Political science double major, George Elliot '19, who is a member of the Bass Connections project team Animal Waste Management and Global Health, wrote about the Carolina Food Summit conference for Bass Connections.
On September 28 and 29, I attended the inaugural Carolina Food Summit, which focused on the ways in which food has shaped place and cultural identity in North Carolina and the wider American South. The conference also addressed some of the key economic, social and environmental challenges facing North Carolina’s food system under the status quo, raising questions as to how these issues might be resolved moving forward.
One key theme that emerged from the afternoon was the link between food and feminism. Several speakers talked about their personal journeys to overcome the “southern housewife” and “women’s work” stereotypes that have traditionally been associated with cooking and the food industry here.
Cultural appropriation of different foods was another fascinating point of discussion. One speaker weighed the newfound popularity of southern food in New York restaurants, concluding that, even if authentic in taste, this food could never be truly “southern” because of its detachment from the communities in which it originated. In its place of origin, the speaker argued, food has a greater significance as part of that community’s shared history and culture.