The Food Studies movement is comprised of what I call, “Foodists”. While speaking with people joining the movement, some began to ask, “What do you mean by the term Foodist?” And, how is it different than other Foodie organizations and projects?
Foodies and Foodists have been defined differently by different people across the inter-webs, but the way I use “Foodist” is to focus on the suffix IST. In College, I am a Latin Americanist, in particular a Brazilianist. I also study food. Hence then, I am a Foodist! I wish I could official say that I am a Food Studies Major but that degree doesn’t exsist at our University… yet!
But there is an even more important significance for the IST suffix in Foodist. A Foodist is a foodie that has taken the additional step of actively engaging in the food movement to create positive change and benefit all people’s foodways. Many people at UT are foodists and they don’t even know it. The nutrition major realizing that there is a lot more to public nutrition than just the science of the GI system. The student org that teaches about the meaning of food. The professor that creates a course and pushes through the bureaucracy to get it available for students to learn.
My definition of Foodist came from being a Liberal Arts student. Liberal Arts majors sometimes ask themselves what we are going to do with our majors? Why are they important?
We are artists. We care for world and it’s inhabitants. As a Latin American Studies major at UT, I grew to care for people from a very different culture from mine. Studying abroad in their culture was my realization of the importance of food. Although their foodways were quite different from those of many Estadounidenses, it was what allowed me to connect with them as humans. An artist creates beauty, shares stories, and cares… We learn to care and love not just ourselves but to live for others.
You might say, “but that still doesn’t say what you are going to do with your life!”
Technical skills (math, sciences, laws, etc) are important. They are how you do things, but they are not why you do things. The best innovations and change come from people motivated to act outside of what they are paid or required to do. Sure, one will be more economically secure for stronger technical skills, but will you be able to answer why you do what you do? I love food. My why is to make sure that all malnourished people’s, both abroad and in the States, have not just enough food to eat but that it is the correct foods for their health. “How to do that?” and “What technical skills I need?” are questions that I will answer as I go.
Foodies and Foodists both are considered in my mind as caring artists but the difference is that the Food Studies movement is connecting people that care enough about food that it has lead them to act. The activists of food, so to speak. So, stop and ask yourself, “Is my care for good food for me, my circle of friends, or for others?” Don’t we want food security/sovereignty for all humanity?
Food Studies needs people from all colleges and majors to be part of the movement because our different fields of study and ways of understanding food can make a positive change in this world. That is what we are suppose to be doing at UT, no? What Starts Here Changes the World. If you consider yourself a foodie, I challenge you to take on the responsibly of being a Foodist. Food can be enjoyable for everyone if we just act.
Together we are setting an example for Universities around the Nation to bring back a food focus into our academic lives.
Eat up life.