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Link to USC Master Plan

9 Jun

Here is a link to the “background” page of the USC Master Plan, that in turn has links to previous plans. And a link to an LAT article from last summer.

Let’s Help the Community!

3 Dec

Occidental College, a private liberal arts institution, has always been dedicated to positively contributing to the Los Angeles community. A large community oriented advocacy organization based at this college is the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI), and within this organization is the sub-group called the Center for Food & Justice, or the CFJ.

The Center for Food & Justice is a very progress-oriented group with two main objectives. Firstly, they look to improve access to fresh, as well as healthy foods in all communities. For now, they are primarily focused on the underprivileged communities where access to healthy food is scarce, and for now, they are focusing on the Los Angeles area.

Their second objective is to promote community development, social justice, healthy eating habits, preserving the environment, and positive uses for land.

A USC community garden could prove very useful for the first objective. Imagine if children from the underprivileged schools were allowed to take trips to a USC-owned plot of land (a large one, preferably), where we could get master gardeners (like Florence Nishida) and others to teach them how to properly grow their own food. By doing this, the children could learn about how to eat healthily, and how to grow their own natural food. In addition to showing them how, all of the food grown in the USC garden could be donated to the children in these schools.

Currently, the CFJ partakes and leads many programs designed to accomplish their goals. One example of their programs is Farm to School which teaches communities how to pick up good farming practices. Another one, Project CAFE works to implement community-directed activities that relate to food and health in low-income areas within Los Angeles. The CFJ is also involved in the Grocery Accountability Project, or GAP, which engages in research and works to increase the performance of food retail corporations in the areas of food access, labeling, supply, health, and labor standards. Another program, which holds special interest for me (as it should with other Modernology students), is Project GROW. The main purpose of this is to explore the potential for gardens and healthy food as a way to improve the lives of clients and staff of grassroots domestic violence agencies. Young people literally jump with joy when they realize that as a result of their actions, some fruit or vegetable has grown.

I’m willing to bet that if a USC program similar to what I have described previously were to actually come to fruition, some bigger-named speakers would be willing to participate to help the community to help with the CFJ’s second objective. Let’s make it happen! Also, the CFJ, as well as all of their projects, are running quite low on funds. They are accepting any and all donations. For more information, please visit

Breaking bread: reminder

15 Nov

just a quick reminder that I have to submit paperwork for the BB program by Thursday, the 18th November. So please talk amongst yourselves and let me know what you decide. We have access to the kitchen and dining room at the ORL, the same place we made soba…

Notetaker needed

3 Nov

good morning,

I got a request today from the Office of Disability Services and Programs (DSP). Here is their offer:

“Disability Services and Programs is in need of a note-taker for this course. Anyone who is interested should email DSP at  In general, note-takers receive a token of our appreciation at the end of the semester on their USCard.  The amount is approximately $100, based on (a) number of notes and classes for which they are taking notes, (b) quality of notes, (c) consistency, and (d) student need.”

If you’ve kept good notes throughout the semester, this would be a nice way to get some recompense, beyond the karmic level 🙂 It would involve e-mailing your notes to an online site, or scanning or bringing them to the office in the student union.

Interested? Please contact the DSP directly, at

Breaking Bread program

27 Oct

USC has a program that will actually contribute up to $150 to fund meals for profs and students. There are many options for feeding ourselves, and I propose you think about it, and we talk about it in class tomorrow (Thursday).


  • On-campus meals will now be reimbursed
  • Meals during final exam week will be reimbursed
  • All receipts and reimbursement forms due within one week of the meal

The Breaking Bread Program reimburses faculty for up to $150 per semester (based on an average of $10 or less per student) when faculty dine with undergraduate students from their class or classes. Faculty may dine at their homes, at an off-campus restaurant, or at an on-campus facility.

ONLY FACULTY may apply for this program; however, students may encourage faculty to apply. The Breaking Bread program is intended for individual professors and their current students. The program does not cover ‘group meals’ (that include multiple faculty and students).

Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser event

19 Oct

This is way off, in February, but is very exciting!

Food, Inc.: Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser in Conversation

Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 : 7:00pm

University Park Campus
Bovard Auditorium

Admission is free. RSVP is required. To RSVP, click here beginning January 13 at 9 a.m.

The best-selling authors talk about the industrialization of food and its devastating impact on personal health and the environment.

Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, authors of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation, respectively, are two of the country’s leading voices on issues of food, the food industry and sustainability. Their groundbreaking work has started a revolution in how Americans think about what they eat. Pollan and Schlosser both appeared in the Academy Award–nominated documentary Food, Inc., which Schlosser co-produced.

Join us as they come together for an important, fascinating conversation.

A reception will follow.

For the past 20 years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs and architecture. He is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, winner of the James Beard Award, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which was named one of the 10 best books of the year by both The New York Times and The Washington Post. His book The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World was also a New York Times best-seller and received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best nonfiction work of 2001. PBS created a two-hour special documentary based on The Botany of Desire. Pollan’s most recent book is entitled Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. A contributing writer to The New York Times magazine since 1987, Pollan has received numerous awards for his writing, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series; a John Burroughs prize for his book Second Nature; the QPB New Visions Award and Reuters-IUCN Global Award for environmental journalism for his reporting on genetically modified crops; and the Humane Society’s Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture. In 2009 he was named one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders” by Newsweek magazine.

As an investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser explores subjects ignored by the mainstream media and gives a voice to people at the margins. Over the years, he has followed the harvest with migrant farm workers in California; spent time with meatpacking workers in Texas and Colorado; told the stories of marijuana growers, pornographers and victims of violent crime; gone on duty with the New York Police Department’s bomb squad; and visited prisons throughout the United States. His work defies categorization, earning praise not only from liberal publications like The Nation, but also from Fortune, the Financial Times and the National Review. Schlosser’s first book, Fast Food Nation, has been translated into more than 20 languages and remained on The New York Times best-seller list for two years. His second book, Reefer Madness, also a New York Times best-seller, looked at America’s thriving underground economy. Schlosser has also worked in the film industry, serving as co-producer of the award-winning documentary Food, Inc., in which both he and Pollan appear. He was also an executive producer and co-writer of the feature film Fast Food Nation, directed by Richard Linklater. The screenplay was named one of the best of that year by New York Times critics A.O. Scott and Mahnola Dargis.

A bit of reading before Tuesday’s talks–Michael Pollan

18 Oct

So, the organizer of Tuesday’s event told me that the basic theme of the 2 talks is the “industrial food structure.” It’s part of a series of talks on various kinds of infrastructure. Here is a chapter of Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, on industrial feedlots & ranching.It will give you a frame, or 3 frames, really, to customize it for OUR class and the questions we have been pursuing–

1) what industrial farming is, and how industrial ranching is part of that package;

2) how American his example is (or occasionally global), which may prompt you to reflect on what you have learned about Japanese contexts;

3) how our practice of local gardening differs in significant ways (magnitude, labor and skills, nutrition, variability, sustainability, social life, etc.) from this Hulk of an industrial model.


Localness: food access in South LA

17 Oct

Intersections, an on-line publication at USC’s Annenberg School, recently did a workshop and a follow-up investigative report on food access in South LA–which includes where we are at USC. They documented fewer grocery stores in South LA as compared to West LA–about half the stores per capita–along with a chronic problem of outdated products–food displayed and sold beyond its expiration date–on grocery shelves at major markets.


Outdated product on grocery shelf, from Intersections investigative report


We have been training ourselves to think “where does our food come from?” It may be just as important to look anew at “when does our food come from?”

View the full article here, and watch videos of local residents talking about the slide in quality markets like Ralphs–where the above photo was taken–as well as the slide to more industrial purveyors, like 99-cent stores.


John Harriel, resident/activist who brought the issue of food access to Intersections workshop


Click on the image to link to the webpage with videos.

JET program info session–Oct 7

6 Oct

This just in–about the JET program which will take you to Japan to teach English after graduation.

JET Program Information Session

Have any plans after you graduate from college? Have you ever thought about living and working in Japan? The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, sponsored by the Japanese government, is looking for a few good, energetic and charismatic individuals to do just that!

To learn more about the program, please attend the information session on:

Date: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Time:   5:00pm-6:30pm
Place: Leavey Library Auditorium (Basement Level), USC

For more information, please see the attached flyer, visit, or email
2010 flyer – usc
JET Program
213-617-6700 x 332

Class location for Thursday October 7

5 Oct

Class will be held in room 108, of the University Religious Center (URC). It’s at 835 W. 34th Street, between College House and the University Health Center–across from the Raubenheimer Music Building.It’s a glassed-in room that juts out from the building.Here is a link to a Google map.

We will need a couple of volunteers to help carry pots and things from the car in front of the URC–at about 10:15 or so, and then to reload them back in the car.