Critical perspectives on food guidanceVol. 9 No. 1 (2022)
Guest editors, Jennifer Sumner and Ellen Desjardins, in collaboration with Canadian Food Studies / Le Revue Canadienne des études sur l’alimentation, are pleased to present Critical Food Guidance: a focal point for thinking about food system change.
This themed section asks three basic questions: critical guidance for what, for whom, and by whom? While engaging with these questions, the authors have put forward critical concepts, proposed mindful decision-making, provided contexts for transformation, and presented innovative applications—all with the purpose of spurring broader thinking about food choices that can benefit both food system sustainability and human health.
To this already extensive collection we add two Perspectives that set out to “seize this COVID moment” to address the structural inequalities Canadian society is built upon (Martha Stiegman) and to articulate the need for profound changes to the ways in which we produce, process, trade, and consume food (Marit Rosol and Christoph Rosol). Tina Moffat et al. then take us through accounts of two youth food programs operating at a Community Food Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Janie Perron and Amanda Shankland round out this issue with their reviews of Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture by Emily J. H. Contois and Facing catastrophe? Food politics and the ecological crisis by Carl Boggs, respectively. (Photo by Danny Wick of DCW Fishing Sales, Vancouver Island).
Food pedagogies in CanadaVol. 8 No. 4 (2021)
The cover photo of this issue is, as it should be, entirely edible. Luciana Godoy explains how this delicious poster came to be served up as a dish of food pedagogies.
"My name is Luciana Godoy and I am currently a Cultural Studies PhD student at Trent University, Ontario. I am also a professional chef and Culinary Professor at George Brown College, Toronto.
This project was done, however, during my MA in Adult Education and Community Development with a collaborative specialization in Environmental Studies at University of Toronto, department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education – OISE.
OISE presented me with numerous opportunities for growth and learning. That is when I had the chance to take “The Pedagogy of Food” with Dr. Jennifer Sumner. In this class we explored a myriad of global and local political, economic, environmental and social issues through the lens of food. The final assignment for the class was to write a research paper, where the students could choose their food-related topic. As part of the class grading structure, Dr. Sumner incorporated a poster presentation, so students could share with classmates their research, as opposed to only sharing it with Dr. Sumner; this way everybody had a chance to learn with and from each other.
As a professional chef, choosing my research topic was easy. It is my opinion that cooks and chefs are left out of many conversations, especially the kind that take place in academia. At the same time, as the pandemic has made clear, we are essential workers. Furthermore, we are on the frontline with clients, suppliers, staff, communities, and the environment too, to some degree. I chose to write about female chefs in the culinary industry and professional kitchens. Much of the gender-centered conversations within Food Studies tend to focus elsewhere and not on professional kitchens. It was a chance to deepen my research and my own knowledge yet genuinely share and complement my paper with some of my own experiences.
When the time came for the poster-making component, I instantly knew I wanted to do an edible poster. After all, this is what I do. I cook. Food is how I have been expressing myself for the last 18 years. From designing and creating menus with specific items, showcasing specific suppliers that support sustainability, treating fellow cooks and workers in the industry with empathy and respect, everything in a restaurant or food service is somehow a statement and an expression of one’s self, ethics, and beliefs.
Part of my research focused on how female chefs are portrayed in professional kitchens. I examinined the underrepresentation of female chefs in the gastronomic field and the industry-wide misconception that female chefs, if allowed to participate in professional kitchens at all, are meant to be pastry chefs. There is an unspoken gendered herierichy in the industry with women and desserts at its bottom. As I reflected on this dyamic, I came across a picture that served as inspiration for my art: a female chef in the guise of Rosie the Riveter. I knew instantly that my poster would be edible - a chocolate Chef Rosie the Riveter. This way, my poster would unpack the condition of the female chef in professional kitchens - expected as she is to take on the role of pastry chef - while using the iconic empowering figure as a means of encouraging female chefs to break free from these restraints and misconceptions. When my presentation was over, I opened the frame and broke the chocolate poster into pieces, this a symbolic breaking down of the many barriers I and many other female chefs have faced in professional kitchens. My classmates were literally served with food pedagogies. To wrap up the dynamic experience and interaction, I brought some to-go bags with me and asked my classmates to take some of the remaining “Chocolart” with them. I asked them to share the chocolate and its story with someone else during the day.
I truly believe that food is one of the greatest vehicles for learning. As a culinary professor, I stand for fostering safe spaces for candid conversations about a different, more equitable food industry with professional kitchens that are more kind to female cooks and chefs.
The Imperative to Transform Global Food SystemsVol. 8 No. 3 (2021)
This latest issue of Canadian Food Studies is full to bursting with seasonal – as in timely – fare.
Philip Loring’s Editorial makes a strong case for radically reimagined food systems. In their Commentary, the CAFS board of directors collectively reflect on the past year and walk us through three areas of emphasis for the years ahead: racial justice and decolonization; (anti)austerity; and knowledge production and accessibility. The line of inquiry that connects the four research articles is that of the Canadian classroom. The authors explore such matters as food pedagogy, food security, school food programs and bento. Also on offer are Paul Manning’s Perspective on what can happen when fences are made to stand between white-tailed deer and community gardens, while Pineau et al. explore experiences of food insecurity, shame, stigma, and social exclusion among women in high-income countries. 145 pages of reading material, including two book reviews on the subjects of pork and factory farms and food justice and gentrification. We conclude the issue with a submission format that is new to the journal: an interview with a key thinker, actor, and/or practitioner in the field of food. For this inaugural interview we find ourselves in the best company to be had, with Wayne Roberts (1944–2021): food systems thinker, public intellectual, and “actionist.” (photo: Alexia Moyer)
FLEdGE (Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged) PartnershipVol. 8 No. 2 (2021)
The Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE) SSHRC-funded Partnership has deep roots in relationships developed over time among academics and community-based practitioners. FLEdGE emerged from community-driven research in Ontario on food hubs and community resilience dating from 2010. From there it expanded to include seven research nodes across Canada and three thematic international working groups, with over 90 researchers, students, and community partners involved in the project.
This themed section's nine papers provide an opportunity to reflect on and question the Good Food Principles, the co-evolution of the food landscape in Canada and accompanying research. (Photo: Alexia Moyer).
O is for open (as well as optimal, operable, optimistic, organic)Vol. 8 No. 1 (2021)
Much as we might like to think of the academy as an enlightened domain of pure knowledge creation, it is inextricably linked to financial and corporate influences. The business of academic publishing is a complex ecosystem of actors, processes, expectations, and perversions. Many of us have encountered—indeed, reinforced—such entanglements. But when we start to unpack this system, it can present some pretty nefarious effects. Within the morass of issues, advocates for Open are trying to imagine another way of doing things. Open education and open educational resources (OER), open publishing, and open distribution are all part of the eco-system of open knowledge. (photo: Alexia Moyer)
A problematic of plentyVol. 7 No. 2 (2020)
The seeds from a Gete-Okosomin squash were gifted to me a few years ago by Audrey Logan, an Indigenous elder living in Winnipeg. Through a partnership with Roots to Harvest and the Indigenous Food Circle in Thunder Bay, they were grown out this summer and prepared with students from Matawa First Nation on an open fire with moose meat and wild rice. We are learning about and experiencing the way this incredible Gete-Okosomin squash weaves together stories of the sacred relationships between people and plants. Its history speaks to the devastation of colonialism but also of a powerful journey of resurgence. (photo: Charles Z Levkoe)
“Its smoke must make it blind” : Fire and a commitment to regenerationVol. 7 No. 1 (2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has made visible some of the most problematic elements of modern society. People and communities that have been made most vulnerable throughout history are being impacted much more severally by the disease itself, but also by the impact of isolation, job losses and the additional mental and physical stress. The deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Chantel Moore, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rodney Levi, among countless others, at the hands of police are (yet another) wake-up call to the ongoing systemic oppressions that are part of a living reality for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. In Canada, there is a particularly nefarious history of Black and Indigenous people being disproportionately killed by police, incarcerated, and treated as second class citizens. The burning that is so apparent in this moment is not an explosion that incinerates everything in its path but a slow burn that has been in motion for hundreds of years and is only increasing in intensity. What we are seeing and experiencing today are the implications of capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and settler-colonial systems and structures that have been intentionally established to benefit those in power at the expense of the majority of the world’s population. (Photo: Alexia Moyer).
The social and informal economy of foodVol. 6 No. 3 (2019)
While the “social economy” and “informal economy” have traditionally been regarded as separate areas of research, findings from a number of Canadian studies indicate significant overlap between the two. First, both share an emphasis on personal relationships, trust, and non-market values—which are inherently challenging to define, and often impossible to quantify. Second, both offer spaces for non-traditional forms of innovation as well as opportunities for deep insights into social relationships, cultural meanings, and environmental values. Most importantly, both challenge us to think of economic systems in far more complex ways than mainstream economic theory would propose. In this special issue, we offer a set of papers and field reports that detail the work of several community food initiatives, link our observations to broader bodies of literature in food studies and in social economy, and invite other researchers to engage in this discussion and collective efforts.
A medley of food researchVol. 6 No. 2 (2019)
This issue showcases insights into culinary tourism and culinary school, consumption behaviour patterns, and agricultural/farm issues (farm safety and supply management). Two articles feature valuable perspective son food and food sovereignty from Métis grandmothers and Cree Elders. The emphasis on qualitative and investigative research illustrates a respect for studies that delve into deeper layers of understanding about food-related topics. The reviews recommend books that have documented examples of political-economic dominance in the food system and how this hegemony continues to influence the foods made available to us and even to the way many of us feel about food.
Special Issue: Food procurementVol. 6 No. 1 (2019)
Food procurement involves the acquisition of food, often through a tendering process, whether in the public, private, or third sector. Within the public sector, food procurement covers a range of institutions, such as schools, universities, hospitals, and prisons. In the private sector, large corporations such as Google purchase food for on-site cafeterias. And in the third sector, non-profit organizations such as FoodShare and The Stop buy food for meal programs and cooking classes. The leveraging capacity of procurement is supported by the fact that public-sector catering in a country like the UK represents seven percent of total food expenditure, with the National Health Service being the single largest purchaser of food. The history of public food procurement can be seen as “a story of untapped potential.” Private and third-sector procurement share this potential to unleash what has been termed “the power of the public plate.” The sheer volume of food purchased through food procurement programs carries enormous possibilities for the evolution of food systems. As Morgan and Morley (2014) observe, food procurement is a powerful instrument for creating social, economic, and environmental change.
Special issue: Building an integrated Food Policy for CanadaVol. 5 No. 3 (2018)
The effects of climate change, neoliberalization, corporate consolidation, declining access to healthy food and country food, and the overall lack of democratic accountability of the food system have left many to conclude that we are at a critical juncture for how food is produced, harvested, distributed, and consumed in Canada. While a Food Policy for Canada is only a first step towards achieving a more healthy, just and sustainable food system, it is an important one. We recognize that the upcoming policy will be just the beginning; many pressing questions remain about how the policy will be implemented and what mechanisms will be used to ensure its realization. There will be many perspectives and tensions within these discussions going forward. This special issue is intended to be a contribution to the crucial work ahead. (photo: Kath Clark/USC Canada)
Special Issue: Focus on Indigenous FoodVol. 5 No. 2 (2018)
Grassroots activism by individuals and organizations like Leesee Papatsie and Feeding My Family has brought national and international attention to the challenges facing many Indigenous communities in regards to the high cost of food in the Far North. While extremely important, the current struggles faced by Inuit communities in northern Canada are only one piece of the story. The histories of Indigenous foodways and practices are vast and traverse multiple geographies and spaces (urban and rural, northern and southern, land and water, etc.) Indigenous foodways include diverse worldviews and epistemologies; incorporate different land management activities/strategies; feature the many patterns and practices of survivance, resistance, and resurgence; combine Indigenous and Western food systems and practices; and encompass the imposition of colonial and corporate policy and governmentality. (image: En’owkin Centre Breastfeeding Art Expo)
Special Issue: A spotlight on feminist food studiesVol. 5 No. 1 (2018)
The idea for this special issue emerged from the enthusiastic response to a day-long series of sessions on feminist food studies that were held during the joint conference of the Canadian Association of Food Studies, the Association for the Study of Food and Society, and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, in 2016, in Scarborough, Ontario. The sessions brought together feminist food scholars from across Canada and the U.S. to share their work and to collectively claim space within the conference program to address feminist perspectives in food studies. For the many presenters and attendees at the sessions, the opportunity to gather together and savour more than the usual one or two conference sessions devoted to feminist perspectives was a long-awaited pleasure that did not disappoint. The presenters and audience members illuminated many of the issues, complexities, and perspectives that an explicitly feminist lens brings to food studies. The energy and excitement that infused the room as each presenter shared their work filled our plates that day. Yet there are many more ways that feminist food studies can and should continue to grow. (photo: Erik De Leon; visual effects: Natalie Doonan)
Opportunities and spaces for changeVol. 4 No. 2 (2017)
The contributions to this issue of Canadian Food Studies manifest a keen insight: with different media, methods, and voices, we continue to reimagine spaces for food—where and how we consume and grow food, and how we position it in an increasingly democratic, commensal domain. The more food plays a central role in various spaces, the more opportunities arise for multiple transformations in other aspects of human interaction. How better to represent a food space than through the voices of eaters? The 10-minute soundtrack in the audiovisual work by Mélanie Binette features several francophone regulars at Le Chic Resto Pop, expressing how this affordable restaurant in their low-income Montreal community has affected their lives. When they don headphones and listen to a half-hour recording of other patron’s stories, it encourages them to make contact with others and reduce their isolation. (photo: Patrick Ma. “Invisible Guests.” a participant listens to a sound installation at Le Chic Resto Pop.)
Changing food status and perceptionVol. 4 No. 1 (2017)
In this issue we present several original research articles that offer critical, in-depth analyses of evolving practices in various “alternative” food settings, coupled with perceptions among farmers, retailers, and consumers about their roles and choices in this ever-changing milieu. It becomes clear, from this collective research—derived from the voices of producers, sellers and eaters in longitudinal studies—that the meanings of food can be transformed, and that these meanings can in turn transform food operations, networks, and even identities. Sabrina Doyon’s study, for example, illustrates this perfectly: over time, the common eel and sturgeon fish caught in the St. Lawrence River estuary have become in-demand status food, leading to efforts to certify it as a PGI (protected geographical indication). She asks the critical questions: Would this type of certification, applied to local fish, help build its image as alternative? Would it contribute to an alternative distribution network? (photo: David Szanto)
Forming and Informing TransformationVol. 3 No. 2 (2016)
A common thread weaves throughout the articles in this issue: one of transformative change—either already in progress or still needed—among individuals, communities, and food systems. The theme extends to an experimental book-review format introduced by associate editor Phil Mount, in response to the dilemma of reviewing edited volumes that are by nature heterogeneous in content. The solution: a composite in which every chapter is individually reviewed. This issue thus contains 15 chapter reviews for Cities and Agriculture: Developing Resilient Urban Food Systems (by Henk de Zeeuw & Pay Drechsel) and 17 mini-reviews for each of the chapters in How Canadians Communicate VI: Food Promotion, Consumption, and Controversy (by Charlene Elliott). Such lengthy reviews do require extra effort, but, as Mount points out, it can be a satisfying collective project resulting in greater depth of analysis—and certainly a greater sense, for the reader, of what an edited book offers. (photo: David Szanto)
Data, discourse, and divergenceVol. 3 No. 1 (2016)
This issue takes us across the country, highlighting particular communities where food-related transformation is happening, encouraging us to think differently about technology and subjectivity. Notably, the methods used by several authors involve critically dissecting language—whether that be the discourse or terminology used by food systems change-makers or by people who are themselves affected by food system change. Often, the ordinariness of familiar terms or concepts belies their complexity and hidden sides, necessitating closer scrutiny. “Big data” is one such phenomenon, upon which Kelly Bronson and Irena Knezevic shine a critical spotlight. Showing how current data sources and data collection technologies differ from those of the past, the authors make the case that current big data are more than neutral numbers, but benefit productivist food regimes. (photo: David Szanto)
Special Issue: Mapping the Global Food LandscapeVol. 2 No. 2 (2015)
The global food landscape is changing rapidly. In 2007–08, food prices soared and remained volatile in the following years, effectively leading to a world food crisis that drove tens of millions of people into poverty and hunger. A phenomenal increase in large-scale farmland acquisitions in developing countries by a range of investors is leaving land rights in question for many small-scale producers while land grabbing is also occurring in the global North. There is also growing corporate concentration in the international food industry, from agricultural input firms to trading firms to production and processing and food retail. A changing global climate with associated unpredictable weather and crop yields complicates this picture, as does a steady increase in the application of agricultural biotechnology worldwide. To counter these global forces, communities around the world are imagining and building alternative locally based and interconnected food systems grounded in the idea of food sovereignty to ensure food security, ecological sustainability and social justice. (photo: David Szanto)
Knowing and GrowingVol. 2 No. 1 (2015)
What do we mean by "food studies"? Is it a distinct field or not, and what might it encompass? This issue starts, poignantly, with a commentary that summarizes some intense deliberations on these questions at the 2014 meeting of the Canadian Association for Food Studies. The authors conclude by suggesting that “food studies scholars and practitioners...traverse not just disciplinary boundaries, but epistemological boundaries.” This entails more than different methodologies, as they point out, but may open up a broader typological range of research questions, examine how food can serve as a catalyst for exploring new issues, and expand the possibilities of where, or to whom, researchers can turn as a source of learning. (photo: David Szanto)
Book Reviews (and an event review!)Vol. 1 No. 2 (2014)
In response to a flurry of new books (and an art exhibition!) about food and food systems, this issue is entirely composed of reviews: Food Will Win the War: The Politics, Culture, and Science of Food on Canada’s Home Front (Ian Mosby); The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food (Dan Barber); Alternative Trade – Legacies for the Future (Gavin Fridell); The Politics of the Pantry: Stories, food and social change (Michael Mikulak); Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat (Philip Lymbery & Isabel Oakeshott); Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (James Daschuk); The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Agriculture (Tony Weis); and Hedonistika Montreal (Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art). (photo: Philippe Jasmin)
DébutVol. 1 No. 1 (2014)
This inaugural issue of Canadian Food Studies exemplifies the range of publishing categories that we aim to support over the years to come. We hope to encourage writers, researchers, community members, and food practitioners to use the voice that most comfortably expresses the essence of their work. A mix of ‘languages’—whether first person narrative, conventional academic, audio/visual, or other forms of expression—allows and encourages boundaries to be challenged. In the world of food studies, diversity is key. Stories must be told, geographical areas compared, injustices exposed, and successes lauded. Meanings and insights derive from robust analysis, constructive critique, and context that includes historical, philosophical, social, political, economic, and cultural perspectives. Welcome to our début! (photo: David Szanto)