CSA’s (community supported agriculture) are small farms that offer “shares” in their harvest. Members pay a set fee for a certain number of months and then receive a portion, usually on a weekly basis, of whatever the farm produces during that time. This way, the farmers have a guaranteed income, and customers share the risks facing all farmers–bad weather, poor growing conditions, unexpected emergencies, and natural disasters. For more information on CSAs, view the short documentary video produced by the Center (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rED52iZeaU) and the accompanying discussion guide.
Composting & Culture
Composting is the process of turning discarded food and plants into something usable, “healthy dirt” that nourishes the soil for growing plants. It offers a way to recycle food rather than add to heaps of trash.
Composting also offers connections—to the environment, the food system, our own food habits, the places we inhabit, and the cultures surrounding our food. Through composting, we can recognize these connections as well as create some excellent gardening materials!
The Center developed a curriculum project on composting that teaches about the connections of composting to food systems and food cultures–along with how to compost. See the Center Projects for the documentary video and activity guide.
Technology is a double-edged sword, both a blessing and a curse. That’s true of this website as well as of the current state of food. Industrial agriculture developed out of humankind’s attempts to tame nature into guaranteeing a sufficient supply of food. Human inventions—technology—came up with ways to circumvent the natural cycles of growth and the seasons as well as the unexpected and harsh turns of nature—storms, droughts, floods, blights, and so on. For a variety of reasons, nature came to be seen as the enemy, and technology the savior, the voice of reason and logic, and the reliable, dependable path. American society, though, with its optimistic belief in the human capacity for invention, allowed technology to take over our respect for nature, and, partly because it was more profitable, industrialization took over every aspect of our food system and our food culture.
Part of the Center’s mission is to explore how technology offers the potential to reconnect us with our food—and through food, with our pasts, places, and other people. We point out the ways in which the industrial food system has hindered this connectedness of food, but we try to place that system within historical frameworks, so that we can understand how and why it developed—and better understand our place as individuals within that system. Change, if needed, has to occur at both a systemic level and at the level of the individual making choices on a daily basis.
All of this is a long explanation for why the Center website has been in transition since March of 2015. Technology enabled its original creation, but technology also allowed robot calls to break into the site, using it to advertise a variety of products, from insurance contracts to Russian escort services. The site was therefore shut down and transitioned to a new host server. It also had to be rebuilt and now has a new look and some new features. Readers can sign up for a monthly newsletter, and some of the posts will allow for comments and questions.
We hope that the new technology will help us reconnect with our readers! Welcome back!
Lucy M. Long
The Center for Food and Culture believes that Food Connects Us All, and that we need to nourish connections to and through food. We do that by:
- providing information and resources on all aspects of food on our website;
- developing educational materials and publications available through our website;
- conducting projects, workshops, and presentations about food.
Several things about us:
We approach food as something that is much more than just “stuff to eat.” It is a realm of experience and activity that is shaped by history and the physical environment, but also carries individual memories, interests, and personalities. It is interwoven into all aspects of our lives, and our choices about food affect not only ourselves, but also other people and the earth.
Recognizing the complexity of both food and culture, we offer ways to look at issues around food, and provide resources to the variety of perspectives on those issues.