(Un)Fair Trade: Ethical Concerns of Cocoa Production in West Africa
by Kristin Kobb
West African cocoa production, which provides approximately seventy percent of the world’s cocoa supply, is an industry rife with ethical issues. The predominantly small-scale, family-run farms often deal with issues such as hazardous working conditions, child labor, poverty and illiteracy, lack of access to the world market, outdated agricultural practices, and ecological concerns, such as soil depletion, pest, and disease of cocoa trees. To keep up with the world’s insatiable taste for chocolate, it is critical that small scale cocoa farmers and their communities are empowered to improve the economic and environmental sustainability and the social issues currently surrounding cocoa production.
Foodways and Identity: Narratives of Life History Told Through Family Recipes
by Tina Grace
Our foodways are an important marker of our identity, they are as much a marker of our identity, as is language and culture. Food signifies one’s beliefs, values, heritage, and traditions. From everyday meals to celebration feasts to holiday fare, food is celebrated, often shared, and used as a tool in communication. Because our culinary knowledge is learned early in life through the teaching process within family foodways, more than just recipes are shared in this transmission of knowledge.
Narratives of life histories are also transferred, informing meaning in family relationships. It is precisely this process that cements food as an integral part of identity development. Focusing on the personal histories of the women in my own immediate and extended family, this study is contextualized through reproducing two of my family’s traditional recipes: Spaghetti and Meatballs and Pizza. Examining my own family history and foodways through an anthropological lens show the collective process and conviviality of producing and consuming food through traditional family foodways has a greater impact in meaning making and identity formation
Japanese Gastro Tourism and the Promotion of Local Food Ways
by Veronica Newland
Japan is often thought of as culturally and genetically homogenous. Yet, someareas of the countryhave had more contact with the outside world, while other areas remain nearly unchanged in comparison. The same goes for Japanese food. Even prior to the twenty century, Japan has adopted a variety of western food into its own culinary repertoireand before that, a number of Chinese and Korean dishes reached japan.Awide variety of foods and food practices fall under the umbrella of Japanese cuisine. In addition, each region and prefecture of Japan seem to have their own local specialties and varieties ofpopular dishes. This is not a unique phenomenon. Similar to how the U.S. state of Idaho is known for potato productionand Vermont for maple syrup, Japan’s Aomori prefecture is known for apples. Food products that originate or boast flavors from specific areas of Japan are generally valued by consumers.
The Influence of Government Policies in Connection with World Hunger
by Tehya Henry
Throughout time, hunger has been an issue spanning across countless places. However, most people believe that this is due to a lack of food production. But, when 70% of food produced is being thrown away or expiring because it has gone bad, how is it that not enough food is being made? Government policy has affected food distribution and production since becoming involved in the early 1940's. The idea of increasing production and distribution through the creation of public goods has been the primary goal of government with trade, however, that idealistic goal has disappeared gradually overtime due to different policymakers and "bigwigs" making decisions based on personal goals and beliefs. My project focuses on going behind the scene in government policy and how these rules affect food distribution locally, regionally, and globally.
For more information on food law and policy, read: Ziegler, Jean. 2013. Betting on Famine: Why the World Still Goes Hungry. New York: The New York Press.
Gender in The Kitchen: A Closer Look at American Food Consumption Processes
by Anna Darr
Anthropologists are interested in the fascinating concept of making the familiar seem strange and the strange seem familiar. Culture is one of the many ways in which this process is completed. Therefore, it is important to examine the norms, customs,and traditions of one’s own culture. American culture is in and of itself an incomprehensibly broad term. However, a more transparent concept for most people living within American culture is gender roles in relation to the kitchen. Gender is a social concept that acts as a guideline for the lives individuals will lead. Within the United States, and throughout the world, gender has been the basis of a complex system of power known as the patriarchy. Broadly speaking, there are current gender roles taking place in many American kitchens due to a ripple effect from a distant, and not so distant, history in which women’s lives were dictated by the patriarchy. One of the primary components of being a women was, and is, her relationship with the process of food consumption as a whole. This relationship includes purchasing, preparing, serving, and cleaning as well as the mental load that goes into feeding oneself and others.
For Further Reading: Beagan, Brenda, Gwen E. Chapman, Andrea D'Sylva and B. Raewyn Bassett. 2008. “'It's Just Easier for Me to Do It': Rationalizing the Family Division of Foodwork.” Sociology 42 (no. 4), 653–671.
New Agricultural Methods
by Treyvez Russell
Fast Food Culture in China
by Rene Kane
In the past few decades, transitional countries like China have experienced a rapid cultural change due to globalization and accelerated economic development. People’s lifestyles continuously transform to reflect the shifting demands of the growing industrialized society, including faster pace of work and reduced time for leisure. The dramatic increase in Chinese households’income, as well as access to a variety of food choices has prompted the shift in traditional culinary culture towards a more westernized approach with its high-fat, high-energy foods and a less conscious consumption. The fast food sector in China is growing at unprecedented rates, expanding mainly in urban areas and replacing the traditional full-service restaurants.
Additionally, there is a significant variation in fast food offerings compared to both their original Western influences and their Chinese competitors. With such abundance of convenient food choices, even traditionalist countries like China where food consumption is tightly intertwined with cultural symbolism and historical meaning succumb to adapting and transforming their traditions. Recently, substantial public concern emerged regarding the impact of the expanding fast food sector on the country, specifically its correlation with the increased prevalence of public health issues and the growing disregard for China’s traditional culinary heritage. While the health concerns are supported by a vast body of research, the cultural impact is less evident. Moreover, some of the effects of the fast food sector development on the modern Chinese society are not only positive, but necessary for its ongoing global advancement.
For Further Reading: Yan, Yunxiang. 2013. "Of Hamburger and Social Space: Consuming Mcdonald's in Beijing". In Food and Culture: A Reader, 3rd ed., edited by Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik, 80-103. New York: Routledge.
All Units: Health is Advised,Proceed with Caution
by Evan Drinkall
Public Health in the work place has been a hot topic in recent news, and law enforcement agencies are no exception. My research looks at reasons why police officers may not be as healthy as they should and what external or internal factors contribute. I conducted first-hand participant-observation with a small local police department, gathering information about habitual behavior and daily routines in the lives of graveyard shift law enforcers. My work examines through primary and secondary research the relationship between stress, overeating, and poor eating on the job.
Created with images by Roderico Y. Díaz - "Corn seeds" • Madeline Chera - "IUSB and Food & Culture" • DEZALB - "ecuador guyayaquil pods chocolate culture cocoa ecuador" • skeeze - "tamales food mexican" • Tina Grace - "Spaghetti and Meatballs" • Tina Grace - "Pizza" • Agathe Marty - "Takoyaki in Osaka, Japan" • Atlantios - "homeless beggar poverty" • Richard Gatley - "untitled image" • Alyson McPhee - "Cilantro" • sasint - "conservatory agriculture aquaculture" • ulleo - "wheat wheat field cereals" • perusona1004 - "paprika harvest smart farm" • ål nik - "Burger time" • Wow_Pho - "food japanese asian" • Jordan - "Making Rounds" • Isaiah Rustad - "untitled image"