Inside the 4th Food and Place, Food and Displace Symposium

Blog post prepared by Livia Padilha

Recently I participated in the 4th ‘Food and Place, Food and Displace’ Symposium, which was held at Flinders University, Victoria Square. This event was hosted by the Australian Food. Society and Culture Network and its aim was “to present and discuss research on the relationships between eating, drinking, place and culture.

The day began with quite interesting presentations from all over the country (Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia), all related to the theme ‘culturally displaced eating – past to present’:

  • Gorgona Anchovies and Bussorah Almonds: Food, Place and Safety in 19th Century Australian Colonies, by Frieda Moran
  • Migrant Food Needs in Context: Reconsidering Ideas of Good Nutrition, by Rachel Ankeny (University of Adelaide)
  • From Suspect Migrant to Model Australian: Natale Italiano and the Transformation of Perfect Cheese, by Tania Cammarano
  • Can sharing meals increase social capital?: Assessing social and health values of shared meals provided at Cultural and Linguistically Diverse support groups, by Georgia Middleton
  • Soul kitchen: Towards a feminist methodological approach for the study of food security, by Tilsa Guima

One of the highlights of the symposium was an interactive morning tea promoted by Hannah Rohrlach from Flinders University. The meal was nothing like any ‘catering’ we would expect in an academic event, it was actually a ‘presentation’, or as Hannah explained: ‘catering with a difference’, which is the core of her business, Post Dinning. In our case, the experience involved placing a dessert (meringue, cream, nuts and honey) directly on someone else’s hands. It was especially relevant to the symposium topic and to what we had discussed during previous presentations, that food goes beyond nutrients and involves the ‘how, where and with whom’ we eat.

The morning continued with a different theme of presentations ‘Food geographies and crossing Food boundaries’ when Dr. Matteo Bonotti presented a theoretical paper: ‘Food Sovereignty, Territory and Place between Multiculturalism and Republicanism’. In addition, Prof. Megan Warin presented an interesting qualitative study titled ‘Mushroom girl and other small political acts of agency’, related to an SA local urban garden.

I also delivered a presentation, titled ‘New foods on our plate: plant-based “meat”, “milk” and edible insects in the Australian diet’. Which showed some preliminary results on dietary preferences and drivers to eat novel foods, from data collected between August and September 2018.

Livia Padilha presenting at the symposium (photo credit: Prof. Rachel Ankeny)

After all the presentations and question sessions, the group also discussed some of the main things that came out of the symposium and about the future of the network (AFSCN) and by the end, it was suggested that the next symposium could focus on new methodologies approaches used in the field.

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