General Public

SOLD OUT - Feeding Tomorrow: Technology and the New Food Ethics - a MOFAD Roundtable presented by The New School and the Museum of Food and Drink

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang College 65 West 11th Street Room B500, New York, NY 10003

This event is now sold out.

“Can human intervention and technology — instead of ruining nature — improve it, even make it more “natural”? Is the future of food a polarized choice between dystopian industrialization and a utopian return to the farm? Or can we imagine our way to an industrialization that creates beauty, delight, flavor, and all the romantic qualities we value in food and farming?”

                                                            - Nathanael Johnson, Grist, 2014

The promise of a cleaner, cheaper, safer, more abundant food supply has pervaded the discourse around what we eat ever since the advent of the modern era, when a pantry full of frozen, canned, and packaged foods was seen less as an anathema and more as a labor-saving miracle. Yet for some consumers and critics of the contemporary food system, processed foods have not lived up to this promise. In this view, the current food system has resulted in overproduction and waste, an overabundance of cheap calories and a dearth of affordable produce, among other issues. For others, packaged and processed foods are more a boon than a burden: convenient, fast, and sometimes more tasty or nutritious than their more traditional counterparts. Innovations like pre-nixtamalized, pre-ground corn for making tortillas have freed up time for women to join the workforce. Similarly, foods like frozen peas and canned tomatoes can provide a relatively affordable source of variety to diets that would otherwise be lacking during the winter months. Regardless of which end of the food technology spectrum one tends toward, the question becomes: what role should technology play in our future food supply?

Has the industrialization of our food supply been a blessing or a burden? Can food technology be used for good? Has nutrition been bred out of our food? Should we aspire to eat how our great-grandparents ate? What role might design play in envisioning a future of food that is sustainable, equitable, nutritious, and “good” on all counts? Are the industrial and artisanal mutually exclusive, and how might we imagine a new food ethic that incorporates the best elements of both? 

This MOFAD Roundtable will explore these questions by examining how technology (particularly culinary and food processing technologies) has shaped how we eat over the past century, and how it will influence our diets in the future. As we envision the next 100 years of food, which technologies should we look to for inspiration, and what moral, social, and cultural values should we aspire to incorporate into these technologies?


 - Rachel Laudan, food historian and author of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History

 - John Coupland, Professor of Food Science, Penn State University; President-Elect, Institute of Food Technologists 

 - Stefani Bardin, Artist in Residence, Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU, Part-time Lecturer, The New School

- Tamar Adler, New York Times Columnist and author of An Everlasting Meal

- Moderated by Dave Arnold, Founder, The Museum of Food and Drink

This event is a collaboration between The New School Food Studies Program and the Museum for Food and Drink (MOFAD) and is part of the MOFAD Roundtable series. 

Special thanks to Co-Sponsor Terry Frishman of Culinest for all Food & Beverages, 150ish for the amazing goodie bags, and donors: Atsby Vermouth, Brooklyn Piggies, Cantina Royal, Doc's Spirits Absinthe, Exo Protein, Jack From Brooklyn, La Querica, Laurie & Sons, Owl's Brew and Sfoglini Pasta.

Admission: General Public is $15; Non New School students $10; to purchase tickets, click on the top right button. Free to New School students, faculty and staff with ID at this reservation link.

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