Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Notes Towards Day 5

Notes towards Day 5 of Food for Thought

I. "Fussiness about food is a normal part of a child’s development. Young children are naturally neophobic — they have a distrust of the new." (NYTimes on "6 Food Mistakes Parents Make")
Do you think that's the case? Was it the case, in your case?

II. Last Thursday, lively, v. enjoyable debate between "Singer" and "Pollan"
will be debates upcoming for the presidential election

let's talk about what happens in a debate....
can we move beyond debating
(=trying to win an argument/buttress your own point?)

what did you learn from the "other guy"?
any insights in how to move beyond the impasse
(i.e. not beat him, but join him?
construct a new position neither of you could arrive @ alone?

(ex: Singer as quoted by Rivkin: "My interest is in...whatever works best.
If it is harder to move people on ethical grounds...
I'm all for the [humane] substitute" (i.e. manufactured meat!)

Cf. Social Science Center's Fall Series on "UNDERSTANDING THE 2008 ELECTIONS"
Y'day, Bob Washington and Marc Ross on "Obama, Race and the Election":
three orientations in black politics:
1) ethnic (civil rights: aimed @ black community, not able to go national)
2) outlier (black conservatives in think tanks, media, academia, without a base in the black community)
3) melder (using cultural capital to go beyond the civil rights legacy and reach middle class white voters)
--this the only effective strategy, to frame black problems universally
Obama is avoiding a race-specific agency, enlarging the issues to address context of class
(he knows, but won't highlight, problems in inner cities, knowing he can't afford the old strategy)
fear is that his election will provide a rational for dismantling social justice programs

III. Rivkin's two NYTimes essays shifts focus to planetary limits:
greenhouse-gas emissions, saving the climate: energy issue
(for most, another issue: saving nature of a place, community)
one option In Vitro Meat consortium: provide protein technologically
moving out of poverty--> up the protein ladder

IV. Write for 5 minutes in response to his final line
(this is also your posting question for this week...):
"What do you think? Can we change human nature? Should we?"
And: what would need to happen,
for you to feel that you could/should/must intervene to change others' perspectives?
(a theme last don't force your beliefs on others....
even in times of genocide??
I was thinking about living in Germany, or Rwanda, or Kosovo....)

V. Papers to return
general patterns: melodrama of finding out the truth! behind! yr. family meal
(didn't trust it...overwritten; focused on self-revelation
(what's the larger point? why should we care that your milk
doesn't come from where you thought....?)
also not documented: slandering local markets w/out evidence

read two examples: one guilt-inducing, one guilt-refusing--
talk about different ways of constructing an argument

VI. next assignment
(originally was: how far can you take this?
analyze global environmental dimensions of your family meal;
still possible, if you'd like (more research/calculation always possible:
how much fuel is used? ex. Ilana re: Tyson's Chickens-->
"a single driver can be expected to have 15,500 loads per week
and up to 2,563 miles weekly per truck. This burns who knows how much
fossil get the chickn from the warehouse to your table."
Could you figure that out? How?)

Alternatively/preferably, move on to your new life:
How are you eating differently away from home?
What does that look like/cost?
How might you research BMC's food supply....?
Who could you talk to?
Who among you works for Dining Services?
how advertised? let's look @
what are the key words used here?
how tasty? how costly? how local? how improvable,
and on what axes, in accord w/ what values?
how provide meals beyond-the-family-dinner-table?
what values should be in play on campus?
how important is organic? local? sustainable? CHOICE????
which of the topics @
would you like to research? how would you??

  • Annual Local Food Event
  • Local Produce
  • Organic Offerings
  • Recycling
  • Bio-degradable Takeout
  • Fair Trade Coffees and TeasLiving Wage
  • Student Organizations
  • Philabundance 
  • Waste Oil Pickup
  • Cage-free eggs
  • Food waste composting program
  • Additional local foods all year round

VII. Reading for Thursday also quite short; two more NYTimes articles:
environmental cost of shipping groceries around the world
& backlash to too much information/too much education??