Category Archives: information

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Grad (and a few other) programs for food studies

world map made from spicesFor those getting close to the “what’s next?” moment of graduation, here’s a good recent list of food studies graduate programs in the US and elsewhere, with a few other programs thrown in for good measure. Thanks to the Association for the Study of Food and Society for this one.

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Could US cities source all their food more locally?

A new study from researchers at the Friedman School asks which US cities could potentially feed themselves with food produced within about 150 miles.

It’s a good starting-point for a very complicated calculus. It raises questions about what people would–and perhaps should–be eating (the study considered seven different types from the meat-heavy “Standard American Diet” to a vegan diet) and what kind of cultivation and places are considered “agricultural.” The study doesn’t seem to incorporate the kinds of very small-scale and non-land-intensive types of production we increasingly see in urban and peri-urban places, which can fill important niches for many kinds of urban eaters.

So like all broad-brush studies of the US food system, this one invites a lot of further thought. Eaters and planners in the northeast, though, should definitely be taking note!

 

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Eat your veggies!

Here’s some guidance and good advice from Patti Klos, Director of Dining and Business Services, as we start into this unusual semester.

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#MeToo in the food industry

Recent #MeToo protests at McDonald’s followed earlier actions drawing attention to living-wage issues in the fast food sector.

From McDonald’s to the kitchens of fine dining restaurants, there is a lot of discussion in the food world about sexual harassment in the workplace. Hundreds of McDonald’s employees left their positions to protest outside of the company’s headquarters in Chicago in early September, uncovering a long history of sexual harassment in McDonald’s establishments. Some survivors even moved to file charges against the company.

The #MeToo movement in the food industry is not just in fast food. Stories have emerged in the past two years of harassment within fine dining kitchens and established restaurant groups. From Mario Batali and John Beck to Ken Friedman, former culinary titans have been exposed for sexually harassing their female employees.

Even closer to home, Tufts Dining workers, who voted to form a union last year and are in the process of negotiating their first contract with the administration, have spoken out about harassment as well. Join the Tufts Dining Action Coalition and Action for Sexual Assault Prevention this Friday, November 2, to stand in solidarity with Tufts Dining workers and hear their stories. 

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Climate change and food at the ballot box

Graphic made by the San Diego Food System Alliance illustrating how farming methods could potentially help mitigate the effects of climate change

While most of us at Tufts are not farmers or policy makers, climate change affects all of us in the present and the future. We can create change by voting for individuals who prioritize the protection of the planet and all of its inhabitants. Recent news only underscores the importance of voting with the environment in mind.


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A (deep) look into Somerville’s food system

How do Somervillians eat?  What does our local food system look like? Where are the gaps? And, how can we do better? This past summer, the city of Somerville, through its initiative Shape Up Somerville along with the Somerville Food Security Coalition, published a Community Food System Assessment that takes a deep dive into all things food in one of our local host communities. The assessment looks through the lens of both food security and consumer practices and gives suggestions for plausible steps that can be taken to mend gaps. Also, check out pages 71-75 to see the work of some Environmental Studies Tufts students and the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative!

 

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What’s for Lunch?

 

How do we improve school food when processed food products still hold a monopoly on the lunch line? Lisa Held from Civil Eats investigates how school food reformers are dealing with the presence of packaged junk foods and a lack of adequate funding for school meals. In the wake of President Obama’s Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, processed food companies have remade many products to meet school food standards. Learn more about how Big Food, class dynamics, food access and political policy affect how and what kids eat in school.

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Did you know there’s a student garden at Tufts?

The student garden between Latin Way and Harleston Hall is one of the better-kept secrets about the Tufts campus! The garden is still pretty young (here’s a blog post about how it emerged from a Fall 2010 Ex College course on sustainable agriculture) and the level of activity varies from year to year, depending on who’s involved at a given moment. Lately it’s been looking extremely healthy, with a bumper crop of veggies as we head into the 2018 harvest season. read more »

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Swallowing chocolate studies

An article this week in The Guardian explores changing health claims about the benefits of eating chocolate and how media and consumers alike tend to latch onto the latest hopeful-sounding study, even the least conclusive (what Marion Nestle has called “nutrifluff”).

There are good questions here about how science finds its way into the news, and even about how science finds its way into the scientific literature. Planet Money recently asked some of the same questions and followed a scientific experiment that tried to get at some of the root issues.

Prof. Julie Guthman, keynote speaker at next week’s Tufts Food Systems Symposium, has written very widely about these issues, particularly as they relate to the “obesity epidemic” and the surprisingly assailable assumptions that it rests on. You’ll be able to hear her talk in person if you’ve registered for the symposium already; if not, there will be a livestream that you can access here.

 

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A pretty low grade for US food sustainability

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, a consulting group affiliated with The Economist newspaper, has released a new international scorecard based on a number of metrics focusing on sustainability, waste, and equity.

By these measures, the US ranks in the third quartile, well below most of its industrialized “peer” nations. You can find the whole report here, and see the infographic map here.