Food Mapping: Growing Community at Brookline Grown

Gastronomy student Madison Trapkin shares her food mapping work from Anthropology of Food.

In the metropolitan sprawl that is the Greater Boston area, consumers have a wide variety of grocery stores to choose from. There are major chains like Stop & Shop and Trader Joe’s, or somewhere like Whole Foods if you have a bit more disposable income. For those who live in the vicinity of the Brookline neighborhood, there is also the option of shopping at Brookline Grown, a relatively small grocery store that is bringing fresh, local foods to their clientele. Brookline Grown is one example of the purveyors of local foods and food related products that have been cropping up across the United States that encourage customers (quite literally) to bring the farm to their tables.

In this mapping exercise, I consider Brookline Grown as an example of the larger food movement towards local and sustainable agriculture. I discuss the layout of the store and focus on four specific products, as well as what each indicates about foodways, identity, relationship, and current food trends. There are certain aspects of locally sourced foods and food products that cannot be attained from processed, generic, and otherwise large-scale farmed foods. I also examine the various ways in which buying local can strengthen community bonds and encourage positive relationships with growers and producers of local foods.

trapkin food map

In order to create this  map of Brookline Grown I visited their store. They are located near Coolidge Corner on Pleasant Street. The unassuming exterior of Brookline Grown gives way to the plethora of locally sourced delicacies within its walls. The various products that fill their shelves and baskets are all sourced within a 7-mile radius, which impressed me given their proximity to the city’s elements. Rather than provide an exact to-scale representation of the shop’s interior, I decided to focus on the sourcing of four specific products. I selected items from different food groups in order to provide diverse coverage of the store’s offerings: sweet potatoes, milk, greens, and sriracha (a type of hot sauce). I chose to illustrate one wall from the store and from that honed in on the products I had chosen, including a small map of Massachusetts with every chosen item. Each map of Massachusetts includes a red dot that indicates where the selected item was grown or produced. My goal was to indicate the proximity of production to Boston. Brookline Grown is a proponent of the farm to table movement, which has secured an important spot in this nation’s food history as a direct response to the explosion of commoditized processed foods that began in the 70s. Therefore, it was important for me to emphasize the locality of each item.

Oyster on the Rise

1551535_1467427143505109_3284607062007736119_nGastronomy student Allison Keir shares her thoughts on the “oyster revival” in the next of our summer blog series, Perspective from Anthropology of Food.

Over the last ten years, oysters have been making a come back into the mainstream food scene. Oyster bars and buck-a-shuck happy hours are popping up all around the metropolitan areas. Why, might you ask, is this re-emergence happening? About a hundred years ago there was an abundance of oyster beds along our coastlines that were slowly depleted from pollution, overfishing, and destruction. Many people don’t know that New York Harbor was once known to be the mecca for harvesting oysters until consumers started getting sick from eating the raw shellfish. Thus, oysters as a sellable food product were shut down and slowly drifted from the food scene. Author Mark Kurlansky recounts the history of oysters once dominating the food scene of New York Harbor in The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell. “Before the 20th century, when people thought of New York, they thought of oysters,” Kurlansky writes (2006:95).

At the time, what policy makers and the locals didn’t understand was that it wasn’t the oysters that were bad for consumers; it was the sewage that was being dumped right into the same water from which the oysters were harvested. Later on, the Clean Water Act was created, and oysters and other shellfish were no longer permitted for harvest in water that wasn’t within “Class A” water quality. Not only did this protect our seafood, it helped to clean our waterways. Since then, oysters have been slowly making their way back into the food scene.

Oysters are in a revival and are thriving in a new socialite food scene filled with consumers who are becoming more aware of the environmental benefits of oysters. It only takes one of these bouldering bivalves to filter up to 50 gallons of water per day.  Oysters are also one of the most sustainable forms of protein out there; in comparison to beef, their digestive systems reduce and live off waste and other toxins in our waterways, turning the waste into food for themselves and cleaner water for us!  They are naturally reducing the nitrogen levels in our waterways that have been a major component in ocean acidification and the depletion of our marine life.

oysterConsidering the cost of each oyster at any given raw bar, you could favor oysters as the elite class of mollusks. The pure deliciousness of eating fresh raw oysters while sipping on some wine or micro brew beer has gotten many consumers in the mainstream food scene hooked. Ironically you don’t even need a hook to catch an oyster! Still, oysters are an acquired taste and many people see them as blubbery textured creatures with a marshy flavor, while others think of them as a delicate salty and sweet jewel of the ocean that is comparable to kissing the sea.

So what is driving the surge in popularity for this tasty bivalve? While some consumers may be aware of the ecological benefits of protecting our oyster beds, it is possible that the taste for oysters is not just an ecological, but also a social phenomenon. Oysters have emerged back into the mainstream food scene and are being wined and dined with all walks of life. You don’t have to go down to the docks to see oysters being served on the half shell. You can just go to your local watering hole down the street or make a reservation at a nearby seafood restaurant so you can sit at the raw bar and enjoy the experience of watching the oysters get shucked!

Upcoming Events

Gastronomy students!!! You may be interested in these upcoming events. Check ’em out!

Venture Capital Investment for Food

VC Investment

The top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies lost an equivalent of $18 billion in market share between 2009 and 2016.

Venture capitalists are shelling out billions hoping to transform agriculture and scale food ventures that reduce waste and use of synthetic chemicals, conserve resources, accelerate distribution, and improve population health. While venture investment in the food sector seems to be slowing, exits and capital raises continue to abound and gain massive recognition. We’re seeing companies like Justin’s Peanut Butter sell to industry giant Hormel for $286 Million, local tech businesses like ezCater raise upwards of $70 Million across multiple funding rounds to bring food to corporate office spaces, and industry leaders Campbell Soup, General Mills, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and others establishing VC funds to acquire entrepreneurial brands that meet Millennials’ demand for high-quality products.

The food movement is here, it’s not slowing down, and startups are launching locally and globally signaling a certain shift in how our planet eats.

Join Branchfood as we bring together food venture investors across the food and foodtech industry to discuss financing food businesses, opportunities for innovation in food, market trends, and how to launch and grow a successful food business. At this event you’ll get to connect with food industry mentors, advisors, investors, and more, and sample awesome food products too!

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

Branchfood
50 Milk Street
Floor 20
Boston, MA 02109

 

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The Future of Food and Nutrition Graduate Student Research Conference, hosted annually by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, provides a unique venue for graduate students to present original research related to food and nutrition. Historically, more than 200 attendees from over 30 different institutions have come together each year to hear students present research from diverse fields ranging from anthropology to nutritional epidemiology.

As a presenter or attendee, you will gain valuable professional experience presenting and/or discussing novel, multidisciplinary research. The conference also provides a great opportunity for networking with fellow students and future colleagues – the next generations of leaders in the field.

Registration for the 10th annual conference to be held on April 8th, 2017 is open now! Visit our registration page for more details. We hope to see you on April 8th.

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The BU Gastronomy Students Association has a few upcoming events! On Thursday April 6th from 7-10pm they will be meeting at the BU Pub on campus to share a few drinks before the BU Pub closes for renovations. This will be the first event of 2017 and a chance to meet new members!

The second event will be starting the BU Gastronomy Students Association Test Kitchen. On Sunday May 7th members and prospective members will meet at 3pm and test out a recipe or two together.  Recipes are still being debated and open to suggestions! Some ideas are home-made gummy bears or spring asparagus tart, or maybe both. If there’s a recipe you’ve always wanted to try just let them know. Please contact us for specific location details.

Lastly, some of the members will be traveling to NYC on May 12th to attend the NYC Food Book Fair and eating at Ivan Ramen that Saturday. If anyone plans on also being in New York, or interested in traveling to NY with the BU Gastronomy Student Association for the event or dinner, please reach out to gastrmla@bu.edu.

Link to learn more about the Food Book Fair: http://www.foodbookfair.com/

If you’re interested in joining the Gastronomy Students Association but can’t make the first few events, don’t worry, we’ll have plenty more cooking, eating and socializing going on over the summer!

 

Taste of WGBH: Edible Scienceunnamed

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 7-9PM

WGBH STUDIOS, BRIGHTON, MA

Do you have an interest in science as well as a passion for the food and beverage industry? Then you are not going to want to miss this event.

Join us at WGBH Studios on Wednesday, April 19 at 7pm, and experience how Boston is influencing “edible science.” Edible wrappers, liquid nitrogen-based ice cream, grasshoppers as a form of protein and much more await you. Not only will you get to taste these scientific treats, but you will also hear the innovators speak about how these products came to be and what it means for our bodies now and in the future.

Get your tickets now because this event is sure to sell out.

You must be 21+ to attend this event. Please bring a valid form of identification.

This is not a seated event.

 

Gastronomy Summer Courses

Registration for summer term classes begins on Thursday, February 23. Take a look at the offerings from the Gastronomy department.

Summer Term 1 Gastronomy Classes

MET ML 641 Anthropology of Food – with Dr. Karen Metheny

Summer 1 (May 24-June 28), Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 to 9 PM

What can food tell us about human culture and social orfood-historyganization? Food offers us many opportunities to explore the ways in which humans go about their daily lives from breaking bread at the family table to haggling over the price of meat at the market to worrying about having enough to eat. Food can also tell us about larger social organizations and global interconnections through products like Spam that are traded around the globe and the ways in which a fruit like the tomato transformed the culinary culture of European nations. In this course we consider how the anthropology of food has developed as a subfield of cultural anthropology. We also look at the various methodologies and theoretical frameworks used by anthropologists

MET ML 673 Food and Film – with Dr. Potter Palmerh_julia_child_creative_commons_t670

Summer 1 (May 23-June 29), Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 to 9 PM

We can all take pleasure in eating good food, but what about watching other people eat or cook food? This course surveys the history of food in film. It pays particular attention to how food and foodways are depicted as expressions of culture, politics, and group or personal identity. We will watch a significant number of films, both fiction and non-fiction, classic and modern. A good portion of class time will also be given to discussing the readings in combination with hands-on, in-depth analysis of the films themselves. 4 cr. Tuition: $3320

MET ML 650 – The Foundation of Beer and Spirits – with Sandy Block

Summer 1 (May 25-June 29), Thursdays, 5:30 to 9 PM

Explores tRediscovery #: 00887
Job A1 08-131 Transparencies-1he great variety of beer styles and spirit categories currently available and the role each plays in our culture. Surveys significant developments in the historical evolution, production, distribution, consumption, and cultural usage of these alcohol

beverages in the United States. Includes tastings of beer and spirits to demonstrate examples of the most important categories and classifications. 2 cr. Tuition: $1660; lab fee: $200; total charge: $1860

MET ML 651 Fundamentals of Wine – with William Nesto

Summer 1 (Ten week course: June 5-August 7), Mondays, 6 to 9 PM

Suitable for students without previous knowledge of wine, this introductory survey explores the world of wine through lectures, tastings, and assigned readings. By the end of the course, students will be able to exhibit fundamental knowledge of the principal categories of wine, including major grape varieties, wine styles, and regions; correctly taste and classify wine attributes; understand general principles of food and wine pairing; and comprehend the process of grape growing and winemaking. 2 cr. Tuition: $1660; lab fee: $200; total charge: $1860 

MET ML 699 Laboratory in the Culinary Arts: Baking – with Janine Sciarappa

Summer 1 (May 23 – June 28), Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5:30 to 9:30 PM

Exposes students to a craft-based understanding of the culinary arts from which to better understand how food and cuisine fit into the liberal arts and other disciplines and cultures. Integrates personal experience and theory through discipline by training students in classic and modern techniques and theories of food production, through pastry and baking methods and working efficiently, effectively, and safely. Also introduces students to baking techniques from various cultures and cuisines from around the world. 4 cr. Tuition: $3320; lab fee: $1500; total charge: $4820

 

Summer Term 2 Gastronomy Classes

MET ML 698 Laboratory in the Culinary Arts: Cooking – with Christine Merlo

Summer 2 (July 5 – August 9), Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5:30 to 9:30 PM

Exposes students to a craft-based understanding of the culinary arts from which to better understand how food and cuisine fit into the liberal arts and other disciplines and cultures. Integrates personal experience and theory through discipline by training students in classic and modern techniques and theories of food production, through cooking and working efficiently, effectively, and safely. Also introduces students to foods of various cultures and cuisines from around the world. Students are expected to provide their own chef’s coat and knives. 4 cr. Tuition: $3320; lab fee: $1500; total charge: $4820

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MET ML 704 Special Topic: Survey of Italian Wine – With Bill Nesto

Summer 2 (July 6 – August 10), Thursdays, 5:30 to 9 PM

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Topic for summer 2017: Survey of Italian Wine. Provides students with a thorough knowledge of Italian wine. By the end of the course, students will know the history, cultural context, and styles of wine made throughout Italy and will understand issues within the Italian wine industry and the market performance of Italian wines in Italy and in other countries. Regular class tastings illustrate examples of wine types. 2 cr. Tuition: $1660; lab fee: $200; total charge: $1860

MET ML 719 Food Values: Local to Global Food Policy, Practice, and Performance – with Ellen Messer

Summer 2 (July 3-August 9), Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 – 9 pm

Reviews various competing and sometimes conflicting frameworks for assessing what are “good” foods. Examines what global, national, state, and local food policies can do to promote the production and consumption of these foods. Teaches how to conceptualize, measure, and assess varying ecological, economic, nutritional, health, cultural, political, and justice claims. Analyzes pathways connecting production and consumption of particular foodstuffs in the U.S. and the world. Emphasizes comparative food systems and food value chains, and the respective institutional roles of science and technology, policy, and advocacy in shaping food supply and demand. 4 cr. Tuition: $3320

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MET ML UA 510 Special Topics in Urban Affairs – with Walter Carroll

Summer 2 (July 6 – August 10), Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 to 9:30 pm

Topic for summer 2017: Feeding the City: Urban Food. Examines historical and contemporary issues involved in providing food to cities and metropolitan areas. Tracing the routes that food takes into the city and the major sources of food, the course looks closely at the accessibility of food, especially in poorer urban neighborhoods. Among topics covered are obesogenic neighborhoods, food deserts, gentrification and foodie culture, public school food and nutrition, attempts to minimize food waste, and immigrants and ethnic foods in the city. The course also considers recent attempts at food production in cities, including urban agriculture, vertical farming, and craft production of food products. After closely looking at the history and current status of food programs, the course concludes with a consideration of urban food policies. 4 cr. Tuition: $2640

Course Spotlight: Local to Global Food Values: Policy, Practice and Performance

Local to Global Food Values: Policy Practice and Performance will be offered through Boston University’s Summer Term 2. This class will meet on Monday and Wednesday evenings, beginning on July 6 with a final class on August 10. To register, please visit http://www.bu.edu/summer/courses/gastronomy/ .

What are “good” foods and trustworthy standards and measurements of value? Who regulates or labels claims such as  “local,” “natural,” “sustainable,” or “(non)GMO” and why should consumers care? These are the basic policy (government), practice (food-industry), and performance (case study) issues course participants systematically probe and debate during this six-week Summer Term II BU Gastronomy seminar. Each week clarifies and compares distinct environmental, economic, cultural, political, and nutritional frameworks of value.  Readings, discussions, and hands-on exercises aim to develop professional and personal knowledge and skills for those working in food research, production, marketing, or advocacy, or more generally interested in understanding the science and technology, language and cultural politics, guiding U.S. and global food systems.  The course is open to master’s level or advanced undergraduates.

Professor Ellen Messer is a Food and Nutrition Anthropologist heading BU Gastronomy’s Food Policy track.mac_japan