What is food?

It would probably be an understatement to say that food is a big part of my life. It’s a HUGE part of my life. In fact, if you’ve talked to me even once in the past 6 months, it’s pretty clear that that I’m thinking about food studies at almost every waking moment of the day.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most while learning about food is hearing what everyone else has to say about it. It is in this way, after all, that I’ve learned so much about food and have come to appreciate it in the many ways that I do. This week in particular though, I really wanted to hear from people that haven’t yet had the chance to think about food in all the ways that I have. I wanted to challenge them to start thinking a little more about their food and what it means to them. I wanted to see what kinds of relationships they had with their food and learn a little more about the role food plays in their lives.

So, Lauren and I spent the first three days of the semester going all around campus, asking everyone to complete the sentence, “Food is…” We had a lot of fun getting to know so many new people on campus and we really enjoyed learning more about what food means to everyone. At the end of the day, it was amazing to see how food can be so many things to so many different people, all at the same time. It’s universal; everyone eats it every single day. Yet, food is also unique to everyone and we each hold slightly different opinions, values, understandings, and relationships with food. For this reason, food is fascinating to me because it provides a unique window into understanding some of society’s most complex and controversial issues while also reminding us of how connected we all are as human beings.

I hope this video gets you thinking a little bit more about what food means to you and the role that you think it plays in our lives. I guess if you asked me to finish the sentence, I’d have to “Food is important.” In fact, I think it’s more important than many of us even realize.

What do YOU think food is? What should it be? Where should it come from? How should we have access to it? What are some of the best ways to eat it or prepare it? Does everybody have a fundamental right to food? What about to the same foods?

We may not all agree on the answers to some of those questions, but that’s actually where it gets interesting. Because when we disagree, we can have a conversation. And when we have a conversation, we can begin to understand how food truly touches every aspect of our lives and the lives of others. So, I urge you, go out and see how you disagree with others. Go ask them what they think about food and what it means to them. Don’t be afraid to have an interesting conversation. It may just change your life. I know it sure changed mine.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. In it’s simplest form food is any substance that living entities eat, drink or absorb in order to maintain life and growth. It’s the universal connection between all life forms. Even though there are over 8 billion people on planet Earth now, there is more than enough food to sustain each and every person. It’s the great shame of our species that 1 out of 8 people don’t have enough to eat and that over 40 thousand children die each day from malnutrition related causes.

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