Thursday, December 17, 2009

Food For Thought: Weekly Online Book Discussion

Join our virtual book discussion!

Each week, we will post a new topic for discussion on the blog, and followers are encouraged to participate by responding in the comment section below each post.

Feel free to use and expand on these questions in your own book discussions.

Have a great idea for discussion topic? Let us know! Contact the Go Big Read Program at gobigread@library.wisc.edu.

Food For Thought: Topic for Discussion Week of December 14, 2009:

Pollan himself is an optimist. He believes the possibilities for eating local, organic food are the best they’ve been in quite some time.

Can you take the opposite position?

What would make this style of eating not do-able for someone?


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finished with Your Copy of the Book?

Are you finished reading and using this year's Go Big Read book: In Defense of Food?

If so, please feel free to donate it to be redistributed to students for classroom use in the spring or for another educational purposes in the community.

Your copy can be returned in any campus library drop slot.

Please email the program if you have any questions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today at 4pm! Reverse-Engineering Terroir: Locating the Value of American Artisanal Cheese

From the Center for the Humanities...

Heather Paxson
Associate Professor of Anthropology, MIT

Reverse-Engineering Terroir: Locating the Value of American Artisan Cheese

December 10, 2009 @ 4:00 pm
University Club Building, Room 313
This event is one of the WIH Biopolitics Symposia events.

Initially applied to wine, the French notion of terroir, loosely translated as the taste of place, has long been a value-adding label bestowing distinction. Recently, American artisan cheesemakers have been experimenting with "translating terroir" to reveal the range of values — agrarian, environmental, social, gastronomic — that they believe constitute their cheese and distinguish artisan from commodity production. Some domestic cheesemakers are self-consciously working to reverse-engineer terroir: developing cheeses and natural-cultural landscapes that are well suited to one another. More than approaching terroir as a descriptive label to characterize how distinctive tastes express valued characteristics of place, these rural entrepreneurs approach terroir prescriptively, as a model for practice that might create place through environmental stewardship and rural economic revitalization. U.S. terroir talk reveals attempts to reconcile the economic and socio-moral values that producers invest in artisan cheese.

Photo: Anne Topham at the Dane County Farmers' Market

Dr. Paxon is a cultural anthropologist at MIT, where she is Class of '57 Career Development Associate Professor. She received her PhD from Stanford University and her BA from Haverford College. She is interested in how people craft a sense of themselves as moral beings in everyday, bodily practices including sex, reproduction, and eating.

http://www.humanities.wisc.edu/programs/what-is-human/biopolitics.html#HeatherPaxson

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Local Food Event at Open Book Cafe

December 3rd, seven panelists representing a variety of perspectives on local food systems came together at an event organized by Lara Peschke at College Library.

Panelist Larry Johnson manages the Dane County Farmer's Market, which is held in winter at Monona Terrace and the Madison Senior Center. The market, one among 12-15 others in the immediate areas, provides space for local vendors to promote their products and connect with the community.

Erin Schneider of Hilltop Community Farm described some of her roles as farmer, ecopreneur, and land manager. Hilltop provides CSA boxes to May-October, providing consumers with a way to be partners in the peaks and valleys of the growing season. Schneider also works with MACSAC and the Wisconsin Local Food network.

Rosa Kozeb of FH King Students for Sustainable Agriculture talked about their two acre farm at Eagle Heights. They also run a small, 20-share CSA for the Eagle Heights Community.

Maria Davis of REAP Food Group mentioned REAP's farm-to-school, farm fresh atlas, and Food for Festival initiatives. Davis manages REAP's "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" program, which consults with restaurants to change menus to more local foods.

Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative services at Willy Street Cooperative, discussed the Coop's services to their 17,000 owner-members. The Coop contracts with farmers early in the growing season for their product. They sponsor the East Side Farmers' Market, which is moving to the Wil Mar Community Center.

Tory Miller of Cafe Soleil and L'Etoile became chef in 2003 and bought the restaurant in 2005. The restaurant works with 212 vendors. Miller works with MMSD on bringing local food to the schools and teaches at Sherman Middle School and Shabazz.

Tony Renger owns Willow Creek Farm with his wife. Willow Creek, recognized for humane practices for raising pork, sells to L'Etoile and Willy Street. They will open their Charcuterie in Prairie Du Sac, which will do all of own processing.

The panelists were asked about the Farm to School Program. Miller went to the school board with a group to find out how to make a change. Anne Cooper, who has led local food initiatives in school districts including Berkeley and Boulder, will come to Madison in Jaruary to do a feasibility study.

The panelists also discussed the issue of producing food in the wintertime. Johnson talked about growing in hoop houses, which are unheated greenhouses, which is one way of trying to produce food year-round in this area. The Dane County Farmers' market has 160-170 vendors in summer, 50-70 at Monona Terrace, and 25 in their Senior Center location. They host a full local product breakfast each Saturday and many volunteers help in the kitchen as a way to connect with growers and chefs. Others promote year-round growing as well: FH King will have a cold-frame demonstration and the garden in courtyard of Sherman MS has a cold frame.

Thanks to Lara Peschke and all the panelists for putting on this event! If would like to host an event or book discussion, contact gobigread@library.wisc.edu.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Food For Thought: Weekly Online Book Discussion

Join us in a virtual book discussion on the Food For Thought Posts in the Go Big Read Blog!

Each week, we will post a new topic for discussion on the blog, and followers are encouraged to participate by responding in the comment section below each post. Feel free to use and expand on these questions in your own book discussions. Have a great idea for discussion topic? Let us know! Contact the Go Big Read Program at gobigread@library.wisc.edu.

Food For Thought: Topic for Discussion Week of November 30, 2009:

Two-thirds of the way through In Defense of Food, Pollan points out, "You would not have bought this book and read this far into it if your food culture was intact and healthy."
 
Are there aspects of your own eating that you would want to change?
 
Or, are you reading this book to support your own already-made choices?