Platter of cheese and crackers

Rachel Ankeny on the Knowing Animals podcastProf. Rachel Ankeny recently joined the Knowing Animals podcast to discuss buying free range eggs. The episode focused on her journal article co-authored with Heather Bray. The article is titled ‘Happy Chickens Lay Tastier Eggs: Motivations for Buying Free-range Eggs in Australia’. It was published in the journal Anthrozoos in May 2017.

This episode of Knowing Animals is brought to you by the Australasian Animal Studies Association. Find them online here: http://animalstudies.org.au.

 

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For our August seminar, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present:

Exploring agrobiodiversity to generate resilience

Dr Douglas Bardsley, Senior Lecturer, Geography, Environment & Population, University of Adelaide

Dr Douglas BardsleyDiversity within systems provides opportunities for complex adaptative responses to external drivers of change. That is true for agricultural systems where farmers and their associated industries must respond rapidly to risks, and especially if they have limited access to external support, such as financial capital, agro-inputs or information. Agricultural biodiversity theory will be framed initially based on the author’s research from Turkey and Switzerland. Recent work with Dr Elisa Palazzo in the McLaren Vale region, South Australia suggests that the values of agrobiodiversity are also being understood by local farmers at field, farm and regional levels. Such values of agrobiodiversity could be formally recognised within policy to better support resilience within farming systems experiencing climate change and market competition.

Douglas Bardsley is Senior Lecturer in Geography, Environment & Population at the University of Adelaide. For the last 20 years, he has been researching opportunities to respond to risks within agricultural and food systems in Australia, Asia and Europe. Key risks that he has worked on include the loss of diversity within agricultural systems, climate change, resource constraints, globalisation of supply chains, out-migration from rural areas, and education systems.

When: Tuesday, 8th of August, 1-2 PM

Where: Ira Raymond Room, Barr Smith Library, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide (click here for campus map)

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Presenters at the Emerging Issues in Science and Society event

Presenters at the Emerging Issues in Science and Society event

We are constantly receiving information on nutrition and food from scientists, government, media, marketers, and our friends and family. But still many of us make poor dietary decisions and fall for diet trends like Paleo, gluten free or superfoods. Does this onslaught of nutrition information (mis)inform our dietary practices?

Food Values researcher Dr Jessica Loyer explored this question with molecular nutrition scientist Dr Emma Beckett from the University of Newcastle at Emerging Issues in Science in Society, held at Deakin University on July 6.

The event brought together four researchers from the social sciences and humanities and four researchers from the sciences to consider pressing topics that effect Australian society from multiple angles. Each session covered the basic science behind the issue, implications for policy and society, and the challenges of science communication and public (mis)conceptions.

The nutrition session explored the disconnect between nutrition science and our food habits, focusing on key issues of interpretation, communication, commodification and policy.

Drawing on research about superfoods media discourses and consumer responses, Jess argued that our nutrition culture is dominated by reductive messages and interpretations of nutrition science. Studies at the nutrient level dominate scientific practice and science communication at the expense of whole diet studies, and they also obscure other measures of food and diet quality, such as production circumstances, taste, heritage, and social setting.

Superfoods display in South Australian natural foods shop, 2015. Photo by Jessica Loyer

Superfoods display in South Australian natural foods shop, 2015. Photo by Jessica Loyer

Nutritional reductionism encourages people to think that eating healthy is a complicated, technical matter requiring expert advice. It is also easily commodified by food companies eager to promote the latest “hot” nutrient, such as omega-3 fatty acid. Diet trends like superfoods and paleo push back against nutritional reductionism – both its focus on individual nutrients, and the development of highly processed “functional foods.”

These “nutritional primitivism” trends feature nostalgic tendencies to idealise the food cultures of ancient or indigenous people as inherently healthier than modern ways of eating. But they don’t seek to accurately portray these ancient or traditional food cultures; instead they form a way of critiquing the present. Appeals to tradition, authenticity, and nature imply that modern food and nutrition is too complicated, too processed, and too disconnected.

Dietary trends appeal to people because they speak to their wider values about food and nourishment. Food has many meanings in people’s lives, and efforts to communicate healthy eating only in terms of nutrients fall flat because this is not how people experience food.

On a policy level, we might consider shifting dietary guidelines to reflect broader values associated with food and nourishment, such as taste, tradition, authenticity, pleasure, listening to your body, and commensality. We need to recognize that food and nourishment have many meanings beyond the nutrient contents of foods, as we can see in superfoods discourse, and bring these different understandings into research and communications.

This means fostering two-way conversations between nutrition professionals, and eating publics, where we focus on shared values around what makes food “good” for us in various ways, rather than a deficit model approach of simply telling people what they should be eating.

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Food Values Research Group convener Professor Rachel Ankeny recently presented a keynote address on animal welfare and consumer attitudes at the Animal Intersections conference (3-5 July) at the University of Adelaide. Her keynote address, “Exploring the Intersections of Consumer and Citizen Attitudes toward Animal Welfare,” discussed the notion of “food citizenship” as a valuable approach to public […]

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For our July seminar, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present: Reading (Not-)Eating in the works of Emily and Charlotte Brontë Ms Sarah Pearce, Doctoral Candidate in English, Flinders University This seminar offers a contemporary feminist reading of the cluster of themes surrounding consumption and food in Jane Eyre (1847) and Villette (1853) by […]

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For our June seminar, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present: Do Healthy Diets Differ in Their Sensory Characteristics? Dr David Cox, Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences The relationship between sensory characteristics of foods, healthy diets and weight status is not well established (Cox et al, 2016); however, knowledge could […]

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Dr Susie Chant, a recent Food Values Research Group Phd graduate, was involved in the South Australian local foods phenomenon long before she decided to research and write about the topic. She ran several award-winning restaurants before earning a Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence for her dissertation, A History of Local Foods in Australia 1788 – […]

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For our May seminar, the Food Values Research Group is pleased to present: Mindless Meat Eating: The Role of Cognitive Dissonance and Negative Emotions in the Consumption of Animals Dr Carolyn Semmler, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide We consume animals and yet also state that we love, respect and care for them. […]

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For the second Food Values Research Group Seminar of 2017, we are pleased to present two talks from the leaders of our research group: Designer babies, human-pig chimeras, and mosquitos: How gene editing is being made public in Australia Dr Heather Bray, Senior Research Fellow, School of Humanities, University of Adelaide Gene editing is a term […]

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For the first Food Values Research Group Seminar of 2017, we are pleased to present: Selective Eating and (Dis)Trust in Food Professor Claude Fischler, Senior Investigator, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Claude Fischler is a French social scientist (sociology, anthropology) senior investigator with CNRS, the French National Science Center and a former director of the […]

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