by Lucia Austria
It was chance that alumnus Avi Schlosburg took the class American Food during his senior year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Little did he know that it would be taught by a pioneer of Food Studies, Dr.Warren Belasco. With a major in Ancient Studies, and an interest in American culture and policy, Avi excelled in Belasco’s class, opening him up to the gamut of topics and fields covered in Food Studies. It was Belasco who pointed Avi north to BU’s graduate program in Gastronomy.
Avi made the most of his graduate career by enrolling in challenging courses and taking on thought-provoking research projects. In U.S. Food Policy and Culture taught by Dr. Ellen Messer, Avi learned about the dynamic relationship between government policy and culture. Dr Carole Counihan’s class, Food Activism, broadened Avi’s awareness of the various organizational efforts towards creating fair foodways for our society. These courses were life-changing for Avi, “As someone who is extremely passionate about resource and information sharing as a means to push the food movement forward, I immediately connected with how the content of the courses applied to the real world.”
Outside of the classroom, Avi participated in a number of academic conferences. In 2010 he presented his research, “Representations of Hunger in America since the Recession” at the Association for the Study of Food and Society Conference (ASFS). He also participated at the 2011 Real Food Challenge/Northeast Food and Justice Summit as a panelist with other BU Gastronomes in a discussion entitled, “Redefining the Food Studies Vocabulary.” Avi’s final graduate project, “The Theory and Practice of Food Studies at the High School Level” addresses the dearth of food education programs for high school students and aims to help education professionals introduce comprehensive food pedagogy into high schools.
It’s not surprising to learn that Avi currently works for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) as their Food Day Project Assistant. First launched on October 24, 2011, Food Day is a nationwide campaign toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. It seeks to address five priority food and diet issues: promote healthier diets, support sustainable and organic agriculture, reduce hunger, reform factory farms, and support fair working conditions for food and farm workers. Events held by thousands of people across the country throughout October address each of these issues and work towards both unifying the food movement and informing sound food policies.
“There is so much incredible work being done throughout the country around food access, healthy school food, sustainable agriculture advocacy and education, and other critical issues within the food system, but much of this work is done within the silos of each of these issues and regions. The appreciation I get from connecting someone in Cleveland working on a project similar to someone else in New Jersey, both of whom are clearly stretched for resources, says so much about the current state of the food movement, and our food system. Food Day is the logical next step to connect the dots, and unify the country around these issues that affect every one of us as eaters.”
For Food Day events happening in your area, search here. Hosting your own, fellow gastronome? Tell us about it! Send your story and photos to laustria[at]bu.edu.