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Saturday Seminars

Are you a food enthusiast? Do you have a passion for all things food related? Are you curious to learn more?

You are invited to attend the Food Studies Saturday Seminars inspired by our Master of Arts in Food Studies program. The seminars feature food experts, food entrepreneurs, and food scholars - all looking to enrich your knowledge about the food world. Each presentation features a fascinating food topic followed by an opportunity to mingle, discuss, and enjoy light refreshments. Saturday Seminars begin at 3pm; they are free and open to the public. They are held at the University of the Pacific Center: 155 5th St, Minna St Entrance, San Francisco. 

Reservations are encouraged. To RSVP please click here.

SPRING 2017

**Please Note, Reservations are Required for this seminar**  To RSVP please click here. 
May 20, 2017 3-4:30pm Spinning Food: Telling Truth from Fiction in a Post-Fact World with Anna Blythe Lappé  
National bestselling author and James Beard Leadership Award-winner Anna Lappé will take us down the rabbit hole of food industry spin. In this Saturday Seminar, Lappé will share how industry leaders deploy stealth public relations tactics: using front groups and trade associations to push coordinated messages, attacking sustainable food advocates, and defending the chemical agriculture industry. Taking their cues from the tobacco industry, dozens of food companies and trade groups have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past few years on these opaque public relations tactics. Pulling from fifteen years of work in exposing industry spin and in uplifting the stories of food system transformation, Lappé's talk will help us all become critical consumers not just of food itself  but of the media about food we consume.   

April 8, 2017 
3-4:30pm: The Index of Public Tastes: Reading Supermarket Shelves with Tom Hertweck  To RSVP please click here.
Supermarkets aren't just the most popular spaces in which consumers can gather food, they are also massive archives of eaters' desires and anxieties indexed on food packaging. At a foundational level, food packaging provides a singular basis from which one can signal that a product is indeed edible, something not always obvious in our world of heavy processing. Whether on whole foods or scientific wonders, this text, which forms a boundary presentation of foods to their potential eaters, is a lively text that encodes and covers over issues of labor, methods of production, and affective economies that producers may want to avoid or engage when selling goods. This seminar frames the host of words, logos, and other ephemera that accompany foods into the marketplace as a form of commodity paratext, and delineates a tripartite structure for reading it. Within these modes (the objective, nostalgic, and interventionary), consumers pick and choose among political convictions, nutritional discourses, and various other aspects that provide them with value in order to feed bodies as well as identities. Equally useful for everyday eaters, critics of contemporary food consumption, and those working in food marketing, the presentation will look at key moments of food commodity paratext's history and its contentious contemporary state. By exploring food commodity's literary representation in the market, we will see how eaters today must read before they may eat. Attendees are welcomed and encouraged to bring along banal or intriguing food products or packaging for discussion.Tom Hertweck is Lecturer of English and Assistant Director of the Core Writing Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the editor of Food on Film: Bringing Something New to the Table (2014) and author of pieces new or forthcoming on food and affect, film and environmentalism, and is currently working on a book about food commodity paratext, "Narredibility: Postwar Literature and the Spaces of American Food Consumption."  He is co-editor, with Iker Arranz, of "Cultural Ecologies of Food in the 21st Century," a new book series with the University of Nevada Press. 

March 25, 2017 3-4:30pm:  Cooking up a Second Act: Narratives and Images of Women's Transformation through Food Work with Kimberly Nettles-Barcelón  To RSVP please click here.
From the lawyer and movie executive who leaves Hollywood to open a quaint bakery in Vermont and write cookbooks (My Life from Scratch by Gesine Bullock-Prado) and the PhD Candidate turned award-winning food blogger and restaurant owner (A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg), to the dissatisfied low-level government worker who's blog and subsequent book became the basis of a major Hollywood movie (Julie & Julia by Julie Powell), narratives of women "cooking up second acts" seem to be all around. We find them in memoirs, in contemporary women's magazines like Martha Stewart Living Magazine and MORE Magazine, in popular business magazines like Entrepreneur and PINK, in commercials touting financial products including those for LegalZoom.com and American Express OPEN, and in episodes of popular food television programs like Food TV's Cupcake Wars and TLC's DC Cupcakes. Today's women, it seems, are (re)turning in droves to the kitchen as a site of passion and commerce. In this presentation we explore "second act" narratives in which food-domesticity plays a significant role in a woman's transformation.Kimberly D. Nettles-Barcelón is an Associate Professor in the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies program at UC Davis. Her research and writing interests are in Black women's resistance throughout the African Diaspora. She has published on Guyanese women's activism in her Guyana Diaries: Women's Lives Across Difference (Left Coast Press, 2008) and articles in Social Movement Studies and Meridians. She is an emergent scholar of critical food studies with a particular focus on race and gendered representations of Black women and food. Nettles-Barcelón has published several articles which think through the significance of Black women's work with food as a form of cultural and political resistance. This work has appeared in the critically-acclaimed journals Gastronomica: the Journal of Critical Food Studies and BOOM: A Journal of California. Nettles-Barcelón is also the Social Science Book Review Editor for the journal Food and Foodways (Routledge).

February 11, 2017 3-4:30pm: Crafting the Perfect Cup with Food Craft Institute
The Bay Area is home to some of the world's leading coffee roasters & retailers. Spend an informative afternoon learning from a leading expert in the coffee industry about the transition from coffee as commodity to the "Third Wave" era of connoisseurship. Attendees will receive an overview of coffee's botanical roots, origins & sourcing, as well as roasting and flavor profiles (including a guided tasting and brew how-to lesson!).

Food Craft Institute is a professional development, non-profit educational institution that combines classroom and hands-on education to teach traditional food-making techniques and the entrepreneurial skills needed to build viable businesses. FCI's Executive Director Ally DeArman has been working to support education around local food systems for the past decade, with her work ranging from Stanford Dining Services to Oakland Unified School District and for the past four years, with Food Craft Institute. FCI has offered curriculum in craft coffee since 2013, in collaboration with notable network partners such as Ritual Coffee Roasters, Blue Bottle Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, Sweet Maria's and Royal Coffee Importers.

January 28, 2017 3-4:30pm:  Eating Our Way to Urban Improvement: A Food Policy Primer with Eli Zigas
Many Americans realize that things need to change to make our food system more healthy, sustainable, and just.  But how do we make those changes?  As consumers, we can vote with our fork by choosing to buy from the farmers, manufacturers, and restaurants that best reflect our values.  As citizens, we can go beyond individual choice and change the economics of the food industry through policy. Neither of these paths is as daunting as it may sound.  Join us as to talk about food policy, especially how it's made and how you can influence it!

Eli Zigas is the Food & Agriculture Policy Director at SPUR (San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association), a member-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to a holistic approach to civic planning and urban issues. In his work, Eli directs SPUR's work on urban agriculture, regional foodshed planning, and creating a vibrant, accessible food system in the Bay Area.  Since launching SPUR's food and agriculture program in 2011, he has been lead author on SPUR reports examining city support for urban agriculture, the benefits of a local food economy and improving access to healthy food. Prior to working at SPUR, Eli was program manager for DC Vote, an education and advocacy nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. Eli made his way to San Francisco via Iowa, where he earned his B.A. in policy studies from Grinnell College.

 To RSVP please click here.

Previous Seminars include:

  • Old World Wines vs. New World Wines: Can You Smell and Taste the Difference? with Roxanne Langer
  • Food Entrepreneurship: What Can We Do For You?: The Model Eater and A Sustaining Food Economy with Yaron Milgrom  
  • Beyond Organic Farming with Thaddeus Barsotti  
  • Farmers Market Tour with Alison Alkon  
  • Labor in the Food System with Jenny Huston  
  • Food Fads and Dieting Culture with Adrienne Rose Johnson  
  • Food Journalism and Beyond: A Look at Modern-Day Food Writing with Alissa Merksamer  
  • It's Hot in the Kitchen: Craft Entrepreneurship with Hannah Hoffman
  • Of Land and Legacies with Gail Myers
  • So you want to write a cookbook? with Dianne Jacob
  • "On Her Own" Film Viewing and Discussion with Morgan Schmidt-Feng
  • Food Regimes and Food Movements with Eric Holt-Gimenez
  • Food + Media with Beth Hoffman