• On the Future of Food Studies
A mind map exercise conducted at the Food and Drink Studies Summer School (IEHCA) of Tours (FR)
This summer I had the pleasure to be part of a group of 5 IEHCA scholars called upon to draw a mind map of both present and future of Food Studies. It is not an easy task if one considers that Food Studies are difficult to define and that few Universities in the world have established a Food Studies Department [i] . So where are Food Studies going? The group used the following words to describe present and future scenarios:
FOOD STUDIES TODAY
|FOOD STUDIES TOMORROW|
This very simple association of ideas by a small group of experts is not a statistical sample but still it is worth commenting. My personal view is that the present situation of Food Studies, seems to be characterized by widespread concerns over 1) the unequal distribution of food (ethics and security), 2)the unextinguished plague of hunger and malnutrition (health and security), 3) the threat posed by globalization to the cultural and geographical origin of food (heritage) and 4) the impact of food processing, packaging and wastage (sustainability).
However, big changes may affect the future: food will be more and more a discriminatory factor among groups and social classes (identity); it will be increasingly considered a medicine or a poison (health); it will solve the problem of malnutrition and cope with the reduction of arable land and with the impoverishment of soils, as a result of scientific progress (innovation); food will be evaluated also in terms of CO2 emissions and a dietary revolution will take place, with a strong decrease in meat consumption in the most developed nations (environment). Finally taste will be the great object of desire: lost, due to intensive production and industrial transformation, food taste will be sought and if necessary re-produced thanks to chemistry.
Did I go too far in interpreting the results of this creativity game?
[i] Hamada, S., Wilk, R., Logan, A., Minard, S., & Trubek, A. (2015). The future of food studies. Food, Culture & Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 18(1), 167-186.