The Rise and Fall of the American Industrial Foodscape
When: Wed 24 Jul 2013, 12.30 - 14.00
Where: Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation
Price: Free, booking essential
Join Betsy Donald for this thought-provoking lunchtime talk. In recent years, the American-inspired agro-industrial food system has been under attack. Technological innovation has provided cheap food to millions, but this has come at a cost in terms of rising obesity and other diet-related health problems: food safety; workers' rights; animal welfare and the environment. There was a time, however, when the American industrial food system was revered, its innovations celebrated for their significant contribution to the success of social and economic life in 20th-century America.
So what happened? Certainly much of the answer is rooted in evolving consumer needs and tastes. But the food industry also has been a major player in the process. Over the years the industry's self image shifts from public citizen and champion of American free-market capitalism to a defender of a system now widely viewed as broken.
This illustrated talk will trace the history of the American industrial food system from its early years in the 1920s to its world dominance in the post-war period. It draws on the major business and science food journals of the period to show how the industry, in its own voice, views its contributions to the American economy and to global society.
Betsy Donald is an Associate Professor of Geography at Queen’s University in Canada. She is the 2012-13 Visiting Professor in North American Studies at the Eccles Centre, British Library, and Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. She is the author of over 40 journal publications, book chapters and policy reports. Her most recent paper on food policy, 'Food Retail and Access after the Crash: rethinking the food desert problem' (2013), is published in the Journal of Economic Geography. She is an editor of the Cambridge Journal of Regions Economy and Society.
Organised with support from the Eccles Centre for American Studies.
This talk is part of our Summer Scholars programme. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org