Week 9- 03/07/2017
“…But the hovering wasp begs the question of whether it threatens the watermelon or the child. Here again we see the simultaneous aggression toward and desire for the black body…[the bite] inflicts pain…obliterating the signs of her existence, or, at the very least, by reducing her physical presence in the world one mouth at a time” (Tompkins, 2012: 169, 171).
“Although soy beans were introduced to the United States from Asia on a number of occasions throughout the nineteenth century, it was not until the end of the century that Americans would treat the plant as more than just a novelty” (Newman, 2013: 140).
“Food media is predominantly generated by white people for white people, so when the subject veers toward anything outside of the Western canon, it’s not uncommon to see things generalised, exotified, or misrepresented…I think microaggressions in social media are reflective of food media as a whole in that appropriation,” (Noche, 2017).
From this week’s reading, I was repeatedly struck by passages formed from historical context; I pulled them together to represent the ways that food has repeatedly embodied racism. Throughout the past weeks, I have examined the presence of identity in kitchens, relationships created between cooks and eaters, the independence of women within domesticity, the significance of kitchens with and without hearth, and the fetishism of buzzword food. Last week, I focused on the commodification of the young black male body through music, and this week, that analysis continues.
In Racial Indigestion, Tomkins reflects on the open-ended questions that still remain from this era of trading card advertisements. She suggests that products that carried these cards were not solely purchased by white women, but were purchased by black people too. With this involvement in the economic market, black consumers were now valuable to producers, not only because of the producers’ continued advertising of the erotic black body, but because of their participation in the commodity market. This same sentiment is clear in The Secret Financial Life of Food. Soybeans were not considered valuable until it became clear that there was a market for them due to their numerous uses. However, despite this use, trading cards still depicted black people as bodies that were not sentient, but could still be inflicted with pain.
Like the “bite” that Tompkins mentioned, food photographers also misrepresent the historical and cultural meanings of food. This microaggression is part due to the exoticism that non-Western foods have for Western folks.
I didn’t do much this week. Well, okay, I finished my paper, confirmed my plans for spring quarter, and participated in organizing a rad BDSM workshop and hosted a breakout session about healing. Life is good.
Before I started writing my paper, I had an intense moment of understanding where I realized how arbitrary writing a research paper actually is. This wasn’t a great way to start. I realized how little I wanted to write this paper and how much I wanted to create art and writing in a different medium than what I had assigned myself.
Eighteen pages later, the paper was completed! I am joyous to have discovered what mediums I truly want to work with, and despite how arbitrary everything felt, I am still content that I decided to write it.
I didn’t write an abstract, but here is my conclusion:
This paper has highlighted the significance of alternative food movements in the context of the academic study of the organization of social movements. My final argument is for the implementation of community gardens in urban neighborhood to be considered their own social movement. The group work aspect of community gardens is a mode for identity validation and community building through healing. Activists working in community gardens develop centers of support within their neighborhood and the garden itself works as an outlet for expression and relief. Gardens provide economic support by supplementing produce for the households that have participants working in the garden as well as providing education opportunities for community members. In the scope of alternative food justice, community gardens fit into a cultural ecology that overlaps with other food-related social movements. Collectives that produce CSAs, the international Slow Food Movement, farmers markets, and campaigns for slow food all encompass similar values, yet meet people in different ways. Area in which some movements fail, such as economic accessibility, are met with alternatives through other movements. Specifically, community gardens provide centralized spaces of community healing, act as a place-making marker, provide supplement food for families without cost, and uplift people who identify with oppressed groups. In the context of the current administration in the United States, the people who primarily work in gardens, women, immigrants, community elders, people of color, and school-aged children, have the opportunity to build and strengthen their communities through collective gardening action as progressive action against their own oppression. Community gardens work in ways that the Slow Food Movement has not. Although not completely ineffective, the Slow Food movement is perceived as being inaccessible for anyone who does not qualify as middle class and white. Community gardens on the other hand are seen as less elitist and more inclusionary than the Slow Food movement because of the more intimate scope of impact that community gardens have. The anti-authoritarian structure of gardening is also what makes it an approachable movement. With nonhierarchical structures and grass roots leadership that is in the control of minority groups, community gardening can be more effective for local communities than international movements. The similarity in ideologies may be similar, but the scope of the movement is what qualifies it as being more efficient than another.
On Wednesday, I went to the academic fair to speak to Dave and confirm that he received my online application for POF that I had sent in on Monday. Looks like I will officially be a part of POF for this next season- great!
Since the beginning of February, I have been organizing a BDSM workshop with four of my friends/coworkers. On Friday, we hosted the workshop with Allena Gabosch, sex activist, and over 150 people attended! We were absolutely high over the overwhelming turn out. During the workshop, we had a couple of breakout sessions. I hosted the session about aftercare and healing. I provided eight different dried herbs and had a couple of different activities that people could participate in and make their own aftercare kit. After all the work I have been doing this quarter about healing and about community connection, this event was a perfect ending to this quarter. (Thank you to everyone who attended!)
This was a busy week. I was in a bit of a panic after not getting much work done for my project. The good news is that I had a bunch of activities scheduled that would take up some log hours and lead to some productivity with my final paper. Here’s a quick look into my week:
On Sunday, I ended up finding Rachel Laudan’s writing and I spent over six hours looking at her blog and reading her articles from the past decade. I was really interested in her writing because she is a food historian and had a lot to say about the myth of authenticity and is very critical of the Slow Food Movement. While reading her work, I kept on getting sidetracked by other writers and soon enough, I had spent an entire day reading critiques of slow and local food.
Here is the link to her blog: http://www.rachellaudan.com/
This article struck me in particular. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9HbgKDkUrDEM2NjOThkZjAtYTUyNS00NDYxLWI0NDMtMDUwYzcwODQyOWY1/view?ddrp=1&authkey=CP2XufED&hl=en#
I am a fan on the way that Laudan writes, however, I did not necessarily agree with what she wrote in A Plea for Culinary Modernism: Why We Should Love New, Fast, Processed Food. Her recount of food history is phenomenal and I am continually compelled by the words she uses; however from the beginning, we have different understandings on the basis of slow foodie politics. She writes, “That food should be fresh and natural has become an article of faith” and seems to negate the intentions of Slow Food advocates to be out of Luddism. The rest of the article proceeds to tell the history of processed and canned foods around the world and the revolution of taste that occurred because of such. Laudan argues that foodies are against this history and are privileged to think that they can procure all their food from their local environment. However, from my own perceptions and my own scholarship, I would argue that this is a very generalized case. I don’t believe that Slow Food advocates have any issue with canning and fermenting foods, and are in no way abandoning taste for environmental consciousness. There is a balance between the two without criticizing all slow food lovers of being Luddites. The historical trade of recipes and spices has opened a new kind of connection that people can experience tastes from far away while still using the majority of ingredients from their own regions.
On Thursday, I attended the last practical farm workshop with Dave’s SOS. We went to work in the heated green house after a short lecture on divisions and cuttings. Beth had collected stem cuttings from a variety of plants around the farm for us to practice making divisions. After cutting the stems in three to 12 inch pieces, we dipped them in a willow tea and then placed them in a contained of perlite (making certain that at least one node was covered with perlite). After a week or so, hopefully the cuttings will have started to make roots and after those roots are strong enough, they can be replanted in soil. We also made cuttings with soft wood and herbaceous plants. The pictures that I have are from the herbaceous cuttings.
Here is a list of common rooting media:
- Half sand/half peat moss
- Half sand/half vermiculite
- Half perlite/half vermiculite
Dave also mentioned another method for rooting where you fill a container with peat moss at the bottom and add a mixture of vermiculite, perculite, and sand on top of that. The point of this is that the roots get to where the moisture is without attracting mold. A plastic tent can then be placed over the container for high humidity and mist-ers work to occasionally spray plants.
On Saturday, I volunteered at the Art of Giving Fundraiser in Tacoma at Hotel Murano. I helped out as a bid recorder and during the live auction, recorded bidder numbers and final prices. One of the items was the Farm to Table dinner that will be hosted at the Organic Farm on September 9th. The final price was set at $175 and there were about 20 people who bought tickets.
Overall, this was a fun event to attend and got me more excited about editing the first proof of concept of the Organic Farm biodynamic calendar this spring. My hope is that by September, there will be at least one completed season ready for print. And, if Archer, Annie, and Daniel are still interested, could be given away as a gift for the Farm to Table participants.
Throughout this week, I also finished my outline for my final paper. This is always the most exhausting part of writing for me and it wasn’t better this time around given that I have read over 60 articles and books this quarter. I finally got it done, and taped all of the quotes I am using up on my bedroom wall. I am looking forward to being done with this paper; it’s been a long quarter!
"The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot."--audre lorde
So far this quarter, Week 7 has probably been my least productive academic week given that it has been by busiest workweek. Lesson learned… I spend some time reflecting on new work strategies so that I don’t overbook myself and run out of energy by Wednesday!
After spending the last couple of weeks designating a few hours to preparing how to teach using Zotero and Zotpress software, I hosted a class Zotero Workshop on Tuesday.
I was incredibly nervous going into it. Despite being rather tech-savvy, I am not as knowledgeable about html coding as I would like to be, and given that the entirety of Zotpress is making code that will link one’s Zotero library to their WordPress blog, I was definitely in a vulnerable place of realizing I may not be able to help people as fully as someone else could have. I ended up doing a bit of research about coding, but mostly, I used the cheat-sheets that the Zotpress software supplies for users.
I was also hesitant about the amount of time that we had to present this workshop. Last year when I was learning Zotero from Amy Greene in the Terroir program, we had three hours designated for the workshop and given the technical difficulties that were experienced in that time, I was anxious about the same things happening again. Somehow, things went smoothly and I was able to present everything that I had to show to the class, excluding a few more advanced skills, that I believe people will figure out for themselves over time.
Here is the guide that I created for this presentation: quick zotero guide
I agreed to do this presentation because last year when I first learned Zotero, I was not impressed with the site. However, in Spring quarter of 2016, I started using it more and became more excited about all of the features that I discovered and how simple it made saving and accessing resources. I use Zotero all the time, for academic and non-academic work and I wanted to let more people in on the simplicity of Zotero.
As my practice using Zotero has increased, I have found that, as a student, it is incredible empowering to be able to have my own collection of resources and to be able to share libraries with other scholars.
Past bibliographies are accessible anywhere and I like that Zotero saves links to return back to the original site of the source to reread. I find that I am more likely to treasure the information that I am using and reuse it when available for new projects.
Being able to connect to others through words and find credible information is becoming much more challenging in a nation where the media is slandered for sharing truth that administrative elites find insulting. It’s only the beginning of 2017, and I am not the only person to feel that the safety of the first amendment is questionable. Having these online libraries that connect scholars and their research can be a tool of resistance to spreading truth to the public. Individual libraries could be used as collections for different resources about social justice issues or community healing. Group libraries can be used to connect like-minded people together who want to share resources of strength and persistence through the study of any given subject.
The way in which we choose to use Zotero will impact the work that we can accomplish. My biggest takeaway from presenting this workshop is that Zotero can be used for more than just academic research, but for connecting people together through research.
Week 8- February 28, 2017
“The public story of black male lives narrated by rap music speaks directly to and against white racist domination, but only indirectly hints at the enormity of black male pain. Constructing the black male body as site of pleasure and power, rap and the dances associated with it suggest vibrancy, intensity, and an unsurpassed joy in living. It may very well be that living on the edge, so close to the possibility of being “exterminated” (which is how many young black males feel) heightens one’s ability to risk and make one’s pleasure more intense” (hooks, 1992, 377)
“The black mouth continues to serve as a proxy for the white mouth, for white feeling, but it also metonymizes the presence of black consuming public, as it navigates the consumer phantasmorgoria of the period, employing spectacular moments of visability to become opaque—solid, in other words, present and real” (Tompkins, 2012, 148)
Throughout the history of literature, speech, including the most recent modern period, the narrator often uses words such as “digestible” or “palatable” to describe information or knowledge that fits their own definition of comfortable. In the context of the two passages I chose this week, the white mind uses the black body to further elevate, and sometimes to enlighten, its own political self. While racism through white supremacy is widely unpopular, the “good white person,” (read: the unintentionally racist person) continues to benefit from hierarchical structures of power.
In Eating the Other, hooks writes about the creation and distribution of rap music written by black artists. Originally an art form used to express painful experiences and feelings of young black men, rap music has become palatable for white audiences who do not relate to the history behind the genre. The commodification of the black voice for white minds has de-radicalized the politics within the music. Furthermore, a genre that was once an outlet for emotion has transformed to meet racist and sexist stereotypes to satisfy the white audience that has commoditized it. While black men are in control of a “powerful public voice,” they do not have the liberty to articulate that pain. Therefore, as it is alluded to in Racial Indigestion, the work of the black musician is produced to satisfy the emotions of the white listener instead of the artist. The black artist has a platform for creation, yet the work is separate from body, mind, and emotions, to produce a digestible product for the white audience.
Week 7- February 21, 2017
“Making bread—the kneading, the rising or fermentation, and the baking—thus becomes a metaphor for the formation of a live political self” (Tompkins, 2012, 124).
In Louisa May Alcott’s novels, when women bake bread, they seek independence. The skills that are gained from a life of domesticity are the key to what will free women from their families are provide them the opportunity to live their own life. However, Tompkins analysis of Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom lead me to ask if the independence the characters find is truly liberating. I found discomfort while reading the assigned chapter this week and I come away from the reading this week and argue that Grahamite values and the domesticity that surrounds bread making does not allow for the liberation of women.
Rose Campbell’s relationship with her uncle ensures that she will maintain her domestic status no matter what independence she is able to claim herself. Rose is also separated from returning to the primitive, although she does experience it with her relationship with Phebe and her journey from the china-closet to the kitchen.
In Eight Cousins, Rose is adopted by her uncle, Alec; their relationship is erotic because of Alec’s unrequited lust for Rose’s mother. Dr. Alec replaces the medication given to Rose by her aunts with pills made from bread. Tompkins describes this gesture as “enclosing,” possibly because this separates Rose from female figures and introduces Rose to Grahamite values that demand temperance and therefore, evoke domesticity. Tompkins also mentions that the Campbells’ history of sailing and sea captains promotes the historical wealth and tradition of the family, something that Rose will never be able to leave. Rose, like many other female characters is Alcott’s books look for freedom, but it is unlikely that they will find it. They have been taught the gift of domesticity, and will only have independence from the house they grew up in, never the societal expectations that they will continue producing domesticity.
I am exhausted. This was a really busy week for work, and it definitely shows in what I was and was not able to complete for my project this week. This entire quarter has just been a rough one for me and this week has probably been the worst yet. Despite all the bad, I feel supported by everyone around me and I am ready for all of the exciting non-research things I have to look forward to in the spring!
Here’s some of what I did:
Farm Worker’s Justice Day
On Wednesday, I attended the Farm Worker’s Justice Day morning panel. The panelists spoke a lot about the tribunal process and what to expect at the one coming up later this month. The tribunal process is the one of the most useful strategies they have to inspire change. The policy makers are not connected to the workers or the people who are at a ground level rallying for workers’ rights. The tribunal is all about inviting policy makers to come listen to the voices of the people who matter and make change through policy action. The date for the tribunal is February 27th from 2-4pm at the Capitol building.
I had a meeting this week to speak to Amy Greene about using Zotpress. Last week, I met with Paul to talk about Zotero so it was great to make that connection between Zotero and using the Zotpress feature on WordPress. In order to prepare for the workshop on Tuesday, I needed to amp up my own bibliography for some practice. This always takes longer than I imagine it will, and I haven’t even added annotations yet. Part of preparing for the workshop also included making a demo website for teaching purposes, I’m glad I’m doing this now so that I have a resource for the next time I need to demonstrate these skills to a new group of people.
On Thursday, I attended the Thursday farming workshop with Dave’s SOS. Dave lectured briefly about raspberries plants and how their structure determines how we prune them. I am still very new to pruning, so it was helpful to have the chance to work with raspberries after learning about apples and kiwis a few weeks prior.
I learned that raspberries only fruit on one year old wood. Prima canes shoot up from the underground ribosome and can grow about six to nine feet in the first season. Prima canes will only grow fruit at the top quarter of the plant. Second year wood, flora canes grow fruit on secondary growth (laterals) but will not produce fruit anywhere that fruit was produced the year before (top quarter of the prima cane).
The intention of the day was to top any prima canes to control height and to cut out any dead flora canes that would not reproduce.
On Friday, I met with Sarah and Martha Rosemeyer to hear what they are envisioning for the Organic farm calendar. To catch everyone up, I am beginning work this quarter on a project that will truly begin at the beginning of Spring quarter. I am planning on taking the Practice of Organic Farming and will be taking on an independent project at the same time. For anyone familiar with Stella Natura’s biodynamic calendars, this project echoes that. The goal is to create a biodynamic calendar/Farmer’s Almanac style-book that combines creative writing, art, recipes, and research produced by students in POF. This would then be sold at the farm stand on Red Square. The first copy (proof of concept) will focus on either the spring or summer season and will be auctioned off at the farm-to-table dinner happening at the end of summer.
So far, I’ve been in communication with Sarah, Martha, and Dave. I’ve also started emailing Joel, an Evergreen graduate that creates biodynamic mandalas whose art we will possibly be using in the issue. Joel is much more familiar with biodynamics than I am and he has offered a few book titles that I will be trying to access at the library soon.
I’m thrilled about this project and I’m hoping that if there is anyone else out there interested in working on it, we can throw ideas around. This is a large project that we are hoping will turn into an annual thing, so now is the perfect time to share any thoughts or feelings you may have!
Creating presentation for interview
This next Tuesday (same day as Zotero workshop, I have great time management, you see) I have to give a presentation for my job. I work in Student Affairs and so I will be talking about supporting student activism on campus. I dug through a lot of my older notes from this quarter while planning it as well as finding a few resources about social organization and change within higher education.
A large portion of my presentation is about community building and the foundations of building community where dialogue about social change can happen. Schroeder and Minor wrote about the Six I’s of Community Development that are present in authentic communities where each individual is involved in the community, invested in its growth, and views the community as greater than their self. I used this model because it is similar to the models I have read regarding activist communities and social organizations and found that it will be most accessible to the people who I am presenting the information to. The main lesson that I am sharing with this presentation is that universities need student transformative leaders who are demanding change through action on and off campus. As a whole, I am offering ideas in my presentation about how to support these students (primarily through reproductive labor) and offering health and counseling services that theses students will need in response to the kinds of activism they are involved with.
The final Powerpoint that I am presenting isn’t quite done, but I will be sure to publish it somewhere on this website when it is complete.
This was a dense week of reading. There was no Thursday practicum workshop or any other lecture aside from the Tuesday class schedule to go to so I spent the majority of the week going back and forth between online journals and piles of print-outs. This was necessary, because I have felt that I needed to do some more reading about the impacts of community gardens and small farming cooperatives on communities.
I felt especially aggressive toward defending the field of critical food studies after reading Jennifer Ruark’s article, More Scholars Focus on Historical, Social, and Cultural Meanings of Food, but Some Critics Say It’s Scholarship-Lite and as a result I was much determined to talk about education and food with the people around me.
On Tuesday I went to the Bee Think Tank meeting, a collaboration between a handful of Evergreen organizations and clubs to talk about collaborative efforts to bring about bee education to this campus. The folks from WashPIRG are on a mission to become a certified BeeCampus by completing the requirements from Bee City USA so a lot of the meeting was focused on how to create activities that would fit those needs.
I can say that this meeting was a great chance to see how students organize and the work of different leadership styles in action. I also took note of the overall knowledge (and perceived knowledge) that was present in the room and how that was reflecting itself on the people who came to participate. I will certainly be keeping a look out for further things that come from the people leading this mission and hopefully helping advise projects that are related to preserving pollinators at Evergreen.
Aside from this meeting, I truly was reading all week. Here is the link to the bibliography that I completed between Friday and Sunday.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the perceptions of alternative agriculture and food movements around the world. I read studies and articles about people in Toronto, Great Britain, and Palestine, to name a few, who were positively benefitting from the presence of community gardens and local food in their neighborhoods. Many people in these studies were attracted to the community gardens because their identity was valued and they could connect with other people who were oppressed for similar identity traits. More than just food, the gardens all seemed to be about community development and connections between neighbors. After reading numerous articles during the first half of the quarter that were smiting the Slow Food Movement, I was surprised to find all these resources praising the effects of alternative agriculture for historically oppressed people.
I later realized that the majority of articles that were opposed to Slow Food and alternative agriculture were written in the United States. As a country, the majority of us seem to see local food as an elitist product, and at times, it certainly is. However, it is clear that this argument is all about perception, and in many cases, nationalism. While there are certainly local food movements that capitalize on elitist ideologies, more so on a global level are led by oppressed farm workers that work for the expansion of local food because they cannot economically compete with industrialized agriculture.
Week 5- February 6, 2017
“The rise of huge distribution networks changed the way business was conducted in a sweeping way…produce business was merely a kitchen-garden offshoot of the mighty Midwest grain machine…the ability to roof chicken coops with aluminum helped maintain even temperatures inside the buildings year round. As a result, chickens began laying eggs all twelve months of the year rather than just in March, April, and May”(Newman, 2013: 64, 65, 72).
Did someone say food fight? U.S. farmers-and especially those in California—fret over a possible trade war
“Even a small alteration in trade — a strike, slowdown or other protest in Mexico, for example — could hit consumers, who expect fruits and vegetables in the produce aisles year-round, regardless of growing seasons… resolving a tiff in one economic sector by using food as a pawn is not an unusual tactic. Food frequently bears a steeper penalty in trade wars because it carries a lot of political clout.” (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-agriculture-trade-20170206-story.html)
“From the kitchen she seems to speak from power, and a power that is undercut by the broad vernacular of her speech and her “natural” embrace of manual labor…she is not allowed the value of her own craft, and thus the object of her craft engulfs her…the white desire to devour black subjectivity also indicates the desire to annihilate it, to recognize the black subject only in terms of her capacity to regenerate whiteness” (Tompkins, 2012: 107, 110, 112).
Food is, and will always be, political. In The Secret Financial Life of Food, economic markets changed based on the supply and demand of eggs and dairy and the evolution of technology that allowed these items to be sold year-round instead of seasonally. Today, eggs are no longer traded because they are accessible year-round, but the competitive egg markets in the late 19th and mid 20th century called for increase production of eggs and new technology. These advancements became a part of current agri-business markets.
In the article from the LA Times, the author writes about the possibility of increased tariffs on imports from Mexico into the United States under the Trump administration. The concern is that these tax increases would cause further conflict with the Mexican government and also hurt states such as California that receive more that 40% of their state revenue from agricultural exports. While the economies of both countries would be affected, consumers and agriculturalists would also be at a loss, losing produce options in grocery stores and restaurants as well as losing money on farms.
In Racial Indigestion, Tompkins presents the person as political through the identity they have with food. The black cook’s power was present only in the kitchen, architecturally separate from the dining area. However, in literature, it is clear that she also had control over the mouths of the family who she fed, and therefore the health and wellbeing of their bodies. Yet, the cook was still object to the white family and was valued only by her capacity to sustain whiteness from the said family.