Food and the City Conference
The Food and The City Conference, February 24 and 25th
For two days, scholars from the U.S. and Europe met to explore the relationship between food and cities, a topic of increasing interest for historians, geographers, anthropologists, and urban planners. The History Department co-sponsored the event along with The Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, the Gastronomy Program, the Culinary Arts Program, the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Center, Whole Foods, U.C. Berkeley, and Market Basket. The conference launched the department’s initiative in developing a more active role within the community of food historians.
Over one hundred attendees heard twenty presentations considering the linkages between food systems and urban histories in the past and currently under construction in the present. Ken Albala, a well-known food historian from the University of the Pacific, gave the keynote speech on the first day of the conference, exploring the long history of urban dwellers’ longing to reconnect with farming and with fresh food preparation. Other presenters covered topics such as food markets in Spain, Italy, and New York City, coffee house culture, taverns, and food in urban politics. A final roundtable explored how the questions raised by the conference might inform the current challenge of feeding the cities of the future.