Food in our Lives

Thursday 16th September, 1-3pm

Venue: MB517, Aston University           Booking

Explore some of the meanings we attach to food and the growing role of food in a geographical setting as part of culture, commerce and environment.

The idea that we are what we eat goes back to the beginnings of Western and Asian medicine. Discover the surprising cultural and historical perspectives on the links between food and medicine, industrial science, and sustainability.

William Buckland

William Buckland

Dr David Allan Feller, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge – William Buckland’s oral history of deep time, or, things that made him go mmmmmmmmmm

Perhaps because his fellow naturalists thought William Buckland’s personal habits a bit ‘showy’ for a professional, important aspects of Buckland’s fieldwork methodology have been labeled ‘eccentric’ and not taken seriously.  The best example of this is Buckland’s zoophagy. Buckland’s eccentric eating habits included a vow to sample every member of the animal kingdom.  In Buckland’s kitchen, friends could expect to dine on all manner of things, from toasted mice to roasted rhino.  Was Buckland’s interesting culinary desires the expression of some greater ‘scientific’ inquiry?  In his lectures at Oxford, Buckland taught that the world was ‘ruled by the stomach’, and so from that philosophy we may begin to look at just what eating had to do with Buckland’s natural history and his theories of the earth’s origin.

Dr Sally Horrocks, Historical Studies, University of Leicester – Pioneers of food science: chemists and chocolate in interwar Britain

During the interwar years scientists working for Britain’s leading chocolate manufacturers developed many new products such as the Aero and modified the production processes of existing lines including Cadburys Dairy Milk. Their efforts contributed significantly to a decline in the relative cost of chocolate and ensured that scientists in this industry were among the pioneers of food science.

Dr Julie Newton, BRASS, Cardiff University – Delivering sustainable communities: reconnecting communities through local food

Community resilience has received much attention within academia and policy in relation to debates on developing and maintaining sustainable rural communities. What does this involve and how can communities practically achieve and sustain resilience on the ground? We explore these issues in the context of local food by focusing on the concept of a community food hub. Community food hubs are increasingly being employed by sustainability advocates as a model for coordinating the supply of food from groups of local producers to consumers as one mechanism for creating more resilient communities. As well as reducing food miles and providing new economic opportunities, food hubs can also be used to promote connections between consumers and adjacent productive spaces. We explore how these connections are built, but also the challenges which they create for the groups of community activists responsible for their management. We take as a case study a pioneering new community food hub called Stroudco. A key aim of Stroudco is to build resilience by encouraging local people to be responsible for and participate in their own local food system. It is located in Stroud, a market town which contains a dynamic and innovative core of committed activists surrounded by a sizable and diverse ‘indifferent’ population. The case of Stroudco provides an ideal opportunity to explore issues of community resilience and their relevance to sustainability in the context of local food networks.

Case study of Stroudco at BRASS

Stroudco on Youtube

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