Tag Archives: food security

Readings for Thursday, August 26

24 Aug

This Thursday, we will speak of a tension between two ways of seeing Japanese food:

–the prevailing tone of doom or crisis we hear from policy-makers in Japan and eco-critics who point to large-scale changes in the food supply, including the coming demise of bluefin tuna;

–in contrast, the celebratory tone of foodies, entrepreneurs, urban gardeners, and other people who revel in the variety, quality, and scope of foods available, in Japan and in LA.

We will speak of some provisional ways of making connections between these two scales–the macro and the micro. Key terms, and the articles that discuss them are:

CRISIS: Yukie Yoshikawa, “Can Japanese Agriculture Overcome Dependence and Decline?” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 26-3-10, June 28, 201.

MAFF video, “Ensuring the Future of Food.”

–VERNACULAR CREATIVITY: potts_gnomes: Tracey Potts, “Creative Destruction and Critical Creativity: Recent Episodes in the Social Life of Gnomes,” in Spaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy, eds. Tim Edensor et al. (London: Routledge, 2010), 154-169

–HETEROTOPIAS-foucault_heterotopias: Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces.” Diacritics 16, no. 1 (1986): 22-27.

OPTIONAL: POSSIBILITY SPACE: bromberg_creativity unbound: Ava Bromberg, “Creativity Unbound: Cultivating the Generative Power of Non-Economic Neighbourhood Spaces,” in Spaces of Vernacular Creativity: Rethinking the Cultural Economy, ed. Tim Edensor et al. (London: Routledge, 2010), 214-225. Note: the biblio is quite long…it is the biblio for the entire book, not just this essay.

UCLA students cook up food “closet” to combat student hunger

19 Aug

Source: intersectionssouthla.org

You’ve probably heard of food banks, which tend to be large-scale operations that serve masses of people. The Community Programs Office at UCLA sponsors this mini-food bank for UCLA students who are struggling with food security issues (=they lack the resources to get enough to eat). Denise Guerra of The Campus Circle (started by a USC film grad) writes,

Located in a small closet at the Student Activities Center sits a large, mostly empty refrigerator. Next to it holds a pantry filled with various canned goods, breakfast cereal and instant ramen. A small table squeezes in front of the entrance with a large empty bowl made for holding fruit that has all been taken for the day.

Next to the bowl, a small guest book. In it students have written accounts of their gratitude to a program designed to directly address hunger on UCLA’s campus. From a small sentence, “Thanks for the raisins,” to longer, more detailed accounts, each passage reveals the individual struggles students face for one bite to eat.

One passage reads: “The hardest thing to accept is the notion that there are times in life when you become dependent on [the] charity of others.”

The Food Closet was envisioned by student Abdallah Jadallah and implemented through the help of the Community Programs Office (CPO) at UCLA.

The LA Times also did a long piece on the closet. A USC blog, The South Los Angeles Report, cut to the heart of the matter: while college costs are going up, student aid is going down:

For many, the idea of a food bank at one of the country’s most prestigious and affluent universities is an oxymoron. At UCLA, average parent incomes for incoming freshmen hover at about $101,000 a year. But in today’s ailing economy, growing numbers of students are finding it harder to obtain financial aid or receive enough assistance to pay for their $10,000-a-year university fee.

Issues around USC are like Westwood in that both neighborhoods can be pretty expensive places to eat. And they are dominated by corporate food chains whose products are often not that good for you, and frankly, are about as exciting as eating at LAX. But the USC neighborhood and community also have advantages such as more open space, an existing neighborhood garden culture, city council members interested in food security, health and greenspace issues. Do you think something like the food closet would fly at USC? Why or why not?