Mae Humiston and Sara Gardner | Let’s Talk About Food
A starter course
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 17:09
We are Sara and Mae, and we’re going to talk about food. But first, let us explain how we got here.
Sara: New Haven-born, I grew up in a quirky renovated barn in Wilton, Connecticut with a perpetually full pantry and a warm oven. I have always had a deep passion for food and all things food-related. An avid eater, I adore farmer’s markets, exploring new flavors and ingredients through my cooking and baking, reading the Dining & Wine section of the New York Times and spending hours in my garden at home. Food occupies the majority of my thoughts and musings, and, as a Type 1 diabetic, it is a primary point of concern in my life. But my relationship with food exceeds the sensual and the nutritional. I care deeply about matters of equity, culture, justice, education and environmental health -- all the issues that directly affect us and impact our relationship with what we put in our bodies. It is one of my priorities to be as educated and well-spoken as possible about food issues, and in so doing I hope to impact the way the world thinks about the food it eats.
Mae: I was born and raised in rural Virginia on venison and books. In high school I earned my money at a working historic flour mill where I started out as a gardener and ended up as a miller’s assistant. During this time, I read Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and won free tickets from a radio show to see “Food, Inc.” (2008) in theaters. While I found both the book and movie interesting at the time, that was about the extent of it — or so I thought. I did not realize the seed they had planted deep within my brain. A couple years later, I found that I was reading all the labels on my food, choosing farmers’ markets over supermarkets, cooking most of my own meals and educating myself on this “food system” idea every chance I could get. Fast forward to today, and I am studying, buying, cooking, eating, researching, writing about, thinking about and working on food and food issues.
We are passionate about food systems, food justice and food in general, and we would like to clear up some of the confusion about what exactly is going on in the wide, wide world of food. We are not writing to evangelize, but rather to start a wider conversation about food on our campus.
There is a lot of good — define it as you will, but it’s all there — food around us in Boston, one of our graduate schools is the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and so many of us are already talking critically about our food system that it just makes sense for Tufts to be a better scene for dialogues around food. It is also increasingly important for each of us to have a more comprehensive understanding of our food systems, as factors such as climate change, fossil fuel prices and the economy all play important roles in a very concerning trend: rising food prices.
In this weekly article series, we will cover a range of topics including: What do all those labels on my food mean? How can I eat responsibly as a student? What do those buzz words like “food system,” “food movement” and “food justice” actually mean? We will also look at some of the history, cultural aspects and art that have been shaped around food. If you have a question or a topic you would like to see covered, feel free to email us with your request!
Mae Humiston is a senior majoring in anthropology. She can be reached at Mae.Humiston@tufts.edu. Sara Gardner is a freshman who has not yet decided on a major. She can be reached at Sara.Gardner@tufts.edu.