Students Have More than a Mouthful to Say About Their Food

Students in Professor Charlie Thompson's Politics of Food course started asking some big questions about their food

Part of the Eat What You Learn Series
A student in Politics of Food shares his reflections on food
A student in Politics of Food shares his reflections on food

This spring, students in Professor Charlie Thompson's Politics of Food course started asking some big questions about the food they consume each day. 

Students reviewed books on food and farming including Everything I Want to Do is Illegal by Joel Salatin, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.

"I have a much deeper understanding of the complexity of our modern food system," said Cate Auerbach, a rising senior and Public Policy major, reflecting on the Politics of Food course.  Auerbach says the course truly left her with more questions than answers about the way our food is produced.

In addition to book reviews, students were also asked to choose one food to study in-depth.   From something as complex as a frozen pizza to something as seemingly simple as a strawberry, students researched where the food came from, who did the work to bring it to their plate, how far it traveled, how it was grown and prepared, and what political acts played a role in its production. 

Thompson says he challenged students to really get to know their food, and then tell a story about it that people want to read.

Through the Politics of Food, Auerbach became involved with the Duke Campus Farm and now chooses eateries on campus  that use local and organic ingredients, such as The Tower and The Refectory, instead of fast-food chains.

As the course concluded, Auerbach says it has opened her eyes to an emerging local food movement and she intends to remain a part of it.

For an insightful look into some of the leading books on the market about food and farming, read the student book reviews from the Politics of Food course: http://www.studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth/politics-food.