Are you unable to attend one of the scheduled book discussions but want to get involved in the conversation?
Want to connect with people from all over the UW campus and the greater Madison community?
Join us in a virtual book discussion on the Food For Thought Posts in the Go Big Read Blog!
Each week, we will be posing a new topic for discussion on the blog, and followers are encouraged to participate by responding in the comment section below each post. Feel free to use and expand on these questions in your own book discussions. Have a great idea for discussion topic? Let us know! Contact the Go Big Read Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food For Thought: Topic for Discussion Week of September 21, 2009
Has Pollan changed the way you think about food? If so, how?
“Community gardens provide numerous benefits including opportunities for local food production, resource conservation, and neighborhood beautification,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“But they also promote family and community interaction and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Each of these benefits is something we can and should strive for.”
Books, documents & theses:
From the “War on Poverty” to new farmers’ markets, a food expert tackles America’s dangerous dietary split. An excerpt from Mark Winne’s new book, Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty.
The Wisconsin Book Festival, in partnership with the Aldo Leopold Foundation, has announced that Wendell Berry will join the festival as one of its featured speakers. While the specific date and venue for his presentation have yet to be posted, do mark your calendars for the festival, October 7-11, 2009.
Michael Pollan draws inspiration from Berry, citing him in several passages from In Defense of Food. Texts cited include “The Pleasures of Eating” in What Are People For?: Essays* and The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture.
Many of Wendell Berry’s essays, novels and poetry can be found in campus library collections. Speak with your librarians for assistance.
I was delighted to observe two women on my evening bus, one with title in hand, discussing In Defense of Food. Seeing as I was seated nearby, I was able to catch snatches from their conversation–that being an animated appraisal of Pollan’s adage to ‘not eat anything one’s great-grandmother would not recognize as food’ (Section III, Chapter Two). This suggestion from the text led them to share memories of family meals and food products available, then and now.
Of course, it resonates with me, too. Pastured as I was between my parents’ rural homestead and my grandparents’ farm, I was an equal opportunity diner drifting between whichever house was offering the best meal. My grandmother’s tour de force, though, was noon-lunch, and I was easily on hand. Given the enormous garden she cultivated, this noon-lunch always featured an abundance of whole foods. And, presentation mattered, with each course and side requiring its dedicated dishware and service. Flowers, too, with a heady fragrance (lilacs and peonies) festooned the table…
I now pause in my narrative and rambling nostalgia, to ask this blog readership…what are your food memories?
Raj Patel’s book and related blog. Patel has worked for the UN, World Bank and WTO, and currently works a researcher for the Land Action Network and policy analyst for Food First. His thoughts on food, hunger, and globalization have appeared in a number of US and international news sources, including the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian.
Listen to an interview with Patel on Democracy Now from April 2008.
By Alexis Madrigal, Wired
Silicon Valley thinks the internet can transform anything from car sales to anonymous sex, but the way Americans grow and buy food is rooted in ancient, offline systems. Now, a Bay Area startup has launched a service to make it easier and cheaper for restaurants to buy food from small, local farms. With a suite of mobile apps for use in restaurants and on farms, FarmsReach wants to create an online food marketplace that would directly connect farms with restaurants.
Hungry for Change?
“In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA….Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here…”
By Dave M. Matthews
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — On a plot of soil, nestled against the backdrop of skyscrapers in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, a group of residents are turning a lack of access to fresh produce into a revival of old traditions and self-empowerment.http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/06/29/bia.urban.farming/index.html
In “Out of the Office: Fast Bikes, Slow Food, and the Workplace Wars” (New Yorker June 22, 2009), Kalefah Sanneh discusses a number of books that signal an “artisanal revival,” in the way people eat and work, linking the popularization of the trend to the economic downturn. Sanneh says, “this artisanal revival has been particularly pronounced among foodies, thanks in part to the writer Michael Pollan, who helped popularize an American variant of the Italian culinary-agrarian movement known as Slow Food. In ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ and ‘In Defense of Food,” Pollan surveyed the excesses of the ‘industrial food chain’ and paid thoughtful tribute to small farms and local produce.” Sanneh points out that, “the genius of this loosely organized movement is that it’s not a labor movement; it’s a consumer movement.”