.

Organizer and Local Arrangements:

Jennifer Berg, New York University, jennifer.berg@nyu.edu

Fabio Parasecoli, The New School, parasecf@newschool.edu

Although our organizations encourage a broad spectrum of topics at our conferences, we especially encourage papers, posters, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops that speak directly to the theme. We welcome not only academic sessions, but also strongly encourage activists, government staff, and those with practical knowledge of food and agricultural systems to participate. We welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

Art, Media, & Literary Analyses

Innovation & Development

Culture & Cultural Geography

Environment & Climate Change

Agroecology & Conservation

Ethics & Philosophy

Food Safety & Risk

Gender & Ethnicity

Globalization

History

Inequality, Access, Security & Justice

Indigenous Knowledge, Cultural Heritage and Local Traditions

Local Food Systems

Pedagogy

Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts

Trade and Legal Issues

Research Methods, Practices & Issues

Social Action & Social Movements

Sustainability

Science & Technologies

Tours (tentative)

New York City has historically been the crucible for culinary traditions all over the world, social and political experimentation, innovative practices and an extremely vibrant restaurant scene. Our tentative plans include the following half- and full -day tours:

# 7 train– Ride the iconic #7 train through Queens and experience the aromas and tastes of the most ethnically diverse county in the United States (full day)

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture– Take an air conditioned bus to Westchester County for a full day private guided tour of the 80 acre farm and enjoy a Dan Barber created lunch (full day)

Coney Island and Brighton Beach– Ride the elevated BMT subway to Brighton Beach for a guided walking tour of “Little Odessa”, NYC’s largest Russian community.  Enjoy breakfast picnic on the beach and then a walk along the boardwalk to Coney Island for rides, amusements and Nathan’s Hot Dogs (full day)

Rediscovering Red Hook – Enjoy  a walking tour of Added Value, New York’s original “asphalt garden”  and then discussion and talk with founder, Ian Marvey.  We’ll have a shopping spree at the 52,000 square foot Fairway market and picnic on the docks overlooking the Statue of Liberty.  Return to Manhattan in the Water Taxi (full day)

East New York Farms and Community Gardens Take the subway out to the economically-challenged community of East New York, Brooklyn and visit the non-profit farm and neighboring community gardens ( half day afternoon)

Chocolate Tour– Join a chocolate historian on a subway ride out to Brooklyn to experience 3 varying chocolate producers: Mast brothers, Jo Mart and Tumbador- Chocolate tastings and demos (full day)

Williamsburg Hipster– This is not the Williamsburg your grandparents knew- Ride the short L train to Bedford Avenue and explore artisanal food production and retail marketing including cheese, chocolate, pickles and charcuterie (half day- afternoon)

Roof Top Farms– travel via subway to two significant urban farms:  Eagle Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City, Queens- lunch and talk at Roberta’s (full day)

Brooklyn Composting– Join our very own ASFS President, and Master Composter Annie Hauck-Lawson for half day foray into urban composting (half day).

Central Park Foraging– Rise early for a morning forage through Central park and learn about the edible flora and fauna secretly tucked within Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s 843 acre masterpiece (half day morning)

New York Public Library– Enjoy a private guided tour with Rebecca Federman, director of the expansive Culinary Collection at the New York Public Library’s main research branch (half day- afternoon)

Metropolitan Museum of Art– Join an art historian for a half day tour of food-centered work in the world-renowned metropolitan Museum (half day afternoon)

Fermenting and Distilling in Brooklyn – Enjoy a Brooklyn day with liquid on your mind.  Visit several beer, wine, and spirits’ producers for talks, tastings and demos (full day)

Hunts Point Terminal Market– Ride a private bus to Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx , the world’s largest wholesale market for a private tour through the 60 acre complex (half day)

Queens Farm Museum– Ride an air conditioned bus to the 47 acre non-profit Queens Farm Museum , the longest continuously farmed land in New York State (half day)

Governor’s Island – Take the ferry to a 172 acre island in the middle of New York Harbor between Manhattan and Brooklyn – Bicycle tour through the island, stopping at historical markers along the way –picnic lunch included (pending weekday availability – full day)

Taco Crawl in Sunset Park, Brooklyn– Take the subway to Sunset Park, New York- home to thousands of immigrants from Puebla, Mexico. Visit bodegas, tortillerias, and taco stands (half day)

posted by David Beriss

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Food and Agriculture Under the Big Sky

Another day, another opportunity to travel, present your research, meet interesting people…and have a few great meals with them.  This one is in Montana, a dramatically beautiful state.   More importantly, the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition is a sponsor of this event.  Which is very nearly a guarantee of a good time!  Seriously: I have been to a few of these conferences and highly recommend them.  It is interdisciplinary, so you get to hear from and meet all sorts of people engaged in food studies, not just anthropologists.  It is big enough to be quite diverse, but small enough to facilitate great networking.  And there usually are some great opportunities to eat.  I have copied the main call for papers below.  Note that the deadline for submissions is coming up very soon: February 11, 2011. Do not hesitate, get your ideas together quickly.  Follow the links below for more information.

Announcing the Joint 2011 Annual Meetings of the

Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS),

Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS),

& Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

June 9 – 12, 2011

University of Montana – Missoula

Food and Agriculture Under the Big Sky

The conference theme acknowledges the site for the meetings in Montana, which is known as Big Sky Country because of its expansive landscapes dotted with working farms, ranches, forests, and wild areas.  The Big Sky also encompasses the broader global context linking food and agricultural systems around the world.  In many ways, Montana shares characteristics with rural areas elsewhere.  In their struggle for sustainable livelihoods and food security, farmers, ranchers, and their communities are challenged by concentration of economic power and the vagaries of global markets.   Yet, like in many other areas, Montanans are cultivating place-based innovations in food, farming and conservation.  Thus, on the one hand, the industrialization, concentration, and globalization of the dominant food system profoundly influence how food is produced, processed, and consumed.  On the other hand, there are also spaces of resistance and creativity in which people attempt to govern and shape their relationships with food and agricultural systems.

Acknowledging these strategies for transformation, the 2011 theme highlights people, partnerships and policies.  At the core of efforts to grow innovative food and agriculture systems are talented and dedicated individuals.  Making effective collective action possible, partnerships honor connections among people and organizations across public and private sectors.  Lastly, attention to policies signals the broader context of government, trade, and legal agreements that shape local, regional, national, and global food and agricultural politics and practices.   Join us under the Big Sky to explore the possibilities and strategies for change.

Although our organizations encourage a broad spectrum of topics at our conferences, we especially encourage papers, posters, panel sessions, roundtables, and workshops that speak directly to the theme.  We welcome not only academic sessions, but also strongly encourage activists, government staff, and those with practical knowledge of food and agricultural systems to participate.   We welcome submissions on all aspects of food, nutrition, and agriculture, including those related to:

  • Agroecology & Conservation
  • Art, Media, & Literary Analyses
  • Change & Development
  • Culture & Cultural Geography
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Ethics & Philosophy
  • Food Safety & Risk
  • Gender & Ethnicity
  • Globalization
  • History
  • Inequality, Access, Security & Justice
  • Knowledge
  • Local Food Systems
  • Pedagogy
  • Politics, Policies & Governance in National & Global Contexts
  • Research Methods, Practices & Issues
  • Social Action & Social Movements
  • Sustainability
  • Science & Technologies

Click here for the main conference web site and here for abstract submission information.

Posted by David Beriss

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Filed under anthropology, Call for Papers, SAFN Member Research

Food Anthropology in Montreal!

Call for Papers: Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition 

Your opportunity to present at the 110th American Anthropological Association  annual meeting in Montréal, November 16-20, 2010

The theme of this year’s meeting is ”Traces, Tidemarks and Legacies”. The executive committee asks us to reflect on these concepts and process of how differences are made, marked, removed, maintained and altered. The membership of SAFN is well-positioned to take a leading role in addressing this theme, given both the universality and malleability of food beliefs, nutritional practices, and resultant health and disease. As a truly interdisciplinary group of scholars within anthropology, the SAFN membership is in a unique position to demonstrate how anthropology’s holistic perspective remains a powerful tool for both understanding and tackling the global issue of “Traces, Tidemarks, and Legacies”. For more information about the national meeting, including elaboration of the theme and important dates, see the AAA meetings web site.

There are three types of sessions for papers and posters: (1) Invited, (2) Volunteered, and (3) AAA Public Policy Forums. While many authors have historically preferred the paper format, the major advantage of presenting a poster over a paper is that instead of 15 minutes of fame, you get an hour and half, during which time you can discuss and debate your findings and ideas.

If you are interested in having an Invited session, please send your proposals to Sera Young (sly3@cornell.edu) no later than March 13; earlier is better. You must also submit your proposed session on the AAA meeting website by then. Session proposals should include a session abstract (250 words) and the names and details (institution, title) of all co-authors. Invited sessions are generally cutting-edge, directly related to the meeting theme, or cross sub-disciplines, i.e. they have broader appeal. One way to increase your and our presence at the meetings is to have a co-sponsored invited session between SAFN and another sub-discipline.  Invited time is shared with the other sub-discipline and the session is double-indexed. Volunteered sessions are comprised of individually submitted papers or posters that are put together based on some common theme as well as sessions proposed as invited that were not selected as such. These must be submitted via the AAA website by April 15. AAA Public Policy Forums are reviewed by the AAA Committee on Public Policy, the deadline for those is March 15. If you’d like to discuss ideas for sessions and/or papers, feel free to contact the 2011 Program Chair, Sera Young (sly3@cornell.edu, 607-351-0172).

AAA is increasingly open to innovative presentation styles, including round table discussions, meet the author, panel discussions and poster sessions. All of these are submitted through the AAA registration website.
We look forward to seeing the fruits of your fascinating research!

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Filed under AAA 2011 Montreal, Announcements, anthropology, Call for Papers, SAFN Member Research