Friday, March 23rd: Dumpster Diving Dilemma

On Wednesday we read “Sharing the Wealth at a Dumpster Divers’ Feast” and talked about the short film “First the Dishes, Then the Revolution.” Key questions raised in this discussion were:

  • Is this truly revolutionary?
  • What stakes to state and local governments have in regulating what happens to our waste?
  • Would we eat at Grub?

For Friday I’d like you to read a second article: “Food Not Bombs Cooks Meals Acquired from Dumpster Diving.” This article visits a Toronto chapter of the organization Food Not Bombs, which argues our collective spending priorities favor corporate wants over human needs.

Local Food Not Bombs groups are known for setting up feeding sites for people with low food security, like people who are currently homeless. Richmond’s Food Not Bombs has historically served food each weekend at Monroe Park (which caused controversy when the city shut the park down for renovation — see here and here).

This, many have argued, raises a moral question: do people have a right to food access? Do people have a right to know that their food is safe to consume? Does serving food harvested from dumpsters put these two rights at odds? Read the content linked above, and respond here by Sunday evening! Note that we have other reading due for class on Monday.

Snow Wednesday, March 21st

Hi all! We have a snowy morning and a 2 hour delay on campus. Assuming that doesn’t change office hours will shift slightly. I’ll be in today 11am-1pm.

Welcome to Unit III!

We’re rounding out the second half of our semester this week, which means we’re ready to launch Unit III.

In your first two units you’ve studied how humans build social narratives around food, and you’ve looked at how industrialized practices change the ways food systems interact with human and nonhuman needs. For our third unit we’ll look at how humans interact with storytelling the public sector to make changes in their varied food systems.

To launch this week we’ll look at a very recent fight over the narrative put forth by an industrial food giant: McDonalds. Ten days ago, McDonalds launched this ad in honor of International Women’s Day:

How was it received? Not well by McDonalds Workers.

Why? The Washington Post had some possible answers:

Four graphs illustrate the prevalence of women among minimum wage works and restaurant workers, and the lack of women in McDonald's leadership.



This is a great illustration of what we’ll be looking at in our third unit. McDonald’s tried to craft a message of women and empowerment. Employees worked to reorganize that narrative in support of their ongoing campaign for higher wages and safer working conditions.

In Unit I we discussed identities as socially constructed. This unit we’ll think about how we battle for control over those narratives in the public.

Read more at Here’s how McDonald’s could actually help women.

Office Hours the week of March 12th

We have departmental visitors this Monday and Wednesday, which will affect my office hours! I’ll be in the office this week Monday (11:15-12:30), Wednesday (11:15-12:30), and Friday (10-12). Normal hours resume Friday, and this is the last week of disruptive meetings, so we should be set moving forward. See you all soon!