This class sold me on the name alone. However, many friends and acquaintances I encountered throughout the semester didn’t have the slightest idea what food activism was or what I was studying. For our final paper, we had to come up with our own definition of food activism, so this is what I came up with…
Food activism: engaging in an action or adopting a behavior or set of behaviors that challenges a perceived wrong in the current food system, with the intent to create or be a part of positive structural change.
Readings covered all sorts of alternative food systems, from CSAs and farmers markets, to urban homesteading, food access projects, and cooperatives. While food activism is an area of interest of mine, this was no doubt one of the most time consuming classes I have taken in the gastronomy program thus far. The main assignment was to conduct an ethnographic research project studying food activism, and much to my surprise, the guidelines for the project were even more rigorous than that of the food anthropology class.
The class was taught by Cristina Grasseni, a visiting lecturer (from Italy!) for the Gastronomy program. For anyone looking to learn more about food activism, I highly recommend any and all of the books pictured above.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo, image via Radcliffe Institute