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Reflection

A wordcloud is an online tool that creates a virtual “cloud” of the most frequently used words from a piece of writing. You interpret it by looking at the patterns and representations of the words in the cloud to help one gauge an understanding of the prominent themes or topics discussed in the writing.

Some of the prominent themes in my wordcloud are “eat”, “food”, “health”, “community” and “people”. When you take a deeper look at how these words are illustrated in the cloud, one begins to see a complex web of connections. This represents my understanding of the relationship between food, health and media. Smaller words that are still dominant themes include “women”, “cooking”, “industry”, “products”, “organic”, “consumption”, “system” and “meat”. These represent noteworthy connections that I made to the overarching theme of food health and media. For example, “meat” is an appropriate size in my wordcloud as one of the topics I found myself revisiting on the blog is the relationship between meat consumption and gender performance and potential implications this has for food consumption and health practices. Check out this post to learn more.

My wordcloud also serves as an account as to how my understanding of the relationship between food, health and media has changed. I’ve learned to think more critically about food and health information, how it is communicated and the way this may impact behavior. I learned to utilize an interdisciplinary approach to enhance my understanding of the relationships between various fields of study. For example, the fact that “meat” and “women” are themes on my wordcloud reflects an ability to synthesize information on a variety of topics (primarily, women’s and gender studies, food, health and the environment) and apply it to my context. Through conducting participatory observations, engaging in readings, participating in discussions and conducting additional research on topics of interest, i’ve developed stronger media literacy skills which has allowed me to form my own opinions and thus, bring perspectives such as women’s and gender studies into the conversation of food, health and media.

Learning about strategic media planning played a significant role in the evolution of my blog as well. Reading about agenda setting and framing theories and how they affect the food and health coverage in the media shifted my expectations of media coverage on food and health issues. A solid grasp of these theories in relation to my context are evident in Partnerships between Food Industry and Health Groups. In this post, I highlight a study that reviewed 206 articles addressing the health effects of different beverages. Researchers found that the likelihood of a conclusion favorable to the industry was 4-fold to 8-fold higher if the study received full rather than no industry funding. Ultimately, this changed how I view partnerships between various stakeholders involved in food and public health issues such as obesity.

Food Without Thought also indicates a continually evolving understanding of these relationships for it demonstrates an ability to recognize my own assumptions and challenge them. This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from my time spent observing, reading, and blogging. Challenging my own assumptions has allowed me to wrangle over my thoughts until I narrow them down and eventually figure out where my opinion lies on a certain issues.

Finally, Food as Medicine details my growth from learning about Grosses’ deficit model which explains how individuals are often portrayed as ignorant compared to expert systems of knowledge. According to the deficit model, the public is represented as needing someone to “help” them, hence experts with scientific degrees and a public that relies on experts to “save” them. This allowed me recognize my own bias toward expert systems of knowledge. I realized that as a result of this I often undervalued other forms of knowledge. In order to challenge my assumption/bias, I attempted to adopt an interactional framework in my participatory observations. I began talking to employees in various departments of the co-op and getting to know regular customers. While I still referred back to expert systems of knowledge in my posts, I also started including the everyday people that I talked to. Thus, I learned to value both expert and lay systems of knowledge. This is reflected in my wordcloud with words such as “knowledge” and “public”.

WP 5/8

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Partnerships between Food Industry and Health Groups

The other day I learned that in 1984, Kellogg arranged with the National Cancer Institute to endorse a health claim for All-Bran cereal. Within 6 months, All-Bran’s market share increased by 47% (Nestle & Ludwig, 2010). Prior to 1984, there had been no endorsement of health claims on behalf of health groups. Ever since, the use of health claims on products has proliferated (in part) because it sells.  Today, partnerships between food industry and health groups have grown in number and scale. Not only do we see the visible affects (health claims on food labels, sponsorships at sporting events, etc.) but we also see the food industry’s impact on the conduct of research and thus, public health policy.

This got me thinking: given today’s obesity epidemic, how responsible are partnerships between food industry groups and health groups? Through reading and conducting online research I found these partnerships to be irresponsible. Specifically, I found these financial ties compromise the public credibility of health organizations and groups (Nestle, Ludwig, 2008).

The first partnership I examined was between PepsiCo and the YMCA. In the article Can the Food Industry Play a constructive Role in the Obesity Epidemic? Nestle and Ludwig describe how PepsiCo donated $11.6 million over 5 years to the YMCA to support an annual community day “to celebrate healthy living, encourage kids and families to get excited about physical fun and activity and .. engage kids in play to be healthy.” Nestle and Ludwig (2010) point out that focus on physical activity, characteristically without consummate attention to diet quality, appears disingenuous. In an article titled YMCA received PepsiCo Grant Mica Wilson from Healthier Lifestyles Marketing, PepsiCo was quoted saying “PepsiCo and the YMCA have a shared commitment to find better ways to help Americans lead healthier lifestyles.” If PepsiCo were truly committed to “helping Americans lead healthier lifestyles”, don’t you think they would consider making their actual product healthier?

An even more alarming situation is revealed when we consider the influence the food industry has on the conduct of research and the development of public health policy. In a study titled Relationship between Funding Source and Conclusion among Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles, researchers reviewed 206 scientific articles published over a 5-year period, all of which addressed the health effects of milk, fruit juices, and soft drinks. They found that the likelihood of a conclusion favorable to the industry was 4-fold to 8-fold higher if the study received full rather than no industry funding, raising the possibility of systematic bias (Nestle and Ludwig, 2008).

Both of the above partnerships have serious implications for public health. They are irresponsible when considering addressing the obesity epedemic for they undermine the credibility of health groups and organizations and their ability to seriously address public health concerns. It is vital that we not leave it up to the food industry, whose main purpose is to create a profit, to address public health issues. As Nestle and Ludwig point out, “appropriate checks and balances are needed to align the financial interests of the food industry with the goals of the public health”. As consumers, we must vote with our fork and think critically as to whether or not we want to support or buy into the health claims on labels and other types of partnerships between industry and health groups. If we sense something isn’t right, it’s important to raise attention to the issue, talk about it with friends and family and demand strong public health policies from our elected officials.

WP 4/27

GMO labeling bill and public representation

There’s been a lot of heat lately surrounding GMO labeling, both nationally and locally. The Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act (H.722) was introduced to the Vermont House in February. If passed, it will require mandatory labeling on all genetically engineered food. Despite overwhelming public support, and a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members supporting passage of the bill, legislators of Vermont have put the bill on hold.

In a post titled ‘Vermont Could Be the First State in the Nation to Require GMO Labeling’, City Market shows unwavering support for H. 722 and consumers right-to-know. Though the post does not include direct quotes from members of the public, it does include them in the discussion. In the below excerpt, the general public and City Market are represented as important stakeholders in this discussion:

We all have the right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our children. Yet, without information on the label, we can’t tell if our food contains GMOs unless we only buy Certified Organic products which are never allowed to contain GMO ingredients.

50 countries including the European Union, Japan and China already require labels on genetically engineered foods.

Interesting to note, is at another point in the post the public is portrayed as a separate stakeholder, specifically, separate from the experts. In a paragraph highlighting several alarming statistics about genetically engineered crops the author writes,“At the same time, scientific studies are increasingly questioning the safety of these products for our health and our environment.”

In the spirit of devil’s advocate, I’m going to argue that the above sentence privileges expert knowledge systems and as a result, undermines the knowledge of the general public. Gross (1994) argued that dominant understandings of the public’s relationship to science reflect a deficit model, where general public is considered ignorant and easily swayed by subjective biases. To make up for their deficits, the public is thought to rely on experts whose knowledge is believed to be objective and sufficient (Heiss, 2011).

While in a subtle way this sentence situates the conversation as an exchange between knowledgeable scientists and a ignorant public, I doubt it was intentional.

All in all, by emphasizing the Right to Know Campaign, the post gives authority to the public to talk about the health and environmental risks of GMO’s, thus giving the public agency in this highly important discussion.

WP 3/2

Fruit, Vegetables Not as Nutritious as 50 Years Ago

In today’s world, food and health related media is everywhere, but according to a commentary published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, this has not brought clarity to or improved understanding of a topic of such obvious impact. Therefore, as communicators of food-related science we must be diligent in our communication to ensure that it is effective in serving both public understanding and the objectives of the communicators.

Dr. Weil, a well-established practitioner in the field of integrative medicine, does a great job of this. In his post How Nutritious is Your Produce?, he discusses research indicating that the nutrient value of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. and Great Britain has declined significantly over the last 50 years.

After reading Dr. Weil’s post, I decided to read the report myself. Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence? highlights three types of evidence that point toward declines of nutrients in fruits and vegetables: (1) early studies of fertilization found inverse relationships between crop yield and mineral concentrations—the widely cited “dilution effect”; (2) three recent studies of historical food composition data found apparent median declines of 5% to 40% or more in some minerals in groups of vegetables and perhaps fruits; one study also evaluated vitamins and protein with similar results; (3) recent side-by-side plantings of low-and high-yield cultivars of broccoli and grains found consistently negative correlations between yield and concentrations of minerals and protein, a newly recognized genetic dilution effect.

Dr. Weil’s post appears to be credible for he represented the findings of the report accurately and in a way that is both informative and beneficial to the public and their understanding of food and health. Below I’ve highlighted why this post is an effective form of communication on food-science to the public:

  • Post includes the study’s limitations
  • Focuses on the most vital information (i.e. health implications), allowing the public to form the most useful net impression of the study’s findings
  • Includes hyperlink to the report published in the February, 2009 Journal of HortScience so that viewers can easily read the original research article.

Additional information from the report that I consider important to include are:

  • The fact that evidence for nutrient declines began to accumulate in the 1940s with observations of (environmental) dilution effects on minerals in many foods and diverse plants.
  • USDA’s data suggests that yields have increased more in vegetables than in fruits, which may help explain the findings of larger nutrient declines in vegetables.

WP 3/2

What’s being left out of the conversation on buying in bulk?

The bulk department of the co-op is a favorite for many customers, including myself. It’s a chance to save some money, save some packaging, and it’s one less trip you might potentially have to make to the store. Earlier this week I observed that there are several subtle marketing methods that affect consumption behavior. The discovery of the vested interests behind my food choices made me feel informed. When I went back to the bulk department yesterday, I was excited by my newfound knowledge. I felt in control and ready to dodge any food companies marketing attempt to get me to buy more.

Turns out,  it’s not that simple. Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at the University of Illinois, would argue the opposite. His research shows that the biggest influence of food is not logic or reason, but things that we aren’t even aware of. “The size of a package, shape of a glass, the words on a menu or label, our proximity to food, and other invisible influences” are what have the greatest affect on consumption (Why we eat more than we think, Wansink).

In one study looking at how much people eat when food is stockpiled, Wansink found that for the first week people that bought in bulk ate twice as much food in comparison to those that bought in small quantities.

This suggests potentially negative consequences for buying in bulk. Wansink argues that relying on our mental resistance to control how much we eat is far less affective than changing our immediate environment. That said,  customers at the co-op that filled huge bags of granola, chocolate chips, etc. will eat more, regardless of whether or not they intended to and how much self-control they have, simply because the food is stockpiled and in their immediate environment, making us take more at any given time within the first week of purchase. On the flip side,  customers that buy in smaller quantities (i.e. boxed granola) are likely eat less than if they had bought double or triple the amount.

Here’s the trick: if you still want the perks of buying in bulk, but don’t want to eat more,  make sure to transfer food to smaller bags or storage containers once you get home from the grocery store. Then, store leftover  bulk items in the basement or hard to reach place.

Luckily, we can control certain aspects of our environment such as how and where we store our food. Given that buying in bulk is cost effective and reduces our environmental footprint, I highly reccommend it, just next time consider applying these tips!

WP 4/5

Modeling Behavior: Giada at Home

Giada at Home is a show on the Food Network that I became familiar with over spring break. Although Giada doesn’t go out of her way to use local, organic or whole foods, it reminds me of my time at City Market because they sell almost all of the ingredients used in the show, and also I love to cook!

In this clip, Giada prepares Spinach Bacon Grilled Cheese for her family. The clip opens with a scene of her and her family, yet she is the only one we see in kitchen preparing food. Giada is dressed up and appears to be wearing a significant amount of make-up. In this episode (and all others that I’ve seen) we never see Giada eat the food she makes. Social Learning Theory says that we learn how to behave by modeling others behavior. Social theorist Albert Bandara uses this theory to explain potential effects of mass media on people’s behavior, asserting that “children and adults acquire attitudes, emotional responses and new styles of conduct through filmed and televised modeling”.

Under this discourse, the video of Giada at Home models behaviors that could contribute to how the public identifies with: the role of gender in the space of the kitchen, standards for physical and bodily appearance in realation to food, overall family structure and division of labor between members of the family. The gendered identity brought out by Giada at Home is illustrated by a quote from the Essence of Cooking Shows: How the Food Network Constructs Consumer Fantasies by Cheri Ketchum.

Within a tradition of women being socialized into being intimate care providers, this affirms a larger gender-stereotyped fantasy of social relations. These lone women also advised their audiences how to make meals that were sure to please others, a common selfless act that women are encouraged to engage in. For example, Sara Moulton of Sara’s Secrets asked, “Can you imagine how happy your child will be with these desserts?

Furthermore, Giada’s unusually petite size could contribute to young girls and adults feeling they need to be skinny, physically attractive, dress well and wear make-up in order to fit the role that Giada portrays (mother, chef, wife, etc.)  The fact that we rarely see Giada eat on the show may suggest that women should prepare food for their family, but not necessarily eat it, which raises many of its own questions. Given that 65% of women in the U.S. have eating disorders, the potential contribution this could have on audiences’ food practices could be highly problematic or  dangerous as women today are going to increasingly extreme lengths to look more like the unrealistic body types that are see on TV and through other media.

Another way entertainment media such at Giada at Home may impact health practices surrounding food is through consuming products (foods, appliances, etc.) that the viewer believes will make them “more like” Giada. Unsurprisingly, much of Giada’s success is attributed to her cookbooks, brand alliances and food products, and it’s not just Giada at Home, but the Food Network at large. According to Ketchum, the life-style oriented Food Network portrays ecstasy through consumption, creating new standards for entertaining, which gives people visions and advice on how to gain pleasures through consuming. For example, by buying Giada’s cookbook viewers may feel they’ve formed a connection to her which in turn creates pleasure.

While this is not problematic in itself, the article mentions that it’s dangerous to move toward a situation where content is even more closely tied to selling goods. Ketchum refers to this as “infomercials packaged as programming” and argues that the more this occurs the less likely shows are to seriously address any of the problems with contemporary food production and consumption (e.g., genetic engineering, the exploitation of a disenfranchised).

With entertainment media modeling consumption, unrealistic beauty standards and gendered kitchen work, I’m concerned. What changes need to be made so that cooking shows like Giada at Home provide a more accurate and diverse reflection of our contemporary food system and the myriad of identities, people, organizations that are part of it?

WP 3/23

21-day Vegan Kickstart – would you join?

I recently read a post on the Huffington Post Food blog titled Meatless Monday: Make 2012 The Year Of Eating Vegan. The article discusses a 21-day vegan Kickstart program that includes recipes, meal plans, an iPhone app and an online support community for becoming vegan. Both for fun, and because I feel there are some missing points in this post that need to be addressed, I decided to play devil’s advocate.

Quote #1: “Admit it, you’ve been thinking about it. Especially with the holiday excess leaving you feeling as puffed as a fugo.” 
Actually, I haven’t been thinking about becoming vegan- and not everyone overeats during the holidays! I found this opening line offensive and feel it perpetuates preexisting stereotypes surrounding eating habits during the holidays, instead of bringing to light positive aspects of becoming vegan- which is what I thought the blog post was about.

Quote #2: “Maybe you want to go vegan to reduce your carbon footprint. Or because you need to reduce your cholesterol.”
Who says strict veganism is the healthiest and most environmentally responsible dietary decision? Making food choices that are good for the planet and your health are more complicated than simply “going vegan”, yet the author does not mention this. The blogger leaves the reader feeling like all they have to do is join the kickstart program and their lives will transform- suddenly their food choices will be healthy and environmentally sound.

Not so fast. One of my best friends has been vegan for years, yet she dislikes most fruits and vegetable therefore her diet consists of highly processed foods that are often from halfway across the world, too. In my opinion, if you’re looking to lower your food’s carbon footprint you should consider buying local and organic before jumping into the “kickstart” program.

Quote #3: “It just became huge,” says Susan Levin, PCRM’s director of nutritional education. Over 150,000 people have Kickstarted their lives. You can, too.”
I’d be interested to see how successful the program actually is. They might have 150,000 members, but how many of them remained vegan after the program ended? The fact is, changing your diet overnight isn’t easy. Instead of presenting readers with a variety of ways to improve their diet, the blog post promotes a strict adherence to a vegan diet. In my opinion, this paints a very black or white picture in terms of food choices, and could potentially lead readers that go off the program feeling worse off than they did to begin with.

Overall, this article feels more like a marketing pitch than it does an informative blog post about veganism. The post opens by suggesting that a vegan diet has health and environmental benefits , yet never explains what these benefits are –the very reason I would assume many readers would be interested in joining the program. What do you guys think, are you attracted to the kickstart program? Why or why not? Would love to hear your thoughts!

*For the record, I am not a vegan

WP 2/23

10 Reasons to Eat Local Food

I recently read an informative blog post titled 5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Local Produce.  Here are highlights from the authors five reasons, all of which I agree with!

1. Freshness– top quality, nutrients not lost over long transit times, reduced carbon footprint

2. Variety– exposure to both familiar and unfamiliar vegetables, herbs and wild greens. Allows you to explore cooking with new foods!

3. Educate yourself and your Family– helps us reconnect to where our food comes from, it’s an opportunity to learn about where and how our food is grown and what it looks like in the field

4. Organic and great for you– organic and pesticide free food is great for you

5. Sense of Community– gives you the opportunity to slow down and meet people, talk to farmers and others in commmunity

Delicious local veggies from the UVM garden!

I really like the fact that the author points out sense of community, for I feel this is a huge benefit of eating locally that is often overlooked. The more we understand our food, the more we value it, which means less mindless eating! I was so inspired by this author’s blog post that I decided to add to her list! 

5 More Reasons to Eat Local Food:

 6.  Support the local economy– eating locally means your supporting the businesses, people (families) in your community. It keeps money circulating in our own country.A study done by the New Economics Foundation in London found that a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.

7. Reduce the amount of fossil fuels needed to transport food– Eating locally is a sustainable choice because less fossil fuels are required to transport the food. A study in 2005 by the journal Food Policy found that organic food burns more fossil fuels than local food, thus contributing to air quality and other environmental problems. By eating locally, you are reducing our consumption of fossil fuels!

8. Keeps us in touch with the seasons– Eating locally means we’re choosing foods that are abundant and at their peak taste. Doing so also tends to save us money on produce that would likely be marked higher at times in the year when it’s harder to find. It allows us to learn about the food system, for example: what fruits and vegetables are in season where I live in VT? What fruits and veggies are season where my friend in FL lives where there is a completely different climate and growing season?

9. Know the story of your meal–  this is best summed up by one of my favorite quotes “A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes.”     – Wendell Berry, from “The Pleasures of Eating”

10. Responsible land development– by eating local food you’re supporting local farmers and the owners of the farms and pastures. This in turn, supports responsible land development for it gives these smaller farms a reason to stay in business and remain undeveloped/untouched by larger farm operations and agribusiness.

As you can see, eating local foods has a plethora of benefits. By doing so, you’re making a healthy, sustainable decision to support body, community and local economy, all while eating amazing and delicious food! If you’re unsure of where to start with local food, be sure to check out the Eat Well Local & Sustainable Food Guide– just enter you’re zip code and you’ll have all the resources you need right at your fingertips!

WP 2/23

How is this blog different?

As a lover of all things food, I’ve become increasingly aware of just how many food blogs there are that offer delicious, healthy recipes, but also place an emphasis on community and the importance of using sustainably produced, local, organic, and whole foods when cooking. Some of my current favorites are My New Roots, Green Kitchen Stories, and Sprouted Kitchen. That said, with so many healthy food blogs, you might be asking yourself-  how is this different?

Have you ever read a food or health related article that you can’t stop thinking about? The kind that you go home and email your friends, talk about with mom on the phone and find yourself re- reading before bed? Maybe I’m just a huge food dork, but this happened to recently with social researcher, Jennifer Brady’s article Cooking as Inquiry: A Method to Stir Up Prevailing Ways of Knowing Food, Body, and Identity. In the article, she suggests that cooking can be used as a form of inquiry, or a process to explore the embodied self as it relates to foodmaking. Brady recognizes  the body and food as sites of knowledge and  uses a reflexive, collaborative “visceral approach” as a means of “thinking through the body” to enlist “the sensations, moods and ways of being that emerge from our sensory engagement with the material and discursive environments in which we live” [1].  As I’m very interested in furthering my understanding of cooking as inquiry, I will incorporate some of the practices and frameworks for thinking about the relationship between food, the body, the self into my posts.

In my blog, I hope to raise important questions such as: how are issues of power negotiated through cooking? How does the space of city market encourage or discourage social relations in cooking and food connect us to others and allow us to learn more about our food source? How does privilege and access affect ones purchasing decisions and thus health? What kind of people are purchasing healthy foods, and who is not? How do we make sustainably produced and nourishing foods available to everyone? Is this possible?

As a student at the University of Vermont, I’m studying Environmental Studies, Food Systems and Women’s and Gender Studies. I’m also very interested in Food Justice issues and hope that my academic studies, combined with my love of cooking, eating and community will offer a unique  perspective on issues regarding local, organic, and healthy foods.

WP 2/23

Surveying the Blogosphere

The blogosphere that I am joining is alive and active. Burlington, VT is a hotbed for local, organic and sustainably produced food, as well as discussions around the larger issues that exist within our food system. That said, the specific topics or niches that I found are that are currently being blogged about are: the local food system, sourcing food, educating consumers on how to make smart and informed decisions, outreach to community about food and food choices, farming, and nutrition – just to name a few. Overall, most of these blogs appear to be credible, and below I will discuss what led me to this conclusion.

  Above image: snapshot of City Market’s blog, Serving Up Vermont [1]

Serving Up Vermont is City Market’s blog and is run by Caroline Homan (City Market’s Food Education Coordinator) and Meg Klepack (City Market’s Outreach & Local Food Manager). Together, their job is to help source local food for the co-op and educate members about a wide variety of topics, including local foods and farming. Both women have a strong passion for food and local community. As a subset of the City Market website, I find Serving up Vermont not only credible, but a wonderful resource and example of how to successfully blog about topics regarding the local and organic food movement here in Vermont. I love that the blog is updated every couple of days and more importantly, that every post either has pictures, tips or delicious recipes. Serving up Vermont accurately reflects City Market’s mission, goals and direction therefore I find it mostly unbiased since the author’s outline their intentions (to strengthen the local food system and create better food security and sense of nutrition) right on the blog. However, it is important to note is that the authors of this blog work for CM (and are probably being paid to blog). This made me wonder- if one of  them disagreed on a specific stance that City Market, the City of Burlington, etc. took on an issue, would they voice it on the blog? What do you think? Should bloggers have the right to voice their opinion, even if it’s not in line with the company, organization, etc. that they are representing?

The Burlington Food Council is another blog contributing to the conversation of local food here in Burlington. According to the Burlington Food Council’s website, the group formed after a 2002 town hall meeting that intended to gauge the public’s sustainability priorities. Citizens voiced that they wanted more local, fresh and healthy foods at public schools and their communities in general. After this meeting, a group of volunteers and nonprofits worked together with Shelburne farms to receive a USDA Community Food Project Grant to encourage healthier food choices, and build capacity to meet community health needs (including improving school meals). The BFC formed one year later in 2003 as a way to connect nonprofit organizations, volunteers and government agencies and work toward the following goals: to build food knowledge and experience, to build food appreciation and access, to build local food systems. I find this blog credible because they’ve done extensive research including the Community Food Assessment that helped create an action plan for the school district and larger Burlington community. Based on the depth of work that the BFC has done, as well as their knowledge on issues regarding food, access to food, and community health, I consider them a great resource worth checking out.

The Campus Kitchen at the University of Vermont blog is a subset of the official blog of the Campus Kitchen Project and contributes to the conversation of food in Burlington in a slightly different way. The group helps to relieve hunger in Burlington by working with UVM Dining Services to salvage unused food and turn it into a nutritious meal to distribute to members of the community. In doing so, they provide a necessary link between the local food system and other social problems such as feeding the hungry. As mentioned on the CKUVM blog, the group is involved with multiple projects, including doing the majority of the cooking for Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf which according to CKUVM is a food bank, soup kitchen, and the largest direct service emergency food provider in Vermont (they serve one hot meal per day). CKUVM contributes to the online conversation of food in Burlington by providing a link between the social aspect of food and community involvement and food. Although the blog is informative, given CKUVM’S strong presence on UVM’s campus and in the community in general, I would expect their blog to be active and independent of other CKP initiatives. In reality, it is not. Due to lack of accessibility, I feel the online voice of CKUVM is minimal and can get lost amongst all the postings from different university’s that are involved with CKP. I feel this creates an inaccurate representation of the group given their level of involvement in the community. Perhaps the reason for having all schools post to one blog is tactical and helps provide a cohesive space for the organization,however,I just found it confusing and difficult to locate.

Sources: [1] http://www.citymarket.coop/blog/

WP 2/7