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basket of vegetablesIn the modern dietary landscape, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the dizzying array of celebrity chefs, Instagram famous wellness gurus, and new “clean eating” trends popping up almost weekly. These dietary prescriptions often come with sweeping promises of outrageous cures for everything from autism and asthma, to cancer and depression, a pathway to true wellness of body, mind, and spirit.

But what effects do this language of dietary virtue and the preoccupation with “clean” eating have on how we think about and relate to food? How do these dietary trends fit into the current cultural landscape? And what should we think about the culture that surrounds the wellness industry? 

Professor Rachel Ankeny from the Food Values Research Group here at the University of Adelaide and Dr Christopher Mayes, Research Fellow at Deakin University, join the ABC’s Hilary Harper on Blueprint for Living, to talk about clean eating and the quest for purity.

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Photograph of Emily Buddle

A few weeks ago, Emily Buddle, a PhD candidate here at University of Adelaide with the Food Values Research Group, met with a group of dairy farmers and managers from Western Victoria across to the Fleurieu Peninsula who are part of “TRACtion”. These farmers are a group who are passionate and work hard towards continuous improvement of their dairy systems to meet industry needs and maintain profitability.

Emily spoke with them about some of her findings and recommendations for promoting positive communication with people outside of the dairy industry. One of their primary concerns was the need for communicating about their products and practices with consumers, in a context where they often felt their voices were drowned out by activist narratives.

She explored the mixed messages from consumers and communities, and how these can be navigated and addressed in ways that promote trust and knowledge about farming practices to build relationships with consumers and communities. She spoke particularly about the role that identifying shared values plays in communicating with the public about the industry to promote affordable, safe, and nutritious food that supports local businesses. She emphasised the importance of dialogue, active listening to concerns and consumer needs, identifying target audiences, and tolerating a diversity of views when it comes to engaging with the public.

You can read more on research by the Food Values Research Group here.

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Rural Indian child protesting Coca-Cola bottling plant

The Food Values Research Group has been fortunate this year to have been joined by some excellent speakers on a range of interesting and varied topics.

A few weeks ago, Anthropologist Dr Georgina Drew came to explain and discuss the ways that villagers in India used Gandhian-inspired repertoires of resistance to frame water rights within a moral economy of rural development, as communities successfully fought the development a Coca-Cola bottling plant near agricultural lands.

Kerry Wilkinson introduces us to some insect food productsEarlier, back in May, we were lucky enough to have Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson come and introduce us to the world of entomophagy (eating insects). She talked about the nutritional, environmental and economic benefits that edible insects provide, and presented her research on consumer attitudes toward eating insect products.

A surprisingly large portion of the Australian population have neutral or favourable attitudes towards eating insects, though the type of insect and the form of the product make a considerable difference! Kerry discussed how producers attempting to promote insect consumption can overcome attitudinal barriers that currently present a challenge for the industry. Finally, we also got to try some examples of some of these tasty insect snacks!

There will be no seminar event on in July while Rachel is away. However, put our August 1st event in your diary – Associate Professor Eva Kemps from Flinders University is coming to speak to us on a topic that I’m sure most of us can relate to: Chocolate, chips, and pizza: It’s just so hard to say ‘no’Further information will be available closer to the event, and in the meantime the upcoming event schedule can be found here.

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For the Food Values Research Group’s June seminar, we are pleased to welcome Dr Georgina Drew. “In the Land of Milk and Yogurt, We Don’t Want Coca-Cola”: Gandhi-Inspired Moral Ecologies of Rural Development in India Dr Georgina Drew, Anthropology and Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Adelaide The Coca-Cola insignia is omnipresent in contemporary India but […]

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For the Food Values Research Group’s May seminar, we are pleased to welcome Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson. Throw another cricket on the barbie? Australian consumers’ awareness and acceptance of insects as food Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Faculty of Sciences, University of Adelaide Insects have long been consumed as part of the […]

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For the Food Values Research Group’s April seminar, we are pleased to welcome Dr Michelle Phillipov. A ‘Labour of Love’: The politics and pleasures of niche food production Dr Michelle Phillipov, School of Humanities, University of Adelaide Popular food media encourages us to “connect” with the sources—and producers—of our food in order to resist the alienation and […]

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For the Food Values Research Group’s second seminar of 2018, we are pleased to welcome our own Emily Buddle! Australian Meat Consumers’ Understandings of Farm Animal Welfare Ms Emily Buddle, PhD Candidate, Food Values Research Group, School of Humanities, University of Adelaide In developed Western societies, raising animals for meat has come under significant public scrutiny in […]

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The Food Values Research Group is excited to host UK authors and cheese scholars Bronwen and Francis Percival for a special seminar on Monday, 19 March 2018. All welcome! Reinventing the Wheel: Starter Cultures and the Making of Modern Cheese Bronwen Percival, Cheese Buyer for Neal’s Yard Dairy, London, and Francis Percival, writer for The World of Fine […]

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For the Food Values Research Group’s first seminar of 2018, we present a joint talk featuring the work of two advanced postgraduate students in Cultural Studies at the University of South Australia. Vegan Food and Eating Vegan in Adelaide Ms Julie Cartlidge and Ms Ellen Scott, PhD Candidates, School of Creative Industries, University of South Australia […]

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The Food Values Research Group are currently seeking participants in a new project which aims to understand why people keep chickens, and document related attitudes to, and associated values with having chickens as part of their lives in urban and peri-urban home settings. The welfare of chickens in commercial egg and meat production has been an increasing concern […]

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