The Politics of Food and Agriculture, fall 2010
PSCI/HSOC/GAFL 135, ABCS and Fox Leadership Program Seminar
Wednesday 3:30-6:30, Leadership Hall (3814 Walnut St) seminar room, 2nd floor
(entrance is on terrace on side of left side of building)
Prof. Mary Summers, firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-746-7118
Office hours: Tues, 2:00-3:00pm and by apptmt; Leadership Hall, rm 20
Chuck Brutsche, email@example.com
* Penn service projects and events and writing support:
Alexandra Swayze Dews, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Community Food Security service projects and research support
1) To help students develop an understanding of politics (how people and their environment shape and are shaped by power relations, institutions, and ideas) through the study of changes in how societies produce, distribute, market and consume food with a special focus on American politics and food system.
2) To use the community service component of the course to give students “hands-on” experience with organizing efforts and institutions related to the politics of food and to develop skills and knowledge important to effective citizenship.
Students will use course readings and their community service to analyze the institutions, ideas, interests, social movements and leadership that shape “the politics of food” in different arenas. Service opportunities include: work with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger; the Urban Nutrition Initiative; the West Philadelphia Recess Initiative (working w. students and staff on school meal/recess issues in two neighboring schools); research with Robert Wood Johnson fellows evaluating the nutritional and community impact of farmers’ markets; and work with Bon Appetit on promoting sustainable, local and “just” food at Penn. Academic course work will include weekly readings, class and blackboard participation, several papers, and group presentations. Service work will include an individual or group project (addressing some issue related to your placement) and a final report. Typically the first half of each class will be devoted to a discussion of the readings and the second either to group work and discussion of students’ service projects or to a course speaker.
Students have the option of participating in an independent study (PSCI 399 or HSOC 499) in association with this course:
Requirements for independent study, as compared w. 135 alone include:
1) At least 4 hours working on service related project every week. (No specific time commitment for students in 135 required; hours can vary greatly with projects.)
2) A journal entry/reflection w. regard to service and associated readings and research, posted on class blackboard (or to me) every 2 weeks. Complete journal of all entries to be submitted to me at end of semester. (Students in 135 required to write 2 reflections on service –although encouraged to write more!)
3)An additional 10-15 page research paper, case study, or project (such as lesson plans, if working in the schools) on issues connected to service project; or a more extended and substantial case study/research paper (20-30 pages) than is required for students in class (who will write 10-15 page case study/research paper)
4) Play a leadership role in the service project team with regard to such tasks as: organizing service work week to week; defining associated research project; and organizing writing up and presentation of service work and research.
Class and Community Service Participation (5% of grade)
includes at least 2 blackboard reflections on readings
+ reflection for any missed class Consistent attendance and initiative in community service, and at least 2 blackboard reflections (5% of grade)
Family Food Ways Paper (3-5pp) Due 9/29 (10% of grade)
Blog review/entry (2-3pp) Due 10/6 (10% of grade)
Editorial/opinion piece (1-3pp) Due 10/27 (10% of grade)
Book or article review (3-5pp) Due 12/1
(10% of grade)
(Group) Report/project on community service placement* (25% of grade)
Individual or group case study on “strategy for change,”
analyzing problem related to food and/or farming and
an institution based approach to addressing it
(10-15pp) Due 12/15 (30% of grade)
*Class presentation dates as chosen by groups; All hard copies due 12/15
*Individual contributions to group reports and case studies to be identified.
.5 points of extra credit can be earned for turning in first draft or your papers to Chuck Brutsche for comments; also for every politics of food related event you attend and report on via blackboard.
If you rewrite a paper after it has been graded, final grade for paper will be an average of the two grades.
More extensive initiation of or responses to discussions on blackboard will also influence your grade positively.
Conscientious participation & leadership role 10
Final Project(s) 50
Examples of topics for case studies: Campaigns/lobbying efforts designed to influence passage of Food Safety Act, Farm Bill, Childhood Nutrition Act; strategies to address barriers to participation in govmt food assistance programs; strategies to promote farmers’ markets, including among WIC and SNAP (food stamp) participants; strategies to promote urban farms and gardening; NYC Board of Health’s (or other) ad campaign designed to address obesity epidemic; campaigns to tax soda/junk food; nutrition education (and/or cooking) programs; Farm to School and other programs for improving school meals; Fresh Food Initiatives for financing grocery stores and healthier food in corner stores in “food deserts”; Clinton Foundation’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation partnership with soda companies to take high calorie/nutrient poor beverages/snacks out of schools; state legislation (CA, AZ, OH) to regulate conditions for domestic animals and poultry; Union of Concerned Scientists campaign to end routine use of antibiotics in raising livestock; industry/non-profit uses of food labeling (“smart choice”; “heart healthy”; organic; local; cage-free, etc.); Center for Science in the Public Interest campaigns to increase federal regulation of food advertising and/or safety issues; Immokalee workers’, union, and religious/nonprofit strategies to win improved working conditions/pay for farm/food related labor.
Multiple options have been established for students’ community service work. Other volunteer and organizing opportunities can often be related to the politics of food and may “count” as appropriate service experience, but should be discussed with the instructor.
- The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger: work with SNAP (food stamp) or WIC (women, infants and children) federal food assistance programs.
--SNAP Campaign (http://www.hungercoalition.org/snap-campaign) If the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP –formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) was more fully utilized, it would bring millions more dollars in federal funds to low-income households and neighborhoods. Students will be trained to screen clients for food stamp eligibility and assist with the on-line application process on the Hunger Coalition’s Food Stamp Hot Line at their office at 1725 Fairmont Ave (PHL, 19130). You will be expected to attend 2 orientation sessions and work at least 2 hours a week at a regular time that fits your schedule (M-F, preferably 5-8).
--WIC The WIC program provides federal funds to states to support low income mothers with children 0-5 in accessing nutritional foods. This spring/summer WIC recipients in Philadelphia received $80 in coupons that they could spend in farmers’ markets. Students will be trained to use brief interview questionnaire with clients in WIC office to help evaluate clients’ use of and perspective on this program. You will be expected to attend an orientation session and work at least 2 hours a week at a WIC office at a regular time that fits your schedule (M-5, 9-5).
Excellent projects for students interested in issues related to poverty, food insecurity, immigration, low wage work, and government food assistance/nutrition programs, as well as students who want to look at joint strategies of anti-hunger and “sustainable food” groups. For more information about the Coalition, check their web site at http://www.hungercoalition.org/. Contacts: Emily Rhodes, Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com (215-769-0659, x108) and Sasha Swayze Dews <firstname.lastname@example.org>
2. West Philadelphia Recess Initiative. Join other Penn students in expanding a model initiative, affiliated with the Penn Netter Center’s Community Schools Student Partnerships Program (CSSP); promotes interactive play and fitness at Henry C. Lea, a K-8 school at 47th & Locust and Alexander Wilson School at 46th and Woodland. You will be expected to attend lunch/recess (11-1) at least one day a week at one of these schools, an orientation session on 9/25, and support/debriefing meetings on Sunday afternoon or evenings. These placements also offer additional opportunities to work with Lea teachers and student council interested in improving school food and recess experience; and gardening/alternative recess options at Wilson. May also be opportunity to work with interdisciplinary faculty and students in evaluating this initiative.
Excellent opportunity for students interested in issues related to urban education, children’s health and development, school meals, and opportunities for exercise and recreation. Apply at: www.penncssp.com <http://www.penncssp.com> . Contact Natalie Feigenbaum, email@example.com
3. Agaston Urban Nutrition Initiative programs
Penn’s Netter Center’s Agaston Urban Nutrition Initiative sponsors projects promoting nutrition and health awareness and increasing the availability of healthy foods and fitness opportunities in many schools in West and North Philadelphia. Unless you have a strong attachment to another UNI program, students in Politics of Food are encouraged to work in one of the following programs:
- Lea (K-8) 47th and Locust
*After School nutrition and cooking club. Assist the AUNI Lea educator Meg Ferrigno in teaching a group of students nutrition and cooking lessons in the school’s After School program once a week. Responsibilities may include researching and designing lesson plans, purchasing and prepping food. Project hours: Mondays, 3:00-5:00.
*Garden based education (9:00-3:00)
*Parent cooking workshop (3:00-5:00 monthly)
b. Drew (K-8), 37th and Warren
T, W 9-3 in class nutrition and garden-based lessons
3-5 Fruit stand and cooking club
F Planning/implementing Harvest festival and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for school families
c. Huey (K-8), 5200 Pine St
*TH, 9-3 in class nutrition lessons
3-5 fruit stand and cooking club
(Corner store initiative)
Contact for Lea, Drew, Huey:
Margaret Ferrigno <firstname.lastname@example.org>)
d. Pepper Middle School (84th St. and Lindbergh Ave)
*Student Created School Food: Every day middle-school students arrive at Pepper Middle School and buy chips, cookies, and fruit drink from a store located in the school. Your job is to work with student team at Pepper to create a food brand and healthy snack line to sell and market to the student body in collaboration with UNI educator Jarrett Stein. You will be responsible for designing lesson plans based around business and nutrition to teach the team of students how to reate their food product. Transportation can be arranged. 3-4 students needed.
*Family Cooking Workshop: Implement a monthly *Parent Cooking Workshop* in collaboration with UNI educator Jarrett Stein. The purpose of the workshop is to reinforce nutrition lessons taught to students during school. Responsibilities include researching best practices, coordinating with school administration, recruiting participants, creating menus and budgets (be creative), and leading monthly cooking workshops. Transportation can be arranged. 2 students needed.
*Concrete Chefs: Every week there is an after-school cooking club for about 20 middle-school students called Pepper Chefs. Each week several students display extraordinary creativity and/or discipline that deserves recognition. Your job is to create a model for a twice-a-month filmed cooking competition for 6 exemplary Pepper Chefs, the Concrete Chefs. The after-school cooking competition will be loosely based on the structure of Iron Chef, dividing the students into 2 teams of 3 chefs each to cook recipes based on a theme ingredient. You will be responsible for designing, filming, and producing Concrete Chefs. Transportation can be arranged. 3-4 students needed.
e. Vare Middle School (2100 South 24th Street)
Food History: Last year at South Philadelphia High School (of which Vare is a primary feeder) race riots erupted resulting in violence and school boycotts. To promote better understanding between different cultures, Join UNI educator Jarrett Stein in conducting cooking workshops exploring the culinary traditions of African-Americans, Vietnamese, and Cambodians and finding similarities and differences in the ingredients, recipes, cooking techniques and customs. Your job is to help research, create, and implement this cooking series with middle-school students. 1-2 students needed. Contact: Jarrett Stein (email@example.com)
f. Edward Gideon Middle School (2817 West Glenwood Ave)
Family Cooking Workshop: Implement a monthly *Parent Cooking Workshop* at a Strawberry Mansion-neighborhood school in collaboration with UNI educator Jarrett Stein. The purpose of the workshop is to reinforce nutrition lessons taught to students during school. Responsibilities include researching best practices, coordinating with school administration, recruiting participants, creating menus and budgets (be creative), and leading monthly cooking workshops. Transportation can be arranged. 1 student needed.
Contact for Pepper, Vare and Gideon:
Jarrett Stein <firstname.lastname@example.org >
4. Work on issues related to campus food with Bon Appetit. (*http://www.bamco.com/*) Last year Penn Dining establish a new dining contract with Bon Appetit, whose parent company BAMCO’s slogan is “food services for a sustainable future.” BAMCO received one of the first 3 “growing green” awards issued by a committee chaired by Michael Pollan for the Natural Resources Defense Council and became the first food service company to work with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to establish fair labor standards for the growers from whom they purchase their produce. They are known for their Low Carbon Diet Initiative, and their commitments to local food and cooking from scratch.. Potential projects (which could be combined over course of semester) include:
a. “Local food”: promote “Eat Local Challenge” (all local meal, lunch 9/28/10) w. ongoing work to cultivate relationships with/purchases from/marketing highlighting local farms and farmers. SHOWING OF FOOD FIGHT, 9/29
b. “Food for your well-being”: Work with BAMCO nutritionist campaign to highlight different foods (w. anti-oxidants, etc) that may promote well-being every 3rd week of month.
c. Hydroponic Garden: work w. staff (and recruit other students) to maintain hydroponic garden in basement of 1920 Commons
d. Composting program: work w. staff (and recruit other students) to promote composting program in all Penn dining halls.
e. “More than Pennies”: Work with Penn students and BAMCO chefs (and recruit other students) to prepare and deliver food to homeless shelters once a month.
f. “Food Week at Penn” (OCT 18-22): work with Penn student groups to organize week of events highlighting environmental, health, labor, animal welfare, community, culinary food issues.
Contacts: Chuck Brutsche <email@example.com> and Tatiana Losk, Tatianna.Losk@cafebonappetit.com
5. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at Penn: work with fellows evaluating the nutritional and community impact of farmers’ markets in Philadelphia. (http://www.upenn.edu/rwjhssp/index.html)
Join a team of researchers in the process of evaluating the value of farmers’ markets for food access in Philadelphia. Participate in interviewing and observing shoppers at farmers’ markets, including Clark Park on Saturday mornings. There will also be an opportunity to participate in community outreach and interviewing regarding the development of a new farmers’ market at Hunting Park.
Excellent projects for students interested in community development, local food and food access issues. For more information about the RWJF Fellows, check their web site at http://www.healthandsocietyscholars.org and the Health & Society Scholars program at Penn at http://www.upenn.edu/rwjhssp/index.html. Contacts: Alison Buttenheim, PhD, Lead Investi firstname.lastname@example.org and Sasha Swayze Dews <email@example.com>
Hasia Diner, HUNGERING FOR AMERICA: ITALIAN, IRISH, & JEWISH FOODWAYS IN THE AGE OF MIGRATION (2001)
Eric Schlosser, FAST FOOD NATION (2001)
Mark Winner, CLOSING THE FOOD GAP: RESETTING THE TABLE IN THE LAND OF PLENTY (2008)
Joel Berg, ALL YOU CAN EAT: HOW HUNGRY IS AMERICA? (2009)
Mark Bittman, FOOD MATTERS: A GUIDE TO CONSCIOUS EATING (2009)
Janet Poppendieck, FREE FOR ALL: FIXING SCHOOL FOOD IN AMERICA (2010)
These books have been ordered at House of Our Own bookstore, 3920 Spruce St., 215-222-1576.
All other readings will be on blackboard or distributed in class.
You should also find NEW YORK TIMES articles on “Food Chain” and “Food Costs” and “Safety Net” series especially helpful for thinking about course related issues.
Examples of Relevant Web Sites:
Michael Pollan, www.michaelpollan.com/
American Farmland Trust, http://www.farmland.org/
Bread for the World, http://www.bread.org
Center for Science in the Public Interest, www.cspinet.org;
Center for Informed Eating, http://www.informedeating.org
Community Food Security Coalition: http://www.foodsecurity.org/
Food First, http://www.foodfirst.org;
Food Research Action Center, http://www.frac.org.;
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, http://iatp.org;
Marketing to children, www.consumingkids.com
National Family Farm Coalition, http://www.nffc.net/
Organization for Competitive Markets: http://www.competitivemarkets.com/
Slow Food Movement, www.slowfood.com; http://www.slowfoodusa.org/
United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, http://www.ers.gov; http://www.ers.gov/briefing/foodnutritionassistance/
Food blogs and blogging: Here’s a few places to start:
Examples of politics of food related books:
Novels and memoirs: Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats and All Over Creation (2003); Ruth Reichl, Tender at the Bone (1998).
Food related histories: Harvey Levenstein, Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America (2003) and Revolution at the Table: the Transformation of the American Diet (2003); Warren Belasco, Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food (2006).
Studies of food industries: Steve Striffler, Chicken: the Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food (2005)
Food Related Issues: Kelly Brownell and Katherine Horgen, Food fight: the Inside Story of the Food Industry, Americans’ Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It (2004); Susan Linn, Consuming Kids: Protecting our Children from the Onslaught of Marketing and Advertising (2006); Marion Nestle, Food Politics (2002) (or any of her other work);.
Agriculture Related Issues: Bill Lambrecht, Dinner at the New Gene Café (2001); Tom Daniels and Deborah Bowers, Holding Our Ground: Protecting America’s Farms and Farmland (1997); Andrew Kimbrel, The Fatal Harvest Reader (2002);
Global politics of food: Tim Lang, et al, Food Policy: Integrating Health, Environment and Society (2009); Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: the Hidden Battle for the World Food System (2008);Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest (2000) (or any of her other work); Tim Lang and Michael Heasman: Food Wars: The Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets (2004); James Watson, ed., Golden Arches East
Farn Bill: Daniel Imhoff, Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to a Food and Farm Bill (2008)
Food and hunger: Janet Poppendieck, Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement (1999) Kenwyn K. Smith, Manna in the Wilderness of Aids: Ten Lessons in Abundance (2002).
Critiques of Industrialized Agriculture: Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of
America (or any of his other work); Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilema: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006)
Week 1 Sept 8: INTRODUCTION TO COURSE THEMES AND REQUIREMENTS
Week 2 Sept 15: PRESENTATION OF COMMUNITY SERVICE SITES
READINGS: STUDY RELEVANT WEB SITES (see above)
To prepare for your “family foodways” papers, begin reading Hasia Diner, Hungering for America, preface and first chapter;
Michael Pollan, “Out of the kitchen, Onto the Couch,” NYT, magazine, 7/29/09, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/magazine/02cooking-t.html?_r=1, and replies by Kate Harding, “Michael Pollan Wants You Back in the Kitchen,” http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/08/01/pollan_on_child/index.html?source=rss&aim=/mwt/broadsheet/feature
Week 3 Sept 22: THEMES IN HISTORY AND POLITICS OF FOOD AND HUNGER IN THE U.S. OVER 2 CENTURIES
Hasia Diner, HUNGERING FOR AMERICA: ITALIAN, IRISH, & JEWISH FOODWAYS IN THE AGE OF MIGRATION (2001), preface and chapter 1 (available at front desk of Leadership Hall, 9-5:30)
Joel Berg, ALL YOU CAN EAT: HOW HUNGRY IS AMERICA? (2009), CHAPTER 3
Michael Pollan, “The Food Movement, Rising,” The New York Review of Books, June 10, 2010.
Make sure to notify instructor, if taking independent study option by 9/21
Week 4 Sept. 29: THE POLITICS OF CHEAP FOOD
Bryan Walsh, “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food,” Time, 8/21/09
Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, introduction (1-10), chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, Afterword
** 5pm FOOD FIGHT: THE MOVIE! (INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!)**
**FAMILY FOOD WAYS PAPER DUE
Week 5 Oct. 6: THE POLITICS OF HUNGER AND OBESITY
Joel Berg, ALL YOU CAN EAT: HOW HUNGRY IS AMERICA? (2009)
Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future,” 2010.
Week 6 Oct. 13: National Farm and Food Politics: THE FARM BILL
Michael Pollan, “The Way We Live Now: the (Agri)cultural contradictions of obesity,” NYT Magazine, 10/12/2003
Michael Pollan, “You Are What You Grow,” NYT Magazine, 4/22/07
Debra Eschmeyer, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm Bill: the Good, Bad and Ugly in our National Five-Year Agriculture Plan”
Mary Summers, “From the Heartland to Seattle: The Family Farm Movement of the 1980’s and the Legacy of Agrarian State Building,” in The Countryside in the Age of the Modern State: Political Histories of Rural America, eds, Catherine Stock and Robert Johnston (2001), 304-326 (will be distributed in class).
**Blog Review/entry due: 2-3p analysis and comment (paragraph or two) on “food/agriculture/hunger/nutrition blog of your choice. (See list on syllabus) Analyze author’s purpose, key arguments and strategies in writing this blog and interactions with readers if any.
Week 7 Oct 20: INDUSTRIAL VS. “AGROECOLOGICAL” FARMING AND EATING
Hasia Diner, Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, & Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration (chapters of your choice)
Wendell Berry, Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food, introduction and selected essays to be distributed in class
Blake Hurst, “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-intellectuals,” 7/30/09
Tom Philpott, “An ‘agri-intellectual’ talks back,” 8/14/2009
FOOD WEEK AT PENN!
Week 8 OCT 27: FOOD POLITICS AND INEQUALITY:
Mark Winne, Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty (2008)
**Short opinion/editorial (1-3pp) on issue related to your service and/or research in food politics
WEEK 9 NOV 3: FOOD CULTURES AND CAMPAIGNS: NUTRITION, HEALTH, THE ENVIRONMENT
Michael Pollan, “Our National Eating Disorder,” NYT Magazine, 10/17/04, http://www.michaelpollan.com/article.php?id=71
Mark Bittman, Food Matters (2009)
Week 10 NOV 10: FOOD CAMPAIGNS: LABOR, SAFETY, ANIMAL WELFARE, LOCAL FOOD
Readings to be announced.
Week 11 Nov 17: NATIONAL FOOD AND FARM POLITICS: SCHOOL MEALS AND THE CHILD NUTRITION ACT
Janet Poppendieck, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America (2010)
****Nov. 24*****NO CLASS: Happy Thanksgiving; Eat Well!
Week 12 Dec. 1: Presentations of community service placements/projects
***Book/Extended artice review due 3-5 pages w. clear statement and analysis of argument/s that author is making with regard to politics of food/agriculture, evidence for argument, strategies (if any) proposed, and intended audience. Make sure to consider counter-arguments.
Week 13 Dec. 8: Presentations of community service placements/project
Dec. 15 ALL PAPERS DUE