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New PBS show “Food Forward” Addresses Problems in our Food System

Fact #1: we live in a consumer culture.

Fact #2: We enjoy watching shows that create fantasy worlds for the audience.

The other day I posted about this, pointing out that consumer fantasy allows the Food Network, for example, to blend content and promotion which in turn generates profit for the network, but also closes off our ability to be exposed to a wider range of discourses about food (Ketchum, 232). Since no advertiser wants to promote their product on a show that addresses controversial issues surrounding food or health, the more deeply tied show content becomes to selling goods, the less likely we are to be exposed to any serious issues within our contemporary food system (Ketchum, 232).

While the Food Network hasn’t announced any new shows- I’m proud to say that PBS has. According to the Huffington Post, Food Forward might not teach you about hot new restaurants or ingredients, but you will learn about food issues that face a lot of Americans. In a press release emailed to the HP, Greg Roden (the show’s director) said:

Food Forward offers something different. Our program goes beyond celebrity chefs, cooking competitions and recipes to reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions from Americans striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to how and what we eat.

Sounds good to me. I wonder who’s sponsoring the show, how long it will last, and how deeply it will delve into issues within our food system.

Meat n’ masculinity

I read a post by Mariane Nestle the other day titled the ethics of meat-eating: A feminist issue?.  In it, she describes the recent fuss over the all-male judging panel selected for the New York Times contest calling on “carnivores to tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat”. According to Nestle and others, the all-male panel reaffirms our cultures investment in the identification of meat eating with manliness.When Michele Simon, author of the blog Appetite for Profit, asked the paper’s Ethicist columnist Ariel Kaminer why the panel was all-male “Kaminer replied that she couldn’t find one female expert in food ethics with a fraction of the name recognition of the men. She argued that the famous male judges would bring far more attention to the contest, and in turn get more people to consider the ethics of meat eating.” Simon then goes on to suggest a list of 10 worthy women that should have been considered for the panel (Nestle being #1 on this list).

Personally, I think Nestle’s should have been considered for the panel given her background in food ethics, however, as a feminist and huge fan of her work, I acknowledge my bias. What do you think: should women be included in this panel, or is all the fuss over nothing?